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What Is a Pipefitter and What Do They Do?

Pipefitters are specialist plumbers. They work with high-pressure piping systems, commercial or industrial heating and cooling systems, and some may even maintain fuel delivery systems. Though their roles may seem similar, a pipefitter and a plumber support different scenarios.

A pipefitter handles jobs that have potentially dangerous substances, like chemicals or steam, while a plumber handles jobs that involve water and waste. Learn more about pipefitters below, including a detailed pipefitter job description, a pipefitter tool list and environments where pipefitters may work.

Pipefitter Job Description

Pipefitters design and assemble pipe structures that carry chemicals, steam or liquids. They often work on commercial and/or industrial properties by laying out, assembling, installing and maintaining piping systems. Pipefitters can collaborate with project managers and understand how to read a blueprint that describes piping requirements. They follow building codes and safety standards, and they wear personal protective equipment to stay secure on the job.

How does Apex prepare students for a future in plumbing and pipefitting? Learn about a day in the life of a plumbing and pipefitting student.

Pipefitter Jobsites and Industries

Many industries need skilled pipefitters. Common industries that employ pipefitters include:

  • Local government
  • Natural gas distribution
  • Utility system construction
  • Commercial building construction
  • Industrial building construction

Pipefitters can work at various jobsites, such as utility companies, hospitals, gas plants, waste management settings, heating and air ventilation companies, oil refineries or chemical plants. Depending on qualifications, project need and skill level, certain jobsites might require both pipefitters and plumbers.


Pipefitter Tool List

Pipefitters have hands-on skills and knowledge of piping systems, as well as the tools required to install and maintain these important systems. Some tools that pipefitters may use include:

  • Welder’s gauge
  • Fitter grips
  • Pipefitter’s square
  • Flange aligners
  • Pipe wraps
  • Centering head

While this is not a complete list, these items can help pipefitters to get the job done, whether they work in a commercial or industrial environment.


Want to Start Pipefitting Training?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career based on hands-on skills, pipefitting might be right for you. Grow your knowledge of plumbing and pipefitting at Apex Technical School. Classes are starting soon, and we’d like to show you our classrooms and shops. Learn more about pipefitting training now, and contact us to schedule a visit.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.