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Apprenticeship

Steamfitter-Pipefitter

Steamfitter-pipefitters lay out, assemble, fabricate, maintain and repair piping systems which carry water, steam, chemicals or fuel used in heating, cooling, lubricating and other processes.

  • Avg. Salary $89,926.00
  • Avg. Wage $39.67
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 8,400
  • In Demand Lower
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

72%
72%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Steamfitter-Pipefitter is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Steamfitters and Pipefitters
NOC code: 7252.1
OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to measure, cut, thread and bend pipe to required shape using hand and power tools, and to install supports, valves, and control systems

innovative

Interest in compiling information to select types and sizes of pipe required and to test systems for leaks using testing equipment

methodical

Interest in removing and replacing worn components, in cleaning and maintaining pipe units and fittings, and in flushing and re-activating piping systems

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

To install a typical piping system in a commercial building or industrial plant, steamfitter-pipefitters:

  • study blueprints, drawings and specifications to determine the type of pipe and tools to use and lay out the sequence of tasks
  • make detailed sketches for pipe and equipment fabrication and installation (if required)
  • measure, cut, thread, groove, bend, assemble and install metal, plastic and fibreglass pipes, valves and fittings
  • join pipe sections and related equipment, and secure in position
  • use testing equipment to check systems for leaks.

Steamfitter-pipefitters also remove and replace worn components, do general maintenance work and may work on plant shut-downs.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Steamfitter-pipefitters work both indoors and outdoors at physically demanding tasks that often require climbing. They work about 40 hours a week, with overtime sometimes required to meet construction deadlines. Construction contractors may require employees to travel and live in rented accommodation or at a company “on-site” camp.

Steamfitter-pipefitters may be required to lift and move items that weigh over 20 kilograms. There is some risk of injury when working with power tools and heavy equipment.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Steamfitter-pipefitters need the following characteristics:

  • the physical strength and stamina required to lift heavy materials and stand for long periods
  • manual dexterity
  • mechanical aptitude
  • the ability to read and understand complex instructions
  • the ability to do careful and exacting work.

They should enjoy working with little direction or supervision.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

To work in Alberta, a steamfitter-pipefitter must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 20-2, Math 20-3 and Science 10, or equivalent, or pass an entrance exam. 
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. 

The term of apprenticeship is 3 years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Steamfitter-pipefitter apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • Grande Prairie Regional College in Fairview
  • Keyano College in Fort McMurray
  • Lakeland College in Vermilion
  • Medicine Hat College
  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
  • Portage College in Lac La Biche 
  • Red Deer College
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

To find more information on the certification process see Steamfitter-Pipefitter Qualification Certificate Program on Tradesecrets.alberta.ca

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Steamfitter-pipefitters are employed by pipeline construction contractors and sub-contractors, thermal or steam generating plants, manufacturers, utility companies, oil refineries, gas plants, pulp mills and chemical plants. Employment prospects change with the seasons and economic climates.

Experienced steamfitter-pipefitters may advance to supervisory positions such as foreman, sub-contractor, contractor and construction superintendent. Alberta certified journeyperson steamfitter-pipefitters who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Steamfitter-pipefitters are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7252: Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler systems installers. In Alberta, 86% of people employed in the classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 8,500 Albertans are employed in the Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler systems installers occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.5% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 43 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As steamfitter-pipefitters form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for steamfitters-pipefitters. 

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $35 to $45 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice steamfitter-pipefitters earn at least 50% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 65% in the second and 80% in the third.

Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
NOC code: 7252

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.92 $45.00 $34.96 $39.00
Overall $27.00 $45.79 $39.67 $41.64
Top $34.00 $47.89 $43.67 $44.27

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing
Construction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

72%
72%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

40%
40%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

7%
7%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
    • Fabrication
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

BuildForce Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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