How Much Does a Plumber Make In 2024?

Written by The Valve+Meter Team / March 23, 2021 / 12 Minute Read
Article Preview

Explore the factors influencing plumber earnings in the US, including experience, location, and specialization. Learn how plumbers at different career stages can boost their income and what the future holds for the industry.


If you’re asking ‘how much does a plumber make,’ the straightforward answer for 2024 is an average of $63,215 a year in the U.S.

But, plumber salaries vary based on factors like experience, location, and certifications. Whether you’re exploring a career in plumbing or satisfying your curiosity, this article dives into the nuances of their earnings.

Key Takeaways

Expect to discover everything from entry-level to seasoned professional pay scales, regional salary trends, and effective strategies that can help plumbers increase their income over time.

  • Plumber salaries vary by experience, location, specialization, and industry (residential vs commercial).
  • Entry-level plumbers earn $30,000-$40,000; journeymen average $55,000; masters can exceed $90,000.
  • High-cost-of-living states like California offer the highest plumber salaries.
  • Plumbers earn slightly more than electricians or HVAC technicians on average.
  • Certifications, ongoing training, and specialization can significantly boost plumber earnings.
  • Demand for skilled plumbers is rising; the future of the industry looks bright.
map of us in plumbing parts

Plumber Earnings: National Averages and Variations

The national average salary for plumbers in the US in 2024 stands at $63,215 per year, or $30.39 per hour. It’s a respectable figure, but it’s important to remember that it’s just an average. In reality, a plumber’s earnings can vary remarkably based on several factors.

Experience, for instance, plays a fundamental role in determining a plumber’s salary, with more experienced plumbers tending to earn significantly more. Entry-level plumbers make between $30,000 and $40,000, journeymen average $65,448, and master plumbers can earn around $117,037 annually (Faraday).

Similarly, plumbers with advanced certifications and skills often command higher salaries, reflecting their additional expertise and the value they offer.

Another key factor influencing plumber earnings is location. Like any industry, geographical differences can lead to significant variations in plumber salaries.

For instance, plumbers who work in commercial settings often earn more than those in residential settings, reflecting the increased complexity and scale of their projects. Furthermore, salaries can also vary from state to state, reflecting differences in local demand and economic conditions.

Let’s look at the different salaries based on the experience.

Entry-Level Plumber Salaries

Beginning a career in plumbing can be quite rewarding, with entry-level plumbers earning an average salary nationally between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. And the typical hourly wages for these newcomers to the field range from $23 to $30 an hour.

This reflects the fact that even at the start of their careers, plumbers can earn a healthy income, providing a strong foundation for future growth.

Apprentices, who represent the majority of entry-level workers in the plumbing industry, earn an average of $43,700 per year according to

However, there’s significant variation in salaries depending on the state.

Journeyman Plumber Salaries

Journeyman plumbers, who have gained enough experience to progress beyond the entry-level, earn an average annual salary of $54,678 nationally according to research from Zippia. This group of skilled professionals performs the following tasks:

  • Installs plumbing systems
  • Maintains a clean work site
  • Trains apprentices
  • Ensures a positive workplace, reflecting their skills and expertise level.

Yet, the journey doesn’t stop here. With further experience and training, journeyman plumbers can progress towards becoming master plumbers, opening the door to even higher earnings and more advanced responsibilities.

Master Plumber Salaries

Master plumbers represent the pinnacle of the profession, and their salaries reflect this. On average, a Master Plumber in the US makes an impressive salary of $92,618 annually. Glassdoor estimates these plumbers’ total income reaches $98,602 with overtime and bonuses.

These highly skilled professionals are responsible for:

  • Installing, inspecting, and repairing pipes and plumbing systems
  • Troubleshooting plumbing issues
  • Designing plumbing systems for new construction or renovations
  • Ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations
  • Providing expert advice and recommendations to clients

Their advanced skills and expertise are highly valued, enabling them to command top-tier salaries and earn good money on the appropriate pay scale.

Advancing to this level of the profession isn’t easy, though. It requires plumbers to go through formal certification and accreditation programs, gaining the necessary knowledge and experience to handle the most complex plumbing tasks. However, the hard work pays off, with master plumbers enjoying higher salaries and benefits.

State-by-State Plumber Salary Comparison

Geographical location significantly impacts plumbers’ salaries in the US, with variations attributed to local demand and economic conditions. Certain states lead the nation in plumber compensation, according to ZipRecruiter:

  • Oregon leads the average annual salary for plumbers at $71,663.
  • Florida has the lowest overall average at $43,539.
  • Other states with notably high average salaries for plumbers include Alaska ($71,436), North Dakota ($71,330), Massachusetts ($70,713) all about $70,000.

Interestingly, regions with a shortage of skilled plumbers tend to offer higher salaries, reflecting the increased demand for plumbing professionals in these areas.

The correlation between demand and wages underscores the importance of geographical location in determining a plumber’s earnings.

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Plumbers

When it comes to the states that offer the highest salaries for plumbers, Oregon takes the top spot according to Service Titan data:

top 5 states for plumber salaries infographic

The average plumber salary in Oregon ($71,663), Alaska ($71,436), North Dakota ($71,330), Massachusetts ($70,713), and Hawaii ($69,839) lead all other states.

These states offer plumbers ample opportunities to earn top-tier salaries, but the average salary is only part of the story when it comes to where plumbers choose to build a career.

5 Lowest Paying States for Plumbers

On the other end of the spectrum, several states offer lower average salaries for plumbers.

Again looking at Service Titan data:

lowest 5 states for plumber salaries infographic

Tennessee ($52,080), Georgia ($49,197), Louisiana ($49,005), West Virginia ($45,320), and Florida ($43,539) offer considerably lower plumbing salaries than the top five.

Why do plumbing salaries vary so much from state to state?

Florida is densely populated with a high demand for plumbers in building new homes and maintaining existing residential properties. Throughout the state there are many experienced workers forging a plumbing career beyond introductory plumbing services.

The highest plumbing salaries are for specialized services and in states like Alaska, an experienced plumber combined with the cost of living is more likely to demand a higher wage.

Factors contributing to these average salaries for entry-level plumber, journeyman plumber, and master plumber change dramatically even within states.

City Spotlight: Highest Plumbing Salaries in Major Cities

Shifting the focus from state to city level, we find that some cities offer plumbers particularly high salaries.

Certain areas of the country with high demand have a correspondingly high average plumber salary. A key example is in California. Across this vast state, the top 5 highest average plumber salaries are tightly clustered cities:

top 5 california cities for plumber salary infographic

According to ZipRecruiter, the Bay Area is the place to be for a Master Plumber in terms of average salary. The top five cities for Master Plumber salary are Mountain View ($105,088), Santa Clara ($102,027), San Francisco ($97,444), San Jose ($94,430), and Oakland ($92,416).

In Los Angeles, the average plumber’s pay is $32 per hour, with a salary range from $15.28 to $51.80.

These figures underscore the importance of location, with certain cities offering plumbers the opportunity to earn salaries significantly above the national average. Every plumbing business must pay competitive salaries to an experienced plumber.

Factors Influencing High City Salaries

That doesn’t mean that a plumber in rural Iowa should be demanding a San Francisco master plumber salary.

Several factors contribute to the high salaries for plumbers in these cities. Metropolitan areas and states with higher living costs usually offer higher plumber salaries due to the cost of living adjustment.

Additionally, urban areas typically have higher plumber salaries compared to rural areas because of a higher demand for services and a larger pool of employers.

The average salaries for plumbers can also be affected by the presence of strong economies and specialized skills required in certain urban regions.

Cities experiencing rapid construction projects and growth demand more skilled plumbers, leading to higher salaries. As such, plumbers who can adapt to the specific demands of these urban environments have the potential to earn top-tier salaries.

Comparing Plumber Salaries to Other Trades

The plumbing industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it’s helpful to compare plumber salaries to those in other trades. This comparison provides valuable context for understanding the earning potentials within various industries. When we look at the average salaries for various trades, it’s clear that plumber salaries are competitive, with plumbers earning slightly higher average salaries than electricians and HVAC technicians.

This comparison underscores the value of skilled tradespeople and demonstrates the potential for good earnings in these professions. Whether you’re considering a career in plumbing or simply curious about how these salaries stack up, this comparison provides a useful perspective on the earning potential in these vital industries.

Electrician Salaries vs Plumber Salaries

When comparing electrician salaries to plumber salaries, we find that electricians generally earn slightly less.

A glimpse in the average plumber salary versus that of hvac technicians and electricians:

plumber vs electrician vs hvac technician salaries

According to the Union Pay Scales, unionized journeyman plumbers have a higher average annual income at $87,000 compared to unionized journeyman electricians, who earn an average of $78,000 a year.

However, when considering the broader workforce, the average annual income for electricians and plumbers is nearly the same according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2022.

In 2022, Electricians earned $62,240 annually or $28.96 hourly and plumbers earned $60,090 annually or $28.89.

This comparison underscores the competitive earning potential in both fields, with experienced professionals able to command strong salaries.

HVAC Technician Salaries vs Plumber Salaries

Turning our attention to HVAC technicians, the median salary is lower than that of plumbers.

In 2022, HVAC technicians earned a median salary of $51,390 annually or $24.71 per hour (BLS). Plumbers enjoy a higher median annual salary of $60,090.

To put this in perspective, HVAC technicians in many areas do not require as much training. Early in the career of an HVAC technician, they can earn a competitive wage higher than an apprentice plumber, but career earning potential is far greater for plumbers.

Strategies for Boosting Plumber Earnings

While the earning potential in the plumbing industry is already substantial, there are several strategies that plumbers can employ to boost their earnings further. Specializing in niche areas of plumbing, such as commercial plumbing or green plumbing solutions, can enable plumbers to command higher salaries.

In addition, starting their own plumbing company or becoming highly specialized can lead plumbers to reach six-figure incomes. Furthermore, obtaining plumbing certifications can make a plumber more valuable, positively impacting their earnings.

Finally, pursuing additional training and enhancing skills, particularly in sales and management, can significantly increase a plumber’s market value and salary.

Pursuing Plumbing Certifications

Obtaining a plumbing license can enhance a plumber’s income by an estimated 13.92%, reflecting the value of demonstrated competence and reliability. Beyond basic licensing, specialized certifications in areas like backflow prevention, gas fitting, or green plumbing can lead to higher salaries.

Advanced certifications pave the way to more complex job responsibilities, which usually cause increased salaries and benefits. Achieving advanced skill certifications from recognized institutions notably boosts a plumber’s earning prospects. Furthermore, certifications contribute to a plumber’s marketability, setting them apart from competitors and attracting clients who value specialized skills.

Ongoing education keeps plumbers abreast of latest regulations and practices, signaling a commitment to excellence and enhancing service quality, with verification successful waiting as a part of the process.

Continuing Education and Training

Continuing education and training are pivotal in any profession, and this is especially true in the plumbing industry. Apprenticeships in plumbing not only offer essential in-classroom education but also provide invaluable on-the-job training to enhance competency and promote career progression.

Today, online continuing education courses are available for plumbers, providing them with the convenience and flexibility needed to integrate further learning into their busy schedules. The use of interactive online learning platforms, including streaming content and podcasts led by expert instructors, helps plumbers stay informed about the latest industry changes and advancements.

Learning technologies such as audio narration allow plumbers to maximize their time by enabling them to learn during commutes or even amidst work tasks.

Ultimately, ongoing education and training initiatives empower plumbers to ascend in their careers and attain higher earning potential.


In conclusion, the plumbing industry offers substantial earning potential, with salaries varying based on factors such as experience, location, and specialization. Plumbers at all levels, from entry-level to master, can earn strong salaries, and there are numerous strategies available to boost earnings further, including obtaining advanced certifications and pursuing continuous education.

Valve+Meter Performance Marketing is a leading agency focused on building sustainable plumbing marketing strategies. Looking to the future, the plumbing industry is set to undergo significant changes, with technological advancements and a growing demand for skilled plumbers likely to impact salaries.

As such, for those considering a career in this essential trade and for plumbing business owners, the future looks bright indeed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, plumbing is a great job trade due to high wages, job stability, and advancement opportunities. Starting as an apprentice does not offer the highest starting salary compared to other trades, but a journeyman plumber, master plumber, and owners of a plumbing business can earn a six-figure living.

The highest paid plumbers include Plumbing Engineers with an average range between $85,000-107,000 annually. Plumbing Designers earn $75,500-99,000 and Master Plumbers earn salaries ranging from $61,500 to $92,500 per year (ZipRecruiter).

The average salary for a plumber in the US in 2024 is $63,215 per year or $30.39 per hour (Workiz). It is essential to note salaries vary dramatically by state, region, and career phase.

The more experience a plumber has, the higher their salary will likely be due to the valuable skills and expertise they have gained over time. Master plumbers may earn twice as much as an apprentice just starting out. Training, experience, and in some states unionization can greatly increase a plumber’s salary.