Consider a Technical Career: Steamfitting

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Pipes that transport water, air, and other liquids and gases are essential in nearly all structures, such as homes, factories, and commercial businesses. Steamfitters build and install pipe systems and related components. They sketch pipe systems and plan the layout and then attach the pipes to walls and structures using various tools, welding equipment, and clamps. Steamfitters also inspect and test systems and provide cost estimates for projects. To become a steamfitter, individuals must typically complete an accredited vocational training program.

Description of Programs

Steamfitter training programs are commonly offered by technical schools and community colleges. The programs themselves vary by institution, but often incorporate classroom lectures with lab workshop training. Hands-on training ensures that students will be familiar with the tools and equipment involved in the trade as well as gain valuable practical experience. For learning welding and fabrication techniques, there is no substitute for physical practice.

What is Learned in a Steamfitter Training Program

A few integral parts of steamfitter training are learning about local plumbing codes and regulations, reading blueprints, and safety procedures. Students also learn about various types of piping systems such as plastic, copper, and brass, as well as the different components of pipe systems. When studying systems, students also learn about layout, fitting, fabrication, and pipe template development. They gain specialized skills with the hand and power tools used in the steamfitting trade. Students master the abilities to cut, fit, weld, join, and support pipes and related parts. They also learn to complete tasks according to building codes and specifications. Other important skills and topics include mathematics, chemistry, and applied physics. Most courses are designed so students spend equal time between classroom instruction and hands-on experiences.

Steamfitter Program Topics

  • Introduction to Pipefitting
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Standard First Aid
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Brazing, Joining, and Bending
  • Pipe and Tubing Fundamentals
  • Low and High Pressure Steam Systems
  • Welding and Cutting Techniques

Enrolling in a Steamfitter Program

While specific requirements vary by institution, individuals must generally meet a few basic requirements:

  • Be physically capable of performing steamfitting tasks, particularly lifting and welding
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have acceptable eyesight to perform welding and inspection tasks

Students may also be required to successfully pass an interview to be accepted into a trade school. The entrance interview is intended to serve as an informational exchange. Interviewers will assess a student’s career goals to determine how well they will fit into the program. Students will have the opportunity to learn more about the program’s goals and have any questions answered.

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