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What They Do

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters Career Video

Insider Info

Gas fitters are perfectionists. Natural gas can be deadly, so a fitter's work leaves no room for error.

Fitters must analyze a situation, spot problems and act quickly. They install, repair and maintain gas lines, meters, gas appliances and furnaces in all kinds of homes and buildings.

Gas fitters can work in the heating, refrigeration and air conditioning sectors, for a natural gas or propane utility, for a furnace or boiler manufacturer or as a maintenance mechanic for a leasehold company.

Other grads do insurance investigations on accidents that may have been the result of faulty gas lines or equipment.

Strength and stamina are important. You'll be lifting heavy pipes, standing for extended periods and working in cramped positions. You'll also be exposed to burns, cuts and falls. While most gas fitters put in a standard 40-hour week, they may work evenings or weekends or be called out in emergencies.

"It's hard and it's messy," says gas fitter Michael Stewart. "Most of the time it can be difficult to keep up. But if you can handle the pace, go for it!"

Still, it's a job no one should be afraid of. "Trades offer very good careers," says Anne St. Eloi. She is the coordinator of a women's trade program and a veteran gas fitter.

"This isn't for high school dropouts. Don't be frightened by the concept of a trade. It's been very rewarding for me -- physically, mentally and monetarily. And you don't need to be a Hulk Hogan, either."

Working outdoors in the elements is part of the job. "You'd better like to work outside," says Doug Fitzgerald, a Pennsylvania gas fitter. "I've been in some nasty weather and we've got to get the job done. And the job has to be right."

At a Glance

Install and maintain gas lines

  • You might work evenings and weekends
  • Strength and stamina are important
  • You'll need some sort of apprenticeship training