Pipe fitters are responsible for installing and repairing high- and low-pressure pipe systems. These systems are present in electricity creation, building cooling and heating, and manufacturing. Many pipe fitters belong to the United Association, the union of heating-ventilation-air conditioning service technicians, welders, pipe fitters and plumbers. Local unions have contracts with contractors, and their wage rates vary from location to location. Ohio pipe fitters generally earn lower rates than pipe fitters in other parts of the country.
The average annual salary of a pipe fitter in the United States as of May 2010, was $50,360 or $24.21 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 10th percentile earned an average of $27,580 per year, or $13.26 per hour. The 25th percentile made an average of $35,110 per year or $16.88 per hour. The median salary was $46,660 per year or $22.43 per hour. The 75th percentile made about $62,860 per year or $30.22 per hour. The 90th percentile earned about $79,920 per year or $38.42 per hour.
The average annual salary of a pipe fitter in Ohio as of May 2010 was $46,520. The average hourly wage was $22.37, and the median hourly wage was $21.54.
Trade unions generally have a pay scale in which apprentices earn a percentage of the salary of journeymen. For example, first-year apprentices may earn between 40 and 50 percent of the salary of a journeyman, plus benefits.
Ohio Union Example
Local union No. 219 in Akron, Ohio, has a starting salary for apprentices of $9.56 per hour as of August 2010 according to the Mechanical Contractors Association of Akron. Second-year apprentices earn $12.24 per hour. Third-year apprentices earn $13.43 per hour, and fourth-year apprentices earn $16.11 per hour. Journeymen make $17.90 per hour, and foremen earn $18.40 per hour. Union members also paid 4.5 percent of their gross wages in union dues. Employers paid pension, training and welfare fund contributions for union members.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition -- Plumbers, Pipelayers, Pipe Fitters and Steamfitters
- Helmets to Hardhats: United Assoc. of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Occupational Employment and Wages -- Plumbers, Pipe Fitters and Steamfitters; May 2011
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates -- Ohio; May 2010
- Mechanical Contractors Association of Akron; Plumbing & Pipe-Fitting Industry -- Wage Rates, Benefits, Etc.; August 2010