How Much Do Pipefitters Get Paid?

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Pipefitters specialize in the installation and repair of high- and low-pressure piping systems, working in the commercial industry. Their work directly affects a building's ability to heat, cool and generate electricity. Where those buildings' foundations meet the ground has significant impact on a pipefitter's salary, which varies from state to state. In some cases, pipefitters can make almost double the national median wage for the profession by simply crossing state lines.

Fitting In

  • Pipefitters, together with plumbers and steamfitters, numbered approximately 358,790, earning median salaries of $46,660, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' May 2010 Occupational Employment and Wages report. The range for nationwide pipefitter salaries hit a high of $79,920 in the 90th percentile and fell to $27,580 in the 10th percentile.

Highest State Salaries

  • No pattern emerged from the BLS survey of the states with the highest salaries for the pipefitting industry. Alaska topped the list, with a significantly higher-than-median mean wage of $73,380. Annual mean wages for pipefitters in Illinois were $66,200, while employers in New Jersey paid pipefitters $63,650. In Wisconsin, pipefitter salaries were $62,550. Nevada's pipefitters placed fifth, earning $61,240.

Thinking Outside the Building

  • The building equipment contractor industry was the largest employer of pipefitters and did pay a higher-than-median salary of $50,690, but that salary didn't make it into the BLS top five. Paying the highest salaries to pipefitters was the support activities for mining category, with annual mean wages of $67,820 in the profession. Employers at foundries paid $65,820, while the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry paid $64,870. Pipefitters in the electric power generation industries and spectator sports industries earned higher-than-average salaries of $63,560 and $62,380 respectively.

Where the Work Is

  • Only one state placing in the BLS top-five highest paying states also earned a spot on the top-five list of largest per-capita employers -- Illinois, which took fifth place. California employed the most pipefitters and paid an above-average $56,330. Texas, which was the second largest employer in the profession, paid a below-average $42,460. The third largest state for pipefitter employment, New York, offered salaries of $60,160. In fourth place was Florida, where pipefitters received annual mean wages of $39,310.

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