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Best and Worst States for a Plumbing Career

So you want to get a job as a plumber, and you’re wondering which is the best state for a plumbing career. Well, you probably don’t want to start your search in a small town of forty homes that already has two plumbers working there. But how do you choose the best state for plumbing jobs? Let’s try to figure that out by taking a look at the relevant plumbing job data by state.

First we will look at the states with the highest average salary per year. It may surprise you to learn that Alaska tops the list.

States with the Highest and Lowest Salary for Plumbers

Highest                                 Lowest

Alaska          $74,700              Mississippi     $35,600

Illinois         $69,600              Oklahoma      $37,000

Wisconsin   $67,500              Florida            $37,000

Oregon        $67,000              S. Carolina     $37,400

New York   $66,800               Arkansas        $38,600

This list gives you a sense of the disparity that there is between states for wages in the plumbing industry; but before you load up your van in Mississippi and move to Alaska we better take a look at some other factors such as cost of living and the construction and plumber job outlook.

Other Factors

The U.S. national average projected job growth in plumbing over the next ten years is +21%.

Next we looked at the predicted job growth over the next 10 years by state. Arizona led the way with a whopping 48% growth expected over the next ten years.

Then we looked at all 50 states’ livability index. This factors in state taxes, cost of living, wages and unemployment, and the workplace & living environment rankings. Washington ranked number one here.

We assigned a number value for each category and added them up, the lower the score the better. Here are the results for the best and worst state for a plumbing career:

5 Best States for a Plumbing Career

State               Mean Wage  Job Outlook  Livability   Total

Minnesota             6                     2                      6              14
Missouri                9                     7                     14             30
Utah                     21                     3                       8             32
Wisconsin             3                     6                     25             34
Indiana                 17                     5                      15             37

5 Worst States for a Plumbing Career

State               Mean Wage  Job Outlook  Livability   Total

Mississippi          50                   44                    49           143
W. Virginia          44                   47                    44           135
S. Dakota             47                   40                     41           128
Maine                   35                  46                     40           121
Arkansas              48                  39                     31            118

Our analysis suggests the Midwest could be the best overall place to go for plumbing jobs and quality of living. If you live in one of the less attractive states, a plumbing career could still be pretty good if you are willing to relocate to one of the states with a better outlook.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook (April 2013)

Career Info Net (June 2014)

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