Shipbuilding is an exciting career path with a lot of potential options for specialization. If you like working with your hands, being outdoors, and seeing your work come together, it may be a great opportunity for you. One of the many careers you can have in a shipyard is pipe fitting. What does a pipe fitter do, and what steps can you take to become trained and employed in that area? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a Pipe Fitter?
In the simplest terms, a pipefitter is someone who installs and maintains pipes that carry substances like chemicals or gases. They’re mostly used in manufacturing or industrial settings, but also in shipyards and on ships themselves. A fitter will also be responsible for the repair of pipe systems. Often, pipefitters will specialize in a single aspect of the industry, such as gas, sprinklers, or steam. One such specialization is shipbuilding.
Required Education and Training
To start, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent to get started. Trade schools will also teach specific aspects of the career path to help you on your way. For example, as a pipefitter, you will need to know how to weld, which is a skill that can be learned in trade school. But to become a pipefitter, it’s expected that you’ll take on an apprenticeship. These programs typically last 4 to 5 years and are available through unions and businesses.
License and Certification
This is handled on a state by state basis, so check with the requirements where you live. Most of the time, you will need to pass an exam to become licensed. Many states will need individuals to have several years of experience, such as an apprenticeship, to sit for the exam. Once licensed, you can work independently.
Average Expected Pay
The annual salary of a marine pipefitter averages $55,000. But levels of experience, the job location, and various specializations may impact the earning potential of a pipefitter in a shipyard.
How to Find a Pipe Fitter Job
If you’re looking for a pipefitter job in the marine industry, the best first step is to contact a staffing service specializing in shipyard placements. They will be able to match your skills and experience with an employer looking for top local talent.