The Pulse of the Pipeline: Counting America’s Plumbers

Written by The Valve+Meter Team / April 15, 2023 / 5 Minute Read
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The workforce in the US plumbing industry is crucial in the lives of Americans. In this article, we uncover how many plumbers are keeping America’s pipes and fixtures in check, the pressing need for more skilled hands, the journey to becoming a licensed plumber, and the evolving demographics in the field. Whether you’re a curious reader or a potential job seeker, this article offers an engaging and informative look at the pulse of America’s plumbing pipeline.


How Many Plumbers Are in the US: An Overview

Maintaining existing plumbing systems and building new sanitation systems for construction projects is vital to the health, safety, and security of Americans.

Just how many plumbers are working in the United States?

At Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, our team studies the plumbing industry to help plumbing companies grow.

Gauging the data about plumbers is not merely trivia-plumbing statistics that offer crucial insights into the health and vitality of the plumbing industry in the United States. It helps us grasp the scope of this profession that’s so integral to our daily lives from where we live, work, and play.

Everywhere there is a water and infrastructure, we need plumbers to build, repair, and maintain sanitation.

The Current Landscape of Plumbing Professionals

Before we consider the number of plumbers in the United States, picture this: the nation’s drinking water system includes 2.2 million miles of underground pipes.

A vast network of skilled plumbing professionals is needed to preserve and expand these complex plumbing systems that run like veins through our homes, businesses, and cities.

The number of plumbers in the US is more than just a figure; it’s a testament to the size and importance of this industry. From small towns to bustling metros, these experts form the backbone of an essential service sector, keeping both residential and commercial plumbing systems in top shape.

Plumbing Network 2.2 M
The nation's drinking water system includes 2.2 million miles of underground pipes.
Plumbing Professionals 480K+
There are more than 480,000 professionals working in the plumbing industry.

Diving into the Data: Understanding Labor Statistics

The exact figure for plumber employment varies each year. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics has a total number of 482,700 plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.

The total employment number is larger as industry employment also includes support staff, customer service professionals, sales, managers, suppliers, and other businesses like heating and cooling technicians.

The plumbing industry spans construction, home services, and touches many other trades.

Think of this metric as a snapshot capturing the real scale of plumbers doing the actual work of turning wrenches and pipes.

Employment Growth and Job Market Trends

Now, let’s talk about employment growth and trends.

The plumbing job market isn’t static—growing at approximately 2% annually. The projected number of added plumber jobs for the next decade is 9,100.

Unsurprisingly, coastal and larger states employ the most plumbers. By the numbers, California has the highest number of plumbing businesses with 12,867, followed by Florida with 10,038, and Texas with 9,542.

With new job openings popping up and employment growth on the rise, the industry is on par with many others. However, plumbing is constantly evolving and expanding. For job seekers, this means a sea of opportunities, and for the industry, it’s a sign of robust health and vitality.

Education and Training Paths

Most plumbers pursue education and training to find jobs and earn a higher average salary.

In the majority of states, plumbing licenses are categorized into three levels: apprentices, journeymen, and master plumbers. This varies significantly depending on the state but in general, different license levels determine the scope of work plumbers are authorized to undertake.

  • Apprentice: At the beginning, plumbers carry out specific tasks under the supervision and guidance of more experienced plumbers.
  • Journeyman: An entry-level license that grants individuals the independence to work autonomously while still being supervised by a master plumber.
  • Master: The highest level of licensure, allowing individuals to supervise journeyman plumbers, obtain permits for projects, or operate their plumbing businesses.

Becoming a master plumber isn’t just about learning to fix leaks; it’s about a comprehensive education and training path. From the basics taught in high school to specialized programs that hone their craft, plumbers undergo a journey of continuous learning and skill development.

Regional Variations in Licensing

Did you know that becoming a licensed plumber in Texas is different from getting licensed in California?

For instance, Kansas does not offer a licensing program, whereas practicing without a license in Michigan includes a fine of no less than $5,000.

Plumbers in Demand: Analyzing the Job Outlook

The demand for plumbers is as ever-present as the need for clean water.

From new construction projects to residential and commercial repairs, plumbers are the unsung heroes keeping our modern conveniences running. And with the construction industry booming, the call for these skilled professionals is expected to grow louder than ever.

Addressing the Plumber Shortage

Despite the expected high demand, there’s a bit of a shortage in the ranks. Between 2020 and 2022, the number of applicants for technical work including plumber jobs dropped by 49%.

This gap isn’t just a challenge; it’s an opportunity for job seekers and a call to action for the industry to attract more talent.

Labor Shortage -49%
The number of applicants for technical work including plumber jobs dropped by 49%.
Average Salary $59K
With a national average salary of $59,596, it's a profession that not only offers a decent paycheck.

Demographics and Diversity in Plumbing

The plumbing industry, like many others, is experiencing a dynamic shift in its demographics. It’s not just about male plumbers anymore. Approximately, 1.74% of plumbers are female.

We’re seeing a growing presence of Hispanic and African other non-white groups in the field. Approximately 24% of workers in the plumbing industry identify as Hispanic.

This diversity isn’t just about numbers; it’s about bringing different perspectives and skills to the job, enriching the industry as a company as a whole.

Salaries and Earnings in Plumbing

The financial aspects of being a plumber are as important as the job itself.

The average salary of plumbers can vary, influenced by factors such as location, experience, and education.

With a national average salary of $59,596, it’s a profession that not only offers a decent paycheck but also reflects the value and necessity of the work most plumbers do.


The plumbing industry plays a vital role in America’s infrastructure, ensuring the delivery of clean water and efficient sanitation. To ensure plumbing companies thrive, Valve+Meter stays at the forefront of data. When plumbers look to grow, our team delivers complete marketing solutions including plumber website design and development, plumber SEO, PPC, and other digital strategies to connect with new customers.

FAQs: Essential Queries About Plumbers in the US

As of the most recent count, approximately 480,000 plumbers are working tirelessly across the United States, ensuring that our essential water and sanitation systems function seamlessly. There is a great variety of different types of plumbers working in the field.

Indeed, the US is currently grappling with a notable shortage of plumbers. This shortfall is significantly impacting the industry, stretching existing resources, many jobs and highlighting the urgent need for more skilled professionals in the field.

In the vast expanse of the US, there are around 117,000 actively employed licensed plumbers. These licensed professionals represent the backbone of quality and safety in plumbing services across the nation.


Plumbers are in high demand across the USA. This surge in business is fueled by ongoing construction projects, aging infrastructure, and the continual need for maintenance and repair services in both residential and commercial sectors.