Image courtesy of bradleypjohnson via Flickr
So long as humanity continues to rely on plumbing technology, we will need experienced, skilled plumbers to install, repair, and maintain the systems we use every day.
Residential, commercial, industrial construction—plumbers can specialize in any of these areas. You can work for a company or start your own business.
But like any trade, becoming a plumber means taking on certain challenges. Do the pros outweigh the cons?
Take a look at the top advantages and drawbacks of life as a plumber and decide for yourself.
Pro: Demand for plumbers is steady in Ontario
If you’re considering becoming a plumber, job outlook will be a key factor in your decision-making process. Fortunately, the Canada Job Bank predicts steady demand for plumbers in Ontario for the foreseeable future.
The latest research (updated in September, 2017) shows several positive trends that are creating jobs for plumbers across the province. These include:
- healthy level of construction activity (infrastructure and transit projects, commercial and residential development)
- demand for repair, maintenance, and renovation work (particularly upgrading old plumbing to more energy efficient systems)
With the right training and hard work, you’ll find steady employment as a plumber in Ontario.
Con: Plumbers usually work in shifts and on-call
The job market for plumbers may be easy to predict, but your daily routine won’t be. Officially, plumbers work standard 8-hour shifts, but there are always emergencies and last-minute requests to cope with.
Becoming a plumber means being on call—dealing with burst pipes and overflowing sinks in the middle of the night, and on holidays. It’s just the nature of the business.
When plumbing systems break down, immediate interventions are often needed to prevent serious damage and/or risks to human health. You’ll need to be flexible to work in this field.
Pro: Opportunity to become your own boss
See yourself owning your own plumbing business one day? Many plumbing program grads go on to start their own contracting companies.
In fact, 18% of Ontario plumbers are self-employed—compared to just 10% of all other occupations. Working for yourself requires extra effort, but it also lifts restrictions on your earning potential.
Any profits you make are yours to keep.
Con: Plumbing work can be physically demanding
If you work as a plumber, you can expect to spend much of your time crawling into cramped spaces, carrying heavy accessories (like bath tubs), and hunching over to install or repair pipes, drainage systems, and fixtures.
Plumbers work in all weather, and must sometimes endure extreme heat or cold. There’s no doubt about it—like all construction trades, plumbing is physically demanding.
Pros: There’s always something new—no boring routines
Some of the work you do as a plumber will be predictable—but you’ll spend most of your time problem solving. Whether you’re roughing in a new house, tracking down the source of a leak, or responding to an emergency, plumbing work presents a healthy dose of daily challenges.
There’s always something new to learn. If you’re looking to avoid boring routines, becoming a plumber is an ideal option.
Cons: Plumbers often work under pressure
For plumbers, the same lack of predictability that makes the job interesting, can also make it stressful. You must be level-headed, and able to problem-solve under pressure, in order to be successful in this field.
Whether you work for a company or for yourself, it’s likely your days will be packed with many clients to see. And those clients will want fast results. You’ll need to work swiftly and efficiently, and meet tight deadlines, to stay on schedule.
And when it comes to emergencies, maintaining composure when disaster strikes is absolutely essential for plumbers. You’ll need to remain calm and professional, even when everyone else is in full panic mode.
Did we forget an important pro or con to working as a plumber? Add it in the comments!
Ready to take the leap and learn more about plumber programs in Toronto?
Take a look at the Plumber Training offered by the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute, at both the Toronto and Cambridge campuses. *Evening classes are now available.
Click below to explore courses, admission requirements, career options—or to chat live with an advisor. We’re here to help!
Are You Career Training Ready? Find Out!
Take the PAT Institute "Career Training Readiness Quiz"
The fun, online quiz takes 3-minutes to complete and you’ll get a personalized report. Identify your strengths and social style plus the training and positions you’re best suited for. Get Your Career Readiness score now.