A Plumber’s Salary: What Can You Expect?


Plumbers are constantly in demand. The construction of new edifices and the maintenance of old ones is not possible without plumbers. They are essential workers, no matter the scale they operate on.

How much money a plumber can make depends on a variety of factors, like their level of expertise, location and experience. It also makes a difference whether the plumber works for a company or runs their own business.

Here is a detailed breakdown of what a plumber’s job entails, how much they make based on expertise and location and factors that affect their salary:

What Exactly Do Plumbers Do?

Plumbers mainly deal with the water system of the structure. All buildings have a water supply system, a gas system and a sewage system. The installation, maintenance and repairing of these fixtures and systems is a plumber’s job.

From small jobs around the house like unclogging drains and repairing a busted pipe to huge projects like laying down the water supply system of a building, plumbers do it all.

There are also specializations within the industry. Some plumbers specialize in dealing with gas systems and dedicate themselves to planning, installing and repairing gas systems.

Plumbers work very closely with contractors and other tradesmen involved in the construction process. An average day of work can look very different for plumbers depending on the kind of work they choose to undertake and the demand in the market.

Some plumbers might make house calls all day and spend the entire working day on the go while others might supervise the plumbing work at a construction site.

If you want to know more about the kind of work that plumbers do, reading a plumbing book will help you get a sense of what being a plumber entails.

Average Plumber’s Salary

The national average of a plumber’s salary in the United States is $59,349 a year as of 2021. Of course not every plumber makes the average salary. The location and level of expertise can cause quite a difference in the earning potential of plumbers.

However, it is a fairly lucrative trade compared to traditional jobs. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 14% growth in the industry from 2018 to 2028, which is higher than the average for most industries.

Most young people are averse to choosing a trade to earn their livelihood, which has boosted the demand for plumbers.


The location of the plumber definitely makes a difference in their earning potential. The location determines the demand for plumbers and prevailing salary trends for plumbers.

People who are thinking of becoming plumbers should definitely look into the average plumber salary in their state first.

The following states pay the highest plumber salaries in the US:

  • Alaska: $63,100

  • California: $61,500

  • Connecticut: $61,000

  • Maryland: $60,000

  • Massachusetts: $65,000

  • New Jersey: $60,700

Arkansas and West Virginia had the lowest averages at $49,400 and $49,500 respectively.

Another factor to consider is that the living cost also varies across cities. A higher average wage doesn’t necessarily equal a better livelihood as a place with a lower average wage might have a smaller cost of living too.


Your experience and skill set plays a definitive role in how much you earn as a plumber. In most states in the US, there are 3 levels of plumbers—apprentice, journeyman plumber and master plumber.

Some states do not have a master level and instead offer a contractor certification. Here’s what the earning potential is based on skill level:

  • Apprentice: Most people complete an apprenticeship program at a trade school where they get a combination of hands-on training and classroom knowledge.  Apprentice plumbers are just starting out and hence do not make a lot of money.

    They can expect to make between $40,00 0 to $45,000 depending on their location. An apprenticeship typically lasts 4 years and the payscale is unlikely to change much during this period.

  • Journeyman: Completing the apprenticeship and passing the licensing exam makes you a journeyman plumber. Journeyman plumbers are professional plumbers and can start expecting higher hourly wages.

    Based on location, they can expect to make between $50,000 to $55,000. Skilled plumbers might make more than the average amount too.

    If they enter into a partnership or form their own company, they stand to earn more provided they make the right financial decisions.

  • Master Plumber: After at least two years as a journeyman plumber, you are eligible to give the licensing exam to become a master plumber.

    Master plumbers get paid a lot more, but they have a lot more responsibility too. The pay range typically falls between $60,000 to $70,000.

Factors That Affect a Plumber’s Salary

There are several other factors that affect a plumber’s salary:

  • Like any industry, the plumbing industry also follows the law of supply and demand. Finding qualified plumbers is not an easy task, meaning there is almost always a scarcity of skilled plumbers.

  • It is important to know how to price yourself. Do not overshoot by pricing yourself too high. It will have an adverse effect on your employability. Make sure you have the skills and qualifications to be able to justify your rate.

  • Upskilling yourself and getting a specialization or learning to diagnose problems quickly can help you earn more. Having a good reputation is very valuable in this industry.

  • If you possess some affinity for sales, you could do very well as a plumber. If you are a people person and have persuasion skills, you will be able to develop a better relationship with your clients and thereby earn more money.

Wrapping Up

Plumbing is not exactly a sought-after profession, but times are changing. People are starting to realize the earning potential in the plumbing trade.

It can certainly be a very lucrative trade. Plumbers are always in demand and some states pay very high hourly rates for plumbers.

There is also immense growth potential as plumbers can always upskill and specialize to boost their income or start their own business to expand their operation.

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