What Do Pipelayers Do?
A pipelayer lays sewer, drain and water main pipes. That could include digging trenches and culverts, sealing joints and positioning pipes.This type of occupation is anticipated to increase by 21% across the United States. That could mean there will be about 1,610 jobs openings annually.
Pipelayers Skills and Abilities
To be a successful pipelayer, you have to have certain mental and physical skills and abilities. You have to have a technical knowledge of building, machines, public safety and design. You have to know how to operate certain equipment and monitor the equipment to ensure it is functioning correctly. You also have to have arm-hand steadiness, flexibility and dexterity to ensure that you get the pipes in the right place. You have to be able to work as a team and communicate with superiors, coworkers and even city officials.
Your duties as a pipelayer will depend on your experience and who you work for, but to put it bluntly, you will be expected to lay pipes. Now, there are a lot of duties associated with pipe laying. You have to be aware of what is under the ground before you dig to make sure that every project goes safely. You have to be able to use digging equipment to make the right size holes without going too deep or staying too shallow. You might have to repair existing pipe, and replace parts that are too far gone. You will have to align pipes, and then weld them together to reduce the likelihood of leaks in the future. Part of your job will also be to plan out the best routes for the pipes taking into account what sort of liquid they’ll be transporting. As you get more experience, you may be required to train and supervise other pipelayers.
Pipelayers Tools and Technology
There are a lot of tools and technology that you have to use to be successful.
- Levels and Lasers
- Welding Equipment
- Tamping Machines
- Front-End Loaders and Backhoes
- Trenching Tools
- Magnetic and Radio Indicators
- Boring Machines
- Drain Cleaning Snakes
- Grinding Machines
- Concrete and Pipe Saws
- Spreadsheet Software
These tools and technology will ensure that you are an efficient and safe pipelayer.
Education and Training for Pipelayers
Many employers in this industry will hire someone without a high school diploma. On the other end of the spectrum there are employers who want to only hire people with at least some college experience. Much of this job is learned as you go, which means you do not have to have a lot of prior experience. Even if you do have experience or education, you will have to go through on the job training, so that you can learn the company specific policies and safety procedures. If you do pursue any college courses, you should take:
- Plumbing Codes
- Blueprint Reading
- Safety and Building Regulations
- Shop Classes
Being a pipelayer, you can make enough to get by and live comfortably. The average pipelayer in the United States makes $37,000. Of course, you shouldn’t expect to make this much right off of the bat. Starting out as a pipelayer it is more likely that you will be in the lower 10% making $24,800. As you gain experience, you could end up in the upper 10% making $65,000.
Pipelayers Jobs by Geography
Many careers vary be geography, and pipelaying is no different. Geography affects job availability as well as salary. In certain states there is more demand for pipelayers, which means that it may be easier to get this type of job. Arizona, Kentucky and Connecticut are expected to see the biggest rise in pipelayers. Similarly, in certain states you can expect to make more because they have higher salary averages. Alaska, Connecticut and Missouri have the highest average salaries in the United States. It is important to realize that geography and education can affect your career success.