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Learn all about the booming craft trade of sprinkler fitting

what is sprinkler fitting ?
How much do sprinkler fitters get paid?
why is this craft trade growing so fast in west michigan?

If you’re interested in starting a career in commercial construction you’re probably familiar with Carpentry, Concrete, or Plumbing. But one lesser known option that’s definitely worth exploring is the exciting skilled trade of Sprinkler Fitting. 

Not only are sprinkler fitters vital to the success of every commercial construction project, they are craft tradespersons known for having a unique set of skills and operating at the forefront of construction technology.  

What is sprinkler fitting?

Sprinkler Fitting is a component of pipe fitting closely related to commercial plumbing construction. It involves the installation and maintenance of life-saving fire suppression systems.


It’s a unique profession among the craft trades as it’s specifically designed to save lives and protect property. For this reason it has it’s own set of codes and regulations and is frequently at the forefront of incorporating new construction technology and equipment.

In this blog, we will walk you through what sprinkler fitting entails, the tools and technology used, the most common projects, and share insight from an expert in the field. We will also help you determine if this is the right career path for you and how to get started.

A blueprint of a skyscraper with notes on the specific size and features of sprinkler system needed.

sprinkler fitting Career advancement & pay

Sprinkler Fitters that are hardworking, committed to improvement and have mechanical aptitudes, are known to advance very quickly in their careers – some even reaching the level in foreman in under 10 years!

While entry level wages vary depending on location & employer, a Michigan journeyman will typically earns up to $40/hour with attractive benefits like healthcare, ongoing training and retirement savings. Once a person moves into a foreman/supervisor role managing multiple and/or complex projects they commonly make over 6 figure salaries. 

Laying out parts, tool maintenance, sorting fittings, assisting journeymen.
A laborer who is actively learning about the coding/regulatory requirements, this person also helps with the more advanced work of cutting/threading pipe and rod.
A journeyman understands the proper codes/schematics of a sprinkler system, can understand the system designs, fit pipes and complete the installation.
Creating the full system layout of a commercial building sprinkler system
An advanced Journeyman who can take on multiple or large projects. They supervise the entire site and interact with the owner, engineers and other skilled tradespersons.

Recent Sprinkler Fitting Projects in Michigan

Tools of the Trade

Sprinkler fitters use a variety of specialized tools and equipment, including pipe cutters, threading machines, welding equipment, and testing equipment. They also use hand tools such as wrenches, pliers, and hammers to install and maintain sprinkler systems.

interview with an expert sprinkler fitter

John Norton is an experienced leader & inspector at Total Fire Protection and WMCI’s Sprinkler Fitting II instructor. 

How did you get into the trades? 

You could say I was born into the trades. I’ve been doing it 36 years full time, but was first introduced to it at 8 years old threading pipe in a pole barn for my dad’s company.  

My dad started his fire protection company back in 1975. So I grew up working for him in the summer time. I  also learned how to do drawings and design at a young age because we didn’t have computers back then. 

A sprinkler fitting construction worker fixes a pipe on a commercial construction jobsite.
Where do you see the industry expanding in the next few years?

What I like is that this industry evolves quickly. When I started in the trades there wasn’t such a thing as plastic pipe. Now, we use something called Blaze Master Pipe which is exclusive to fire protection as well as the installation of fully automated systems that can monitor a fire and then automatically shut itself off when its finished. 

This technological progression make things less expensive, stronger, and faster which in turn allows us to build better better systems to protect people. 


If you had one piece of advice you could give to yourself as you were just starting out in the trades what would it be?

“Learn as much as you can early and quickly. Sprinkler Fitting is like the tech industry in that it evolves rapidly. As I look back, if I could have picked up a more diverse understanding of the trades, I would have moved up so much faster.”

Ready to learn more?

If you are interested in starting a career in commercial construction, sprinkler fitting is a great option. Not only is it well-paid and interesting, it’s a very rewarding profession. It’s not often that you have the opportunity to work in a field that plays such a crucial role in protecting people and property. 

The West Michigan Construction Institute currently offers a great path for people of ALL walks of life to develop the skills needed to be a successful sprinkler fitter. Sprinkler Fitting I has two different day of the week options to chose from taught by expert instructors from Total Fire Protection and Brigade Fire Protection.

Learn more below or feel free to connect with us directly for more information.  

More from the blog:

A Year in Review Looking back at WMCI’s craft trade training progress in 2023 and ahead to the plans for growth in 2024. “As I think about who and what WMCI is, I am proud