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Plumber vs Electrician: Which Job is Better?

An electrician and a plumber are both high-demand occupations. If you are thinking about becoming an electrician or a plumber, you might ask: Which job is better?

Here we list the top 7 comparisons of being an electrician versus a plumber career.

1. Varying Work Environments

The work environment of a plumber or an electrician can greatly change the nature of the working experience – residential, commercial, and industrial. Every industry has its own set of challenges and demands.

Therefore, to determine which one is better is not an easy task as it largely depends on your work environment.

2. Job Difficulty

Despite the fact that both electricians and plumbers are skilled tradespeople, neither of them is easier, but plumbing, perhaps, is a tougher job compared to being an electrician.

Plumbers may face even harsher conditions; for example, they will have to dig to 7 feet underground while the electrician only has to dig to 18 inches.

Plumbers may also be equipped for less than strenuous jobs such as lugging large cast iron bathtubs upstairs without damage occurring.

In contrast, electricians can work in different atmospheres and can often fix mistakes more conveniently, for example, by resetting a breaker.

3. Competence and Knowledge bases

Although both trades demand their own skills and expertise, plumbers have an all-round skill set.

An electrician requires a narrower range of knowledge and skills as compared to a plumber.

They have to understand gravity, ventilation, pressure, heating and cooling systems, gas systems, electrical circuits, pumping, moisture control, fire management, water purification techniques, pH balance, emissions control, combustion, and a variety of mechanical and chemical processes.

Sweating pipe, brazing, welding, threading, and additional skills are also required in plumbers. Plumbers deal with a variety of materials, including copper piping, PEX, ABS, PVC, cast iron, and steel.

On the other hand, electricians mainly require a good knowledge of electricity and electrical systems.

4. Education and Salaries

Electricians and plumbers begin at a high school diploma or equivalent. At the same time, their salaries differ little. In 2021 the median year pay for an electrician is $60,040; however, it is $59,880 for a plumber.

5. Working Opportunities in Career and Flexibility

Electricians have more career opportunities than plumbers who can go from working with high voltage systems to become a field engineer traveling across the country.

An electrician can work as a field engineer, high voltage electrician, or as an industrial plant worker, etc.

6. Constant Learning and Stakes Condition

Learning is highly demanded in the electrical industry due to the regular development of this sector. Electricians are operating with higher stakes since a single error can cause fire or even worse, but plumber’s mistake usually leads only to a mess.

7. Work-Life Balance

Both electricians and plumbers typically work 30-40 hours per week, but an electrician’s schedule may not be confined to standard working hours. Plumbers, often include overtime, weekends, late nights, and shift work due to the nature of their job.

For example, plumbers often receive late-night emergency calls, which require immediate action, similar to a firefighter. 

Final Thought

There are no winners to the debate which profession is easier, as both plumbers and electricians have equally important and challenging roles in the society. Yet plumbing is a harder trade than the task of an electrician.

Plumbers need to control more tasks, use more tools, work in harsher conditions, and possess a broader knowledge base and more skills. The work of an electrician is still hard, and it has its own set of challenges, but day-to-day it is generally an easier trade to be in than plumbing.

Picking a career that you love is smart as when the difficulties come you can handle them easily.

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