Similar to other fields, plumbing is an ever-changing field that is expected to experience radical shifts in the coming years. Changing codes and environmental standards, an aging workforce, and the need to maintain and replace older plumbing systems are just a few factors that stand to drastically increase the demand for plumbers. Openings for plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting positions are projected to increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that approximately 66,100 openings for these professions will open up over the next ten years.
Why are these positions expected to open at such a high rate? For one, older plumbers are approaching retirement. In return, there are fewer individuals with the qualifications to replace these seasoned plumbing professionals. Data shows a 17% increase in full-time college students, as well as a 16% increase in part-time students from 2004 to 2014. This data reflects the recent trend of emphasizing universities or community colleges as the preferred route for high school graduates. However, positions related to college degrees are not opening at the same high rate as trade positions. This economic climate has left many college graduates unable to find work with their degrees and under-qualified to fill these trade positions. In other words, training and education in a trade school can open a wealth of employment opportunities in the current job market.
The recent COVID-19 situation has affected virtually every occupation, with many Americans experiencing lost wages, furloughs, and other obstacles. Few could have predicted the changes that have come in the past few months. Most plumbers and other tradespeople were still able to work as usual due to being deemed essential workers by the Department of Homeland Security. This meant that while plumbers were certainly taking precautions to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, they were still able to perform their duties and earn a paycheck. Regardless of what is going on with the rest of the world, plumbing services will likely be needed. All in all, plumbing has shown to not only be a promising career path but a secure one as well.
Technological advancements are another way in which the plumbing field is changing. Innovations in piping, fixtures, and other areas stand to alter the way plumbing work is done. One new advancement is the development of Smartpipe, which uses fiber-optic monitoring to allow customers to easily monitor water pressure and quickly detect leaks. The manufacturers of Smartpipe state that the non-metallic pipes will also remove the need to monitor corrosion and offer a less intrusive installation process. According to the manufacturer’s website, HPIR installations of Smartpipe can be performed at a rate of about one foot per day with a small crew and leaving less of a footprint than other pipe replacement methods. Altogether, Smartpipe is likely to drastically change the way plumbers install and maintain plumbing systems in the coming years.
Another development in the plumbing field has been the increasing popularity of hands-free or touch-activated taps and other fixtures. As these new fixtures become more widely used, it will only get more important for plumbing technicians to better understand how to install and repair them. Furthermore, these fixtures typically require electricity, which is also more widely used in plumbing systems. More than ever before, plumbing students will also need to receive electrical training from a professional source.
Tankless water heaters have also widely spread in use in recent years. This innovation has allowed homes and businesses to have virtually unlimited hot water without long wait times. These sophisticated units differ in many ways from traditional tank water heaters and will require the next generation of plumbers to be specially trained in installing, troubleshooting, and repairing tankless water heaters.
In summary, while the trades as a whole have been struggling to bring in new, qualified technicians, plumbing has a bright future ahead. A career as a plumber promises a steady, recession-proof career with several opportunities for advancement. At Alpha Tradesmen Academy, we believe that professional plumbing training should be affordable and flexible with students’ schedules. Our online plumbing courses offer training for all experience levels, with badges that cover everything from basics to the most advanced areas of plumbing. Our video lessons contain up-to-date information on tankless water heaters, electrical fundamentals, and much more than aspiring plumbers need to know. Find out more at https://alphatradesmenacademy.com