Construction and building

Career outlook for plumber

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would fit and repair water and heating systems and appliances in homes and businesses. People who were having problems with their water supply or heating would rely on you to get these systems up and running again as soon as possible. 

You would:

  • Set up and service water supplies, heating systems and drainage
  • Find faults in equipment and repair them
  • Install and fix home appliances like showers, cookers, gas fires and washing machines
  • Service air-conditioning and ventilation units
  • Attend emergency call-outs to fix leaks, for example during cold weather
  • Fit weather-proof materials to roofs, chimneys and walls.
  • Use hand and power tools, including welding equipment
  • Replace gas boilers and gas heating with renewable energy systems such as heat pumps

You would need to be good at following technical plans. You’d also need to have a good understanding of safety rules.

As an experienced plumber, you might specialise in sheet metal work for industrial, commercial or historical buildings.

Working conditions


You would work around 40 hours a week, with the possibility of overtime. Some employers offer a 24-hour call-out service, which would involve working unsocial hours (like evenings, weekends and public holidays). As a self-employed plumber you would set your own hours.


You could work indoors, sometimes in cramped spaces, and outdoors in all weather conditions. Some work may be at heights, for example on scaffolding to repair guttering or leadwork on roofs.


You would travel locally between jobs, and some contracts may involve overnight stays away from home. A driving licence may be needed.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Taking initiative
  • Time management

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would do a Modern Apprenticeship through the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation (SNIPEF).

Entry requirements for a Plumbing Modern Apprenticeship are a minimum of four subjects at National 4 (SCQF level 4) or National 5 (SCQF level 5). 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • A technologies subject

You will also need

You usually have to pass an aptitude test before you can start training. 

You must have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to train and work on site and will need to pass a health and safety test.

You must hold a gas ID card before you can start work.

You will need a driving licence for some jobs. 

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show practical skills such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5).

A driving licence.