How do I become a Steamfitter?

Steamfitters are responsible for installing piping systems.

Steamfitters and pipe fitters typically work on new construction sites, creating, assembling and installing pipe systems. They may also work on existing commercial and public buildings, maintaining and repairing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. To become a steamfitter, you typically need to graduate from high school, be at least 18 years old, and complete an internship.

A steamfitter may be responsible for the maintenance and repair of air conditioning systems.

The job of a steam installer is typically very demanding and often requires climbing, lifting weights and working in confined spaces. Often, working on a construction site involves many hours to meet construction schedules. Also, if you become a steam maker, there is a risk in this job as you may be working on scaffolding and close to heavy machinery.

In general, to become a steamfitter, you must have completed high school or its equivalent, with credits in math, science, and English. You will also need to be at least 18 years old and it may be beneficial for you to have some knowledge of reading, drawing and soldering blueprints. In addition to these basic requirements, becoming a steamfitter requires completing an internship through unions or internship programs at community colleges or technical schools. Alternatively, military training in steam assembly and pipe assembly may be a good option; people with military training often receive credit for prior experience when they enroll in civilian apprenticeship programs.

Apprenticeship programs are usually jointly administered by unions, licensing bodies and schools and consist of four or five years of paid on-the-job training, along with at least 144 hours per year of classroom training. As they work, apprentices learn skills such as identifying tube types and grades, how to use specialized tools, and safe work habits. In the classroom, a learner will typically learn blueprint reading, drawing, math, physics, and chemistry, as well as local building codes and building regulations.

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After an internship, licensing is the next requirement to become a Steamfitter. Details vary by region, but in general, licensing requires at least two to five years of hands-on experience and passing a written test to demonstrate a person’s knowledge. In addition, steam manufacturers who want to work on gas pipelines often need to pass a second test that covers gas-specific knowledge.

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