Electrician vs. Plumber – Which Trade Should You Choose

If you are only starting your professional career, you may be torn between trades to go with.

There are so many trades out there from HVAC techs and construction to oil and gas.

You can choose among a great variety of jobs.

The most common and important trades out there are electrical and plumbing trades.

Electricians and plumbers are needed everywhere, and the two careers have a lot in common.

However, some aspects make them very different from each other.

So here we will explore the electrician vs. plumber debate and talk about the pros and cons of each.

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Electrician Job Tasks​

Electricians are responsible for setting up wiring and equipment that runs electricity into structures and around them.

After setting up the equipment safely and efficiently, they use various tools to ensure it’s safe and corresponds with the code.

Electricians work in various settings, including residential homes, which can be different in size and layout, or commercial buildings, which can vary in size and layout even more.

They can also work outdoors as a lineman, installing and maintaining electrical circuits that connect businesses and homes to power plants.

Plumber Job Tasks​

Contrary to what most people think, the plumbing occupation includes a great variety of tasks.

The common opinion is that plumbers do one thing, fixing toilets, which is very far from the truth.

This job is really important as plumbers, along with pipefitters and steamfitters, install pipes that transport gases, materials, and liquids in and out of the buildings.

They are also responsible for the maintenance of the installed pipes.

Just like electricians, they work in a variety of settings, including commercial (office buildings, restaurants, etc.,), industrial (power plants or factories), and residential homes and apartments.

Any kind of building has pipes, and, therefore, needs plumbers.

What Are The Training Periods Like?​

To become a licensed electrician, or a journeyman electrician, one needs to complete a two- to five-year apprenticeship program.

In most states, they last from four to five years.

It may seem like a long time, but there are a lot of things to learn.

The apprenticeship usually takes place during standard work hours, up to 40 hours a week.

In the course of it, apprentices get hands-on training on the job sites.

They are also getting paid, and their pay increases as they move on through the program.

It can be difficult to get an apprenticeship, as you will have to pass an examination and interviews.

So, if you don’t have any experience or need help in preparing for the examination, you can take classes at a vocational school or community college.

The plumbing apprenticeship is similar.

It lasts for about the same time, four-five years.

The duration can depend on the area where you live.

Plumbing apprentices are also paid for their work.

The regulations and rules can vary from state to state, so you will have to look up the requirements for your target area.

Electrician Salary vs. Plumber Salary

According to the data published by the government, the median salary for electricians exceeds the salary of plumbers by only a few hundred dollars per year.

Here’s what each of them is making:

  • Plumbers: $49,140 per year.
  • Electricians: $49,840 per year.

The median salary means that half of the workers make above that number, while the other half, below.

How Many Jobs Are There Currently In The United States?

Currently, there are 386,000 plumbers employed in the US and 583,000 electricians.

A more popular choice is becoming an electrician.

However, this shouldn’t influence your decision.

Career Outlook​

Despite the career you choose to go with, your perspectives are quite positive.

The growth for all occupations across the country is estimated at 11% by 2022.

The employment of electricians should increase by 20%, while plumbers’, 21%.

Either way, you will be able to find work after you finish the apprenticeship quite easily.

It’s great to have this kind of job security.

Many Americans move through their careers without any assurance they will keep their jobs, or find another one if they lose them.

Is Plumbing Gross?

This is a question to be asked.

When you see plumbers on TV, they are up to their elbows in feces.

Is this how it is?

No, it’s not.

Maybe, sometimes.

But not all the time.

Both plumbers and electricians work on the installations in the new buildings, and pipes there are as clean as possible.

There can be situations, many of them, where they do have to work near human waste, but that’s a known fact.

You should remember something very important, electricians can also face the situations on the job which are absolutely disgusting.

They may have to work in cellars with some small animals dead for a long time.

They may have to work at a restaurant where there’s tons of grease and rotten food around.

Industrial power-plants are also not uncommon, including sewage treatment plants with feces.

Which Career Is For You

The truth is, both careers are a great choice.

Plumbers and electricians both make a good living well above the national average, have a great job outlook, and take approximately the same time to finish the apprenticeship.

So, it’s basically up to you.

Whichever career you find a better fit for you.

You can talk to people working in both trades and see which career fits your personality the best.

Either choice will be a wise one.

Search Electrician Programs

Get information on Electrician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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