Career Profile: Gas Fitter
In a cold country like Canada, all buildings need heating in winter. Air conditioning in summer also helps to make life more comfortable. Gasfitters help to bring both heating and cooling to buildings, making it possible for people to work and live comfortably, no matter what the weather is like. If you like working with your hands and putting things together, this might be the job for you.
Gasfitters work closely with the construction industry. They might work mainly on commercial buildings like stores and offices or mainly on people’s houses, or a combination of both. They read blueprints, cut pipes to the right lengths, and install them in all parts of the building. Working with furnaces and industrial boilers is also a common part of the job. Gasfitters need to know what type of pipe to use in each situation and to maintain and repair pipes.
Besides working with pipes inside the walls of buildings, gasfitters often work with a variety of machines and appliances. Stoves, clothes dryers, barbecues, and space heaters can all be part of a gas fitter’s work. Sometimes, gas fitters help to convert appliances or even vehicles to different fuels. Suppose that someone wanted to change a stove from electric power to gas or a car from gasoline to vegetable oil fuel. A gasfitter could help with that.
Working as a gasfitter involves working with a variety of tools. Welding or using power tools is a regular part of the job, and many gasfitters need to know how to use jackhammers and other tools like saws and drills. Having a certain amount of strength and manual dexterity is important, especially since accidents can easily happen when people use these kinds of tools.
Gasfitters generally fall into two categories. In most areas of Canada, first class gasfitters need at least a grade 9 education and either need to pass an entrance exam or already have their second-class qualifications. They usually train for three twelve-month periods and have at least 4500 hours of on-the-job training.
Second class gasfitters are normally certified plumbers, steamfitters, or pipefitters. They need two twelve-month periods of classroom training and also three thousand hours on the job. In Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, the Northwest Territories, and the Yukon, second class gasfitters also need certification. For all gasfitters, a two- or three-year apprenticeship is useful and might be required for some employers.
Many different colleges and technical institutes offer training in gasfitting. Algonquin College in Ottawa, Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon and elsewhere, the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology are only a few of the places where students can lean how to be a gasfitter.
Accuracy is very important in this type of job, since a small mistake could end up poisoning people or causing an explosion. Sometime the work hours can be long, but the work can be unpredictable. Summer is normally the busiest time for gasfitters because most construction happens then, but repairs can happen at any time of the year. Salaries start at about $15 per hour and can rise to more than $37 per hour, or $32,000-81,000 per year.
If you enjoy working with your hands and helping others on large projects, the job of gasfitter might be right for you.
Careers in Construction. “Gasfitter.” http://www.careersinconstruction.ca/en/career/gasfitter.
Georgian College of Applied Arts and Technology. “Gas Technician.” https://www.georgiancollege.ca/academics/full-time-programs/gas-technician-gast/.
Payscale Canada. “Gas Fitter.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Gas_Fitter/Hourly_Rate.
Trade Secrets Alberta. “Gasfitter Class A.” https://tradesecrets.alberta.ca/trades-occupations/profiles/0081/.