Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for steamfitters was $55,160 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $97,170.
The top paying industry for steamfitters was the manufacturing industry, where the median annual salary was $57,150. This was followed by the government ($56,790), plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors ($54,760) and heavy and civil engineering construction ($52,820).
Autonomy and Flexibility
Like all construction trades, the level of autonomy and flexibility for a steamfitter will vary depending on the amount of experience they have. For instance, a steamfitter who has just began their apprenticeship training will have far less autonomy than a journey level steamfitter. Furthermore, steamfitters with 10 years experience will have more control over their decisions than a journey level steamfitter. Similarly, a self-employed/contractor pipefitter is likely to have more flexibility than those who work for a large company as they will be able to control who they work with and the hours they work.
Locations and commute
Zippia does not show the best locations for steamfitters specifically. However, according to Zippia, the best states to be a pipefitter, which is a trade very similar to steamfitters, based on average annual salary and number of jobs available, are:
- Rhode Island, where the average annual salary is $58,854
- South Dakota, , where the average annual salary is $47,220
- Nevada, where the average annual salary is $55,594
- Louisiana, where the average annual salary is $47,081
- Iowa, where the average annual salary is $40,000
The worst states to be a pipefitter, according to Zippia, are South Carolina, West Virginia, Hawaii, Kentucky and Missouri.
The largest employer of steamfitters in the United States was plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors, which employed 65% of all steam-fitters. 8% were self-employed workers, 4% worked in the heavy and civil engineering construction industry, 4% in manufacturing and a further 3% for the government.
The work of a steamfitter is physically demanding. There are risks involved too with being a steamfitter, as work will need to be performed on pipes that carry both liquids and gases. Steamfitters commonly perform their work outdoors or in uncomfortable conditions, such as basements or tight, cramped spaces like a crawlspace.