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Top Things to know about a career in commercial plumbing

Learn about the pay, skills, myths, and more of commercial plumbing


There have been a lot of stereotypes (often perpetuated by popular movies and shows) about plumbers over the years. A few examples?

  • Commercial plumbing is easy
  • You don’t need an education to become a plumber

But the reality is that commercial plumbing requires a large amount of training, intelligence, skills, and expertise. Because as a commercial plumber, you’re dealing with a very sensitive, difficult to control, and necessary daily resource: water. 


Think Plumbing is simple? 

249,908 Gallons

The tallest building in the world - the Burj Khalifa - uses 249,908 gallons of water PER DAY. This is circulated up and down all 163 floors. 

'bathtub in the sky'

In order to prevent Philadelphia's tallest building from dangerously swaying in the wind, commercial plumbers designed and installed a 300,000 gallon tank that sits on the roof.

Plumber interests & skills

Plumber average salary

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*wages/benefits vary by geographic area

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5 Things to know about commercial plumbers:


One of the dumbest stereotypes is that plumbers are uneducated. In reality, it's the exact opposite. 


First, most plumbing programs require a high school degree or equivalent to get started. Beyond high school, plumbers undergo a lot of job specific training and education. This can include a variety of craft training programs and on-the-job learning. Successful completion of programs like Plumbing 1 result in students earning industry-recognized NCCER certification.


Most states also require plumbers to demonstrate their knowledge by passing an exam to get licensed. 


If you're still thinking this is not a rewarding career, you should ask a plumber! 


It's no wonder that surveys show construction professionals are happier than other industries. The projects are diverse, the pay is great, and the work they accomplish stands for generations. 

Commercial Plumbers are in high demand

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 469,900 plumbers nationwide and Michigan employs 11,410 of them.


Over the next 8 years that number is expected to grow by 7%. Even higher, specialties like pipefitters and steamfitters expect an 11% growth rate. Yet despite that growth, the Associated General Contractors of America found that as much as 88% of Michigan plumbing companies had open, hourly craft positions!


It takes a lot of skill, knowledge, and talent to be a plumber.


Plumbers need to be good at math and even physics; weighing in gravity, water pressure, and temperature control in their calculations.


Plumbers also need to be able to understand blueprints, schematics and diagrams. Perhaps most importantly, the top plumbers have the street smarts to know how to collaborate with other craft trades to ensure each project is a success.


Home repairs and maintenance are great skills to make you a hero with family and friends, but in the world of commercial plumbing you'll be doing much more high-level work. 


Plumbers are the ones that design and install the complex water systems for offices, schools, factories, hospitals and just about any other modern structure. 


With a complex maze of pipes transferring water in and out of an entire building, plumbing requires smarts just as much (if not more) as strength!


Are You Ready?

If you’re interested in learning more about a career in commercial plumbing and/or connecting with top West Michigan plumbing construction companies you’re in the right place. WMCI’s Plumbing I course is the best option to learn more about this dynamic industry so you can build a successful, well-paid, and interesting career! 

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