Whether you install and repair pipe systems in power, chemical, or gas plants, or oil refineries, or work on pipes used for heating and cooling systems in large office buildings, most pipefitters will agree that there is an enormous feeling of achievement working with your bare hands.
But jobs in the industry are notorious for the risk of injuries and so many pipefitters aim to climb the career ladder as quickly as possible, working their way up to positions like piping foreman or quality inspector that are not as hands-on – and therefore don’t carry quite the same percentage of risk.
You will find a complete sample pipefitter resume at the end of this article that has been designed to help you write the best possible resume to help get you the job.
Resume objective for pipefitters
Whichever pipefitter job you are going to apply for, you need to craft your resume so that it shows you have the technical knowledge and experience that aligns with the job description.
Whether you work with pipes systems that carry air, water, steam, liquids, gases, or some type of lubrication, there are basic skills and experience needed for all pipefitter jobs, and you will also need your resume objective to show that you have what it takes.
The sample resume objective below is based on a job for a pipefitter journeyman in Los Angeles.
Even though a journeyman is a qualified tradesman, the successful pipefitter will work under the immediate supervision of the foreman – which means they don’t necessarily expect him to be licensed (see Certifications, below). But he will also act as the “leadman” instructing and providing guidance to craft workers in the work crew.
The position demands at least three years of experience plus the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certifications.
Experienced pipefitter with extensive welding experience. Highly accurate worker with sound maths skills and above-average ability to visualize pipework in 3D from drawings and plans. Team player who can work independently and offer leadership.
Resume skills for pipefitters
At every level of employment, pipefitters need a range of mechanical skills including the ability to use the tools and equipment required to work with different types of metal and other non-metal materials. These are used for cutting, threading, and joining pipes, as well as bending, grinding, and mounting them according to blueprints.
The ability to read blueprints is vital because these documents enable pipefitters to select the correct size and type of pipe and related materials and equipment including hangars, pipe supports, and hydraulic support systems.
It’s important to understand the terminology used, and unless you have mastered mathematics, you’re not going to be able to interpret written instructions and drawings. But you know that already!
Pipefitters also need to be strong because pipes and the tools used can be heavy. Most work is done standing, but there is usually a frequent need to climb up ladders or scaffolding, and an ability to balance. Some jobs require kneeling, crouching, and crawling in what can be very uncomfortable positions. You know that too!
Pipefitting generally involves not only laying out, fabricating, assembling, and installing piping systems, but it also involves maintenance and repairs. In all instances, troubleshooting skills are invaluable. A good pipefitter will be able to identify problems, diagnose the cause, and then fix whatever is wrong.
Maths, including geometry and trigonometry | Understanding of isometric and pipe drawings | Blueprint reading | Cutting, grinding, threading, bending | Welding and cutting metal | Rigging | Bolting | Knowledge of Pipe Fitter’s Blue Book | Not afraid of heights
Pipefitter work experience
Work experience is all-important for pipefitters, most of whom have no more than a high school diploma, sometimes not even that.
The fact that pipefitters play such an important role in the construction and maintenance of plant site systems opens up huge opportunities for them – and you.
In many, if not most, cases pipefitters start out as entry-level pipefitter helpers and then progress to positions as journeymen, supervisors, and foremen as their experience and knowledge increases.
On-the-job training as an apprentice is invaluable and allows pipefitters the opportunity to earn a living while learning the trade for four or five years. Unlike those who literally learn on-the-job, apprentices also spend some time in the classroom (see education below).
Apprenticeship programs are offered by some businesses and unions. Sometimes pipefitter helpers enter apprenticeships after they have been employed.
Some pipefitters chose to attend a technical college and study further, and may even add work experience in this way. One more advanced career option is to train as a construction quality or welding inspector.
Sample Work Experience
Browning & Brown
Pipefitter Foreman, 2018 – 2019
Responsible for directing crew members to ensure that jobs were carried out safely, efficiently, and within given timelines. Read and interpreted isometric drawings and blueprints.
- Required to plan my own work and delegate specific tasks to crew members
- Tested all completed piping systems for leaks
- Took responsibility for numerous hands-on layout, fabrication, assembly, and installation of piping systems for hydraulic and pneumatic systems
- Tasked with detecting machinery malfunctions and required to operate machinery to verify the need for repairs
Journeyman Pipefitter, 2016 – 2017
Responsible for the layout, assembly, installation, and maintenance of steam, gas, and fluid pipe systems. Read blueprints and worked according to given specifications. Identified tools and safety risks for jobs.
- Worked on new industrial construction work in buildings and outside structures
- Performed numerous tests for the quality of pipes and systems
- Operated motorized pumps to remove water from flooded facility floors and basements
- No direct reporting required, but frequently provided reports for the record
Smith & Smith
Pipefitter Helper, 2015 – 2016
Assisted journeyman pipefitters in all aspects of piping systems from laying out to installation. Selected pipe and other materials for jobs. Responsible for inspecting the workplace prior to installation.
- Responsible for ensuring compliance with safety and project rules
- Frequently worked high up in elevated positions
- Welded pipe to structural steel supports
- Testing numerous piping systems for leaks using pressure gauges
Freeman Forest Products
1st Year Pipefitter Apprentice, 2014
Laid out, assembled, installed, maintained, and repaired pipe systems for industrial production and processing systems’ hydraulic and pneumatic equipment. Followed blueprints and undertook pipe cuts, pipe thread, and pipe bends.
- Aptitude test required for admission – passed with 90%
- Reported to the Highways Water Systems Coordinator
- Achieved asbestos abatement certification during the year
- Successfully maintained and organized all the permits, certifications, and documentation needed for audit inspections
“Becoming a skilled tradesman definitely requires good education and training, but it also requires an aptitude for working with one’s own hands and building something out of nothing.
Pipefitter Local Union #211
The only education generally required to become a pipefitter is a high-school diploma or equivalent, a general educational development (GED) diploma for example.
However, some programs will help pipefitters fast-track and climb the career ladder more quickly. For instance, there are college programs that focus on hands-on training in laboratory environments as well as programs that train them to read isometric sketches and blueprints.
Welding is another important skill to learn, although many pipefitters learn how to cut, weld, and join pipes on-the-job. Trade schools offer welding courses that are geared for pipefitters. They also offer courses on pipe system design, equipment and tool use, and safety.
A degree in pipefitting enables pipefitters to enter the workforce more quickly and improve their career opportunities.
Diplomas in engineering and building services engineering, or a certificate program in pipefitting technology, will also benefit pipefitters.
Apprenticeships are a popular option because they enable pipefitters to earn money while learning. They are taught about safety, plumbing codes and relevant regulations, blueprint reading, as well as maths, chemistry, and applied physics in the classroom.
Because you need loads of hands-on training at every level, you can’t study pipefitting online.
Lone Star College
Pipefitting Associate of Applied Science Degree, 2016 – 2017
- Course included pipefitting skills, pipe fabrication and installation, welding, blueprint reading, testing and inspection systems
Pipefitter Helper Certificate of Completion, 2016
- Capstone course: Advanced Pipe Practices
Some colleges offer intensive programs over a period of four or five months that provide students with the skills to work as pipefitters. These courses also train them for the skills needed to get NCCER certification (see the next section).
For example, Galveston College in Texas has a 16-week program in which students not only learn everything they need to get started in pipefitting, but also how to apply mathematical calculations, fabricate pipes, socket and butt weld pipes, screw pipes, and install supports and pipe hangers.
Ultimately, the course covers NCCER core, and Levels 2 to 4.
The college also has a workforce continuing education program for pipefitters.
In addition to all the hands-on training, there are some courses pipefitters can take if they don’t go to college or trade school. These include courses, some of which are offered in Continuing Education Departments, designed to increase the mathematical skills of students.
- Mathematics for Plumbers and Pipefitters
Most states require pipefitters, like plumbers, to be licensed. This generally means they need to have anything between two and five years of experience and then pass an exam that shows they have the necessary knowledge of codes, regulations, and the trade, in general.
Some states require journeyman pipefitters to take the Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) 30 course as well. This provides training for the construction and general industry and is available online.
While pipefitters may work without a license, they cannot work independently, without supervision.
Pipefitters are commonly expected to be NCCER certified to ensure they have the experience and the wherewithal to install and repair the high- and low-pressure pipe systems commonly used in manufacturing, the generation of electricity, and the heating and cooling of buildings.
The curriculum has four levels and covers a range of topics including excavations, threaded pipe fabrication, and steam traps. The exams may be written- or performance-verified.
Courses and testing for NCCER certifications rely on one textbook, the Pipe Fitters Blue Book by W. V. Graves. Commonly referred to as the Pipe Bible, it contains a wealth of information including drawings for true Y-layout, common pipe angles and their solutions, mitered pipe cuts, and special offsets and solutions.
There are several other more specific certifications including gas pipeline operations, liquid pipeline operations, maritime pipefitting, pipeline corrosion control, pipeline electrical & instrumentation, pipeline maintenance, pipeline mechanical, and welding.
- NCCER Pipefitter
Complete pipefitter resume sample
If you are motivated to improve your career prospects, you’ll be applying for a job that has more responsibilities and a higher price tag than your previous job.
The key to getting this new job lies in the experience you have gained as well as the way you present your experience and abilities in your resume.
The complete pipefitter resume sample that follows might not be for the same job you are applying for, but the concept remains the same. Use it for inspiration.
The resume sample is for the position of pipefitter foreman at Worley, a global engineering company that provides services to the energy and resources sectors as well as to complex process industries.
Headquartered in Australia, the job in question was advertised by Worley in Longview, Texas.
While the basic requirements of the job are specified, there are no specifications for experience or skills. Knowing what these should be could make or break the application. Your resume is the place for you to show that you know what a foreman should be able to offer.
Pipefitter with six years of experience, two in a supervisory position ready for new opportunities. Responsible and accountable. Skilled in reading blueprints and interpreting drawings and specifications. Job safety is a passion and time management, a skill acquired, and perfected. Adept at preparing accurate reports that are meaningful for projects.
Leadership | Accountability | Time management | Quality control | Welding and piping | Hand and power tools for cutting and welding | Good written and verbal communication skills | Maths | Blueprint and Isometric reading
Embacor Industrial Construction Works
Pipefitter foreman, 2018 – 2019
Supervised teams undertaking and assembling piping systems. Managed and directed crew daily. Responsible for long-term industrial construction maintenance. Monitored compliance of regulations.
- Utilized complex 3D models, blueprints, and drawing to fabricate and install a variety of piping system types
- Maintained accurate records relating to job productivity for projects
- Ensured that equipment was operated and maintained correctly
- Instituted a safety program for new employees
Eagle Contracting Services
Pipefitter Supervisor, 2016 – 2018
Performed layout, fabrication, installation, testing, repairs of pipe systems. Worked from blueprints but installed simple systems without blueprints. Designed and fabricated pipe hangars. Tested piping systems with air and water.
- Commended for practical skills including tack welding, silver brazing, soft soldering, and burning
- Passed an industry course relating to industry codes, regulations, and specifications
- Worked with a wide range of pipe sizes and types
- Helped apprentice pipefitter helpers learn how to work with the company’s equipment
Pipefitter Helper, 2014 – 2015
Helped the pipefitter crew with various jobs. Read blueprints and specifications. Laid out, positioned, aligned, and fitted structural metal fabricated parts together doing all necessary set up, positioning, and tightening.
- Perfected skills required to do the work required to be the best possible pipefitter helper
- Operated the full range of tools and equipment required to do the job
- Learnt to read isometric drawings
- Gained valuable experience assisting with hydro-testing of piping systems
- Licensed as a pipefitter by the Texas State Board of Plumbing
Associate of Applied Science in Pipefitting Technology, 2012 – 2013
- Mathematics for Pipefitters
Pipefitting is a challenging occupation that carries its own special responsibilities and consequences.
- Even though plumbers and pipefitters have similar duties, they work with different types of pipe systems. They also use different materials and construction methods, and their tools differ. Pipefitters generally work in manufacturing and industrial environments rather than residential or commercial.
- Pipefitters and steamfitters are often referred to in the same breath, however steamfitters specialize in pipe systems that have been designed for liquids and gases that flow through pipework at high pressure.
- Pipefitters have to work safely and accurately. Not only will errors impact them and their fellow workers, but if pipe systems are not correctly fabricated and installed, they could create a hazard for other people.
- Work conditions for pipefitters can be severe and hazardous, with constant risks threatening their safety. They are often exposed to extreme temperatures and sometimes to contaminants. Work spaces are often cramped and they often have to work high up, on scaffolding.
Tips from Experts
“Just like in any other industry, you climb the ladder. But in this, you climb it fast. The more knowledge you get, the faster you move up.” – Skyler Browning, Industrial Construction Quality Inspector in the pipefitting industry
Pipefitting is a tough, physical occupation that offers good financial rewards. The skills required are varied and include maths as well as those that can be mastered on-the-job or by going to a trade school.
This is one of the very few occupations where it is possible to rise to the top of your career very, very quickly. But it takes determination and courage because it is also an occupation that presents some very serious risks.
A good, solid resume will show potential employers that you have what it takes to master the skills and avoid the risks. Good luck!