Are you thinking about becoming a plumber? Maybe you’re a licensed journeyman considering a move to another state. Either way, let’s answer the question that’s no doubt on your mind. How much can I make?
Average hourly and top plumbing salaries in the U.S.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for more info on becoming a plumber, check out this ultimate guide on getting a plumbing license.
How much do plumbers make? It’s the million-dollar question. We gathered data from all across the Internet, sorted it, analyzed it, and we’re pleased to present it in all its glory here for you.
We’re breaking down the average hourly rate for plumbers across the country by state, average salary range, and cities where this job pays big time!
How much does a plumber make?
Let’s get right down to it. The average hourly rate for plumbers across the entire United States is $26.91. Each year that works out to a salary of around $56,178 annually.1
But keep in mind that an average is just that — an average. This number includes salaries listed for plumbing positions in the areas with the highest cost of living (like San Francisco and New York City) and small towns where gas and groceries don’t cost an arm and a leg.
If we zoom in a bit further, the state with the highest average salary is Washington. Yeah, it surprised us too! Plumbing salaries in the Evergreen State average $109,400.2
On the flip side, the state with the lowest average hourly rate is Mississippi, where listings show an annual salary of $44,508. As for the cost of living though, your money goes a lot farther in the Magnolia State.3
Some of the differences in pay may be due to the number of plumbers who serve households in the same area. Other aspects to consider are things like your formal education, years of hands-on experience, and if you work for yourself or someone else. Trade Academy is a great place to start if you need to further your education.
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Average plumber salary by state
Along with looking at the plumbing industry as a whole, it’s helpful to see the average hourly amount in each individual state.
Keep in mind that this average includes every level plumber, from apprentice all the way up to Master Plumber.
That being said, knowing the average hourly rate (combined with the other data) should give you some context for which states tend to pay the most and which pay the least.
Salary range for plumbers
Across the entire United States, the average salary range for plumbing positions runs from $21 per hour to $52.
Now again, this range includes a variety of positions, and the range of pay for plumbers is quite expansive. The pay scale for plumbers is not only based on location but certifications and years of experience. The highest rate could represent a Master Plumber, while a licensed journeyman is the median, and an apprentice would receive half of that rate, representing the lower end of the scale/
Cities with the highest plumbing salaries
If you’re considering a move, you need to drill down to details on specific cities. As you’d expect, a plumbing job in Chicago will offer a higher salary than one in Effingham.
Geography Fun Fact: Effingham, IL has a population of 12,221.
Denver, CO- $59,399 per year
Phoenix, AZ- $56,530 per year
Cincinnati, OH- $55,665 per year
Indianapolis, IN- $55,253 per year
Union, NJ- $55,166 per year
Los Angeles, CA- $53,675 per year
San Antonio, TX- $53,369 per year
A simple search will help you find what plumbers in any given city can make. It’s worth the work if you’re considering a move!
We need to encourage more high school graduates to consider a future in the trades for this very reason. Student loans just don’t add up in many cases. There will always be a need for plumbers, electricians, HVAC techs…and the list goes on.
The plumbing industry is rocking. With the average salary jumping up over $50,000/year (and many jobs available above that amount), it’s a great field to go into if you’re considering it. Clearly, now is as good a time as any to start a plumbing career or a plumbing business.
This data can be useful when it comes to setting competitive salaries and evaluating your personal part-time or full-time job salary. It can also help you determine what sort of pay increase you might look forward to in the future.
Plumbing Salary FAQ
How much do plumbers make? It’s more than you might think! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for plumbers in the United States (as of May 2021) was $63,350.1 The average hourly rate was $30.46. Those figures are obviously affected by where you live and work. Plumbers typically earn higher wages in states where the cost of living is higher like New York and California.
Alright, so plumbers can make a great salary. You should also know that there are a wide range of additional benefits that come along with the job. Just like most jobs out there, plumbers enjoy health insurance, 401(k) plans, paid holidays and sick days, and competitive bonuses. Not only that, the need for plumbers isn’t going away any time soon! About 48,600 openings for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are projected to open up each year until 2031.2
Great pay and job stability makes plumbing an awesome career choice right now.
That is a loaded question! The amount of money a plumber makes will vary based on where they are located and their level of experience. On average, plumbers in the United States make around $63,350 per year. However, according to Salary.com, master plumbers with a lot of experience under their belt can earn up to $90,687 per year.3 And plumbers in areas with higher costs of living can expect to earn even more since salary and hourly pay increases along with the cost of living.
Plumbing pros who start their own business will obviously stand to make even more. They may choose to offer additional services like installing and repairing appliances and replacing sewer lines. Independent contractors typically make more than full-time employees because they charge by the job rather than working at an hourly rate. They make a higher salary and forfeit the benefits they’d receive working for a plumbing company.
If you’re considering a career in plumbing, keep in mind that many states require a license. Some education and training may be required. Check with your particular state laws for details.
The average starting salary for a plumber depends on a number of factors. Where do you live and work, and what type of plumbing services will you be providing? That being said, the average entry-level salary in America for a plumber is $41,063 per year, with a crazy wide range between $22,000 and $77,000.4
Most starting plumbers will be paid hourly. Broken down for hourly workers, those looking to enter the plumbing field can start at around $19.74 an hour. Plumbing companies will expect you to learn your trade and complete certification or trade school courses. This specialized training will help you advance your career and eventually reach higher salaries.
As with beginners, apprentice plumbers are usually paid hourly. Salary and commission structures may be available in some cases. According to Salary.com, the average annual salary for apprentice plumbers as of February 2023 was $42,200, or $20 per hour.5 As with any job, this will vary based on the cost of living in your area. Larger cities also offer more opportunities, which honestly goes without saying. We’ll say it anyway.
Apprentice plumbers can look forward to a number of benefits too. They usually receive full health benefits from employers. They also often receive free training, like certifications and courses required for the field. There’s also a lot of job security. As long as we have running water, gas, and pipes in our homes, we’ll need plumbers.
So many factors go into the average salary of a business owner. The plumbing industry is no different!
Before starting a plumbing business, remember the expenses like your van, tools and equipment, office supplies, licensing, insurance costs, and even marketing expenses.
You’d need to be a master plumber before starting your own business. Master plumbers typically earn between $62,800 and $81,400.6 When you own the business and make money off of every transaction, you could make hundreds of thousands.
As with any business, profit margins grow wider when you run an efficient operation that provides valuable service at competitive costs. Building up strong customer relationships also goes a long way in driving additional income opportunities over time through referrals and word-of-mouth advertising.
There are plumbers who are just starting out in the industry, and there are master plumbers with 20+ years of experience. You can expect a wide range of hourly rates given that there’s such an expanse between rookies and veterans. Plumbers typically make between $14 to $50 an hour.8 If you work in the Big Apple, you’re going to make more than you would if you work in Orangeville, Ohio. But that’s like comparing apples and oranges.
Just like with non-union, the average salary for union plumbers varies depending on the specific job, experience level, and geographic area. As of March 2023, plumbers employed by a union earned an average annual wage of $69,279 per year or $33 an hour in the United States.8
These wages are higher than those paid to nonunion construction workers who earned an average annual income of $48,430 per year or $23.30 per hour during that same period of time.9
We all need a residential plumber from time to time. And when we need them, we really need them! Pay for a residential plumber varies on factors like location and experience, but the average annual salary for a residential plumber in the United States is $67,841 per year. It should be noted that salaries can range from as low as $30,500 to as high as $129,500.
A commercial plumber’s income, like residential plumbers, depends on the type of work they do, their experience level, and the geographical area where they work. However, we can give you the national average, which is $79,517.9 The range swings from $51,000 on the low end to $126,000.
Commercial projects are usually more complex and on a larger scale than residential. They also require a higher level of skill and knowledge when you factor in things like building codes, regulations, and any hazardous materials.
Master Plumbers certifications and many years of experience can bring home some serious bacon. The top 10% of plumbers make $97,170 or $46.72 an hour.11 And in states like Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York, and Massachusetts, some plumbers make more than $100,000.
The highest plumber salary we’ve found is $121,980 in New York City. Of course, that salary might get you a 600-square-foot condo living in the Big Apple.
Yes, plumbers make good money. Depending on experience level and location, a plumber’s annual salary can be anywhere from $50,000 to well over $100,000 in the United States. The hourly rate for a plumber can range from $25 to more than $50 (depending on the job’s difficulty). Plumbing is a specialized field, and demand tends to far outpace supply in large cities, making plumbing a great way to earn a living.
An apprentice plumber earns somewhere between $21,000 and $40,000 per year. But this wage can range a lot depending on the type of employer, the region you work in, and how much experience you have. Early on in your apprenticeship program (1-3 years), you will probably earn minimum wage or just a few dollars more per hour than that. As your training goes on and you gain more seniority and experience, your income will increase quite a bit!
Experienced master plumbers make a median income of $72,101 per year, according to Payscale. Of course, this varies from region to region. In New York City, experienced master plumbers earn an average salary of $90,300 annually. Remember, a master plumber’s salary depends on the area where they work and their employer’s size.