Pipefitters apply their knowledge of welding, pipefitting and fabrication principles to work in fields involving the design, fabrication, installation and maintenance of all types of applications utilizing piping. Pipefitters frequently work with pipe systems that utilize hydraulics, pneumatics, and other industrial-type system components.
Pipefitters lay out, assemble, fabricate, repair and maintain pipes, pipefittings and piping systems. They perform advanced tasks related to welding, brazing, soldering, pipe threading and pipe grinding. Pipefitters are also responsible for setup, operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of the equipment they use such as welders. They must be able to read and interpret advanced blueprints and schematics.
Pipefitters perform their duties in a variety of settings. Pipefitters may work in confined spaces in power plants or they might be found laying pipeline systems in remote locations. They may be exposed to indoor and outdoor hazards and therefore must have the appropriate occupational safety training to complete their jobs safely.
Pipefitters must be quality-oriented and be able to carefully follow oral and written instructions to ensure that their work is accurate and completed according to established specifications and quality standards. Some pipefitters work in teams or groups and must have good teamwork and interpersonal skills.
Pipefitters are usually employed by construction companies, utility companies, industrial/manufacturing companies, petroleum companies and maintenance contractors.
Most pipefitters have attended career or technical schools or have participated in an apprenticeship. An associate degree in welding or pipefitting, or a Journeyman Pipefitters Certificate is typically required for this occupation.