Plumbers repair and install the pipes and drainage systems that are connected to appliances, machines, and fixtures. Some plumbers concentrate on residential plumbing, while others focus on commercial. A plumber might choose to focus on new construction or build a career performing repairs on existing systems. Regardless of the type of plumbing involved, there are certain skills needed to be a plumber who is successful.
Physical Skills for Plumbers
Plumbers need good manual dexterity to master their plumbing skills. This includes the ability to hold the arm and hand steady when supporting a tool or piece of pipe, the ability to use the fingers to manipulate small objects, and the ability to coordinate movements of both hands. The vision should be sufficient to allow the plumber to spot problems, use measuring devices, and line up fittings properly.
Occasionally, the duties of a plumber may include the need to work in a prone position or in cramped spaces, so the ability to do so while maintaining coordination between multiple limbs is important. Plumbers frequently need to climb, lift heavy items and work in extreme temperatures, and they, therefore, need the physical fitness to perform such tasks.
Acquired Skills for Plumbers
Because plumbers are often required to make precise measurements, they should have a grasp of basic mathematics, according to Herzing College; a knowledge of geometry and algebra is also helpful. Plumbers should have adequate oral communication skills to speak with customers to gain an understanding of their plumbing problems and explain what needs to be done to resolve them.
Knowing what tools, machines, and methods are best for each situation means learning certain mechanical basics, such as whether a repair method will hold up to the water pressure to which it will be subjected or if a material can be safely cut with a specific tool. Certain jobs require the ability to read and follow blueprints to determine where pipes and equipment should go. Plumbers should also know the local codes that apply to various types of jobs so they can comply with the regulations.
Mental Skills for Plumbers
Plumbers should be able to apply reason and logic to the problem at hand, carefully analyzing all alternatives and the advantages or disadvantages of each method. They need to be good listeners who will give customers their full attention so misunderstandings will be reduced.
Plumbers should be able to make decisions in a timely manner while using good judgment. At times, a plumber may have to keep an eye on dials or gauges while performing a repair or installation, so being able to multitask can be an asset. Since the occupation carries an injury risk that is higher than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers should be able to focus on the task to complete it in the safest manner possible.
Plumber Personal Attributes
Plumbers need to be dependable, making sure all work is performed in a responsible manner and that all obligations are met. The occupation requires someone who is detail-oriented and thorough when working on an assignment. Plumbers often work alone and have little direct supervision, so they need to be self-motivated to perform a task correctly, safely, and in a timely manner. Since problems are sometimes more severe than anticipated, plumbers should possess the persistence needed to see the job through to a successful conclusion.
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