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Does it Pay to Plumb? A Comparison of Plumbing Jobs in 12 Cities Across the U.S.

With the trade labor shortage our country is facing, we need new plumbers now more than ever. Going to trade school can be a good deal for anyone who wants to skip major student loans, and, unlike other areas of study, trade apprentices often get paid as they learn. Are you thinking about becoming a plumber? Or are you a plumber looking to move to a new town?

We checked out the average plumber salary and the average apprentice wage in twelve cities across the United States, along with population size and the cost of living. Check out our list before packing up and starting fresh!

Indianapolis, Indiana

plumbing jobs indianapolis

Home to the Indy 500, the capital of Indiana is a smaller alternative to Chicago for anyone wanting to live in the upper region of the Midwest. Of all the cities on our list, Indianapolis is one of the best places for anyone craving a bit of urban flavor while keeping apartment rent relatively low.

  • Population: 872,680
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $878/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $55,187/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $15.85/hr

Topeka, Kansas

The capital of Kansas, Topeka is the least expensive city to live in on our list. The meaning of Topeka is from Kansa-Osage origin and means “place where we dug potatoes.” It may not be the most exciting city in the country, but it’s a good blend of city-meets-rural living if that’s what you’re after.

  • Population: 126,587
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost:  $679/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $52,900/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $13.96/hr

Spokane, Washington

plumbing jobs spokane

Located in Washington, Spokane is close to the beautiful scenery and nature for which the northwest is known. It’s within a 1-hour drive of 76 lakes and has the second largest urban waterfall in the United States. The apartment rent is a bit higher here than Indianapolis and Topeka, but still affordable with the average salary.

  • Population: 217,108
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $1,023/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $56,034/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $14.10/hr

Waco, Texas

plumbing jobs waco

Waco has gained recent popularity in the housing industry with the HGTV show Fixer Upper. Located in central Texas, it’s the warmest city so far on our list. Rent is relatively low compared to other cities, and the average plumbing apprentice wage is relatively high, so it’s a great place for young residents.

  • Population: 136,436
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $969/mo
  • Avg. Plumbing Salary: $51,384 /yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $15.43/hr

Phoenix, Arizona

plumbing jobs phoenix

Known as the “Valley of the Sun,” Phoenix is in the desert and the fifth most populous city in the country. It can be very hot, so if you’re opposed to cold weather, this is the place to be. There’s a lot to do in Phoenix, from city life to nature nearby. Supplying water is especially important in the desert, so you’ll know that the work you’re doing really matters.

  • Population: 1.626 million
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $1,085/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary:  $55,972/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $18.51/hr

San Francisco, California

plumbing jobs san francisco

San Francisco is known as one of the most expensive places to live, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and vibrant. Arts and culture abound, and the temperatures are pleasantly cool year-round. While the apartment rent is high, so is the salary and the apprentice wage. San Francisco is a good option if you’re looking to live with a group of friends.

  • Population: 884,363
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $3,706/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $70,777/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $27.70/hr

Concord, Massachusetts

plumbing jobs boston

Concord is a beautiful northeastern town. It’s expensive, but full of culture and pretty streets. It’s also near Boston and rich with Revolutionary War history, so you just might come across historical plumbing fixtures on the job. Known for safety, Concord is a good place to move with the family. 

  • Population: 17,669
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $2,563/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary:  $61,457/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $17.54/hr

Raleigh, North Carolina

plumbing jobs raleigh

SUPPLY.com is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, so we’re partial to the south. Nestled in the mountains, Raleigh features bluegrass music and beer galore. According to livability.com, it’s the second best city to live in the country (after Boise, Idaho).

  • Population: 464,758
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $1,208/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary:  $54,193/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $14.01/hr

New York, New York

plumbing jobs nyc

While many dream of going to New York City to make it big and end up working in a job not related to their passion, a plumber is in a good spot – you’ll be able to work in the job you’re trained for while living in the Big Apple. Rent is pricey but the raised salary will help, though roommates may still be a must. In a city with so many buildings, there will always be a plumbing problem to solve. 

  • Population: 8.623 million
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $3,519/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $67,120/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $16.25/hr

Nashville, Tennessee

plumbing jobs nashville

Another Southern city, Nashville has been up and coming among young folks for awhile now. Nashville is full of live music, good food, and college football. Nashville is the best East Coast option for big-city feel on a budget that isn’t NYC-level.

  • Population: 691,243
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $1,405/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $52,382/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $12.91/hr

New Orleans, Louisiana

plumbing jobs new orleans

New Orleans is one of the most unique places in the US, known for jazz, jambalaya, and nightlife on Bourbon Street. Aside from the tourist attractions, it’s a relatively inexpensive city to live in with a decent salary for a plumber.

  • Population: 393,292
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $1,170/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $56,076/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $15.36/hr

Denver, Colorado

plumbing jobs denver

Denver is another city that has been on the rise recently, and for good reason. With the economy and people moving in, you won’t need to worry about where your next plumbing job is coming from. Denver has a great cultural scene, nearby nature, and a range of seasons (the moderate summers are especially nice). 

  • Population: 619,968
  • Avg. Apartment Rent Cost: $1,673/mo
  • Avg. Plumber Salary: $59,994/yr
  • Avg. Apprentice Wage: $21.68/hr

No matter where you choose to live, plumbing can lead to a profitable career in the U.S. Keep in mind some external factors that may affect your career: cold weather sometimes involves different plumbing solutions, union options vary by state, and water and code regulations depend on your area. We salute you on your journey to becoming an apprentice or starting your life in a new city!

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