Plumbers lay out, install, test and maintain pipes, fixtures, metal roofing, fittings, gas meters and regulators.

Where plumbers are employed

The industry is dominated by small firms and self-employed tradespeople. Plumbers may also work for federal or state and territory government departments concerned with public works. Plumbers are involved in everything from domestic maintenance to high-rise construction.

Demand is linked with activity in the construction industry. However, unlike other building trades, downturns in building activity have less effect on plumbers because of the work available in renovation and maintenance. Demand is also more stable because, by law, certain jobs must be performed by plumbers.


Full-time plumbers in South Australia generally earn between $1,000 and $1,249 per week

Graph of pay scale for plumber

Job prospects

In 2011 there were 3,745 people employed full-time as plumbers in South Australia, compared with 3,208 in 2006.

How to become one

To become a plumber you usually have to complete an apprenticeship in plumbing or roof plumbing. Entry requirements may vary, but employers require year 10 as a minimum. Ask your career adviser about starting this training at school.

See courses related to this occupation.

Competition is strong for available apprenticeship positions. For more information see apprenticeships

With further training and experience, plumbers can become technical and sales representatives, building supervisors, building and construction managers, plumbing inspectors, hydraulics consultants, technical teachers, estimators, building contract administrators or purchasing officers, or start their own business.

Licensing or registration requirements

In South Australia all plumbers must hold a current Plumbing Workers Licence issued by Consumer and Business Services (CBS).

Employers require a minimum of a Certificate III in Plumbing or a trade certificate.

Recognition of skills related work experience and qualifications obtained outside Australia

If you have extensive local trade experience but no formal qualifications or an overseas gained trade qualification you must undertake a recognition process before seeking a license.

There are many recognition pathways available for both local work experienced trades people and an overseas trained plumber which is dependent on individual circumstances. Pathways include:

  • Engage with a Registered Training organisation to undertake recognition of prior learning and gap training.
  • Complete a fast-tracked adult apprenticeship.

Further gap training may be required after any recognition process to meet qualification and licensing requirements.

 If you have migrated with an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR) you can automatically apply for a restricted workers registration issued by CBS which will allow you to work under direct supervision. You will still be required to undertake a recognition pathway to seek formal recognition of your trade skills for employment purposes and to access trade licensing.

For information about assessment of overseas qualifications, and looking for work in Australia visit Recognition of overseas qualifications or contact Skilled Arrival Services on 08 8303 2420 or email

Useful links


Career information has been sourced from government publications, see data sources for more information.

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