Pipe Fitter

Job Description:

Pipe fitters install industrial pipework, valves and pumps in factories, commercial premises and large buildings like power stations.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • plan how to do a job based on engineering designs
  • make or modify parts in a workshop
  • assemble components ready for installation
  • install and join pipework, using bolting and welding methods
  • carry out planned maintenance checks
  • find and fix faults
  • respond to emergency call-outs


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of building and construction
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skill)
  • the ability to use your initiative (leadership skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a Pipe Fitter typically does not require specific qualifications, but certain subjects and skills can be valuable in preparing for this career. Pipe Fitting is a trade that involves working with pipes, plumbing systems, and related equipment. Here are some relevant subjects:

  1. Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for measurements, calculations, and understanding plumbing system specifications.
  2. Design and Technology: Courses related to design and technology can help you develop practical skills in working with tools and equipment, which are essential for pipe fitting tasks.
  3. Science: A basic understanding of physics and chemistry can be beneficial for understanding the principles of fluid dynamics and the properties of materials used in plumbing systems.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computers can be helpful for reading technical drawings, accessing online resources, and documenting work.
  5. English: Effective communication skills are important for understanding and following instructions, working with colleagues, and interacting with clients.
  6. Mechanical Engineering: While not typically offered, if your school offers relevant vocational courses or extracurricular activities related to mechanical engineering, they can be advantageous.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

You can do a college course, which may help you to get a trainee pipe fitter’s job. UK courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Engineering
  • Level 2 Certificate in Welding
  • Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing and Heating
  • Level 3 Diploma in Building Services Engineering
  • T Level in Building Services Engineering for Construction

You could do an advanced apprenticeships like:

  • engineering pipe fitter
  • engineering construction pipe fitter
  • pipe welder

You might start as an general engineering operative or engineering craft worker, and learn and train on the job to become a pipe fitter.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 46 to 48 hours a week.

You could work in a factory or at a manufacturing plant.

Your working environment may be cramped.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career Path & Progression:

You could be promoted to supervisor or become an engineering workshop manager. You could also work in welding inspection and quality control.

With further training, you may have opportunities to move into insulation work, or engineering design where you’ll draw up pipework installation plans.