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Occupation Information

SOC Code: 47-2151.00

Lay pipe for storm or sanitation sewers, drains, and water mains. Perform any combination of the following tasks: grade trenches or culverts, position pipe, or seal joints.

Sample of reported job titles: Construction Laborer, Equipment Operator, Heavy Equipment Operator, Machine Operator, Pipe Crew Foreman, Pipe Foreman, Pipelayer, Skilled Laborer, Tailman, Waste Water Worker


  • Install or use instruments such as lasers, grade rods, or transit levels.
  • Cut pipes to required lengths.
  • Connect pipe pieces and seal joints, using welding equipment, cement, or glue.
  • Cover pipes with earth or other materials.
  • Install or repair sanitary or stormwater sewer structures or pipe systems.
  • Align and position pipes to prepare them for welding or sealing.
  • Check slopes for conformance to requirements, using levels or lasers.
  • Lay out pipe routes, following written instructions or blueprints and coordinating layouts with supervisors.
  • Operate mechanized equipment, such as pickup trucks, rollers, tandem dump trucks, front-end loaders, or backhoes.
  • Grade or level trench bases, using tamping machines or hand tools.
  • Dig trenches to desired or required depths, by hand or using trenching tools.
  • Tap and drill holes into pipes to introduce auxiliary lines or devices.
  • Locate existing pipes needing repair or replacement, using magnetic or radio indicators.
  • Train or supervise others in laying pipe.

Technology Skills

  • Spreadsheet software
  • Word processing software

Tools Used

  • Air compressors
  • Backhoes - Tractors with backhoe attachments
  • Blocks or pulleys - Block and tackle equipment
  • Blow torch - Cutting torches
  • Boring or sinking machinery - Boring machines; Horizontal boring machines
  • Caulking guns
  • Circuit tracers - Wire tracers
  • Compactors
  • Desktop computers
  • Dewatering pumps - Water removal pumps
  • Diaphragm pumps - Test pumps
  • Drain or pipe cleaning equipment - Pigs; Snakes
  • Dredgers - Dredges
  • Drill press or radial drill - Drill presses
  • Explosimeters
  • Forklifts
  • Gas generators - Generators
  • Graders
  • Hammers
  • Hydraulic truck cranes - Hydraulic cranes
  • Integrated tool carriers - Tractor pipe carrier attachments
  • Jacks - Manual screw jacks; Pipeline jacks
  • Ladders
  • Laser measuring systems - Pipe lasers
  • Laser printers
  • Level sensors or transmitters - Transit levels
  • Levels - Optical levels
  • Liquid leak detectors - Leak detection equipment
  • Manlift or personnel lift - Manlifts
  • Metal detectors - Null locators
  • Metal inert gas welding machine - Metal inert gas MIG welders
  • Mill saw file - Single-cut mill saw files
  • Mud pumps - Sand pumps
  • Notebook computers
  • Offset socket wrenches - Offset socket wrench sets
  • Ohmmeters
  • Personal computers
  • Pipe bending mandrel - Pipe bending mandrels
  • Pipe bending tools - Manual benders
  • Pipe layer - Pipelayers
  • Pipe or tube cutter - Pipe cutting machines
  • Pipe vises - Aligning clamps
  • Pneumatic grinders - Pipe beveling machines
  • Pneumatic hammer - Air hammers
  • Pneumatic sanding machines - Sandblasters
  • Power drills
  • Power grinders - Bevel grinding machines; Motor-driven grinders; Portable grinders; Stationary grinders
  • Power saws - Concrete saws; Reciprocating pipe saws
  • Pressure indicators - Pressure testers
  • Pry bars
  • Scaffolding
  • Sheet metal grooving machine - Roll groovers
  • Shielded metal arc welding or stick welding machine - Shielded arc welding tools
  • Shovels - Narrow mouth shovels; Round point shovels
  • Sledge hammer - Sledgehammers
  • Slings - Belting slings
  • Spot welding machine - Portable welding machines
  • Squares - Combination squares; Framing squares
  • Tampers - Hand tampers; Powered tampers
  • Tapping machine - Tapping machines
  • Threading dies - Pipe threaders
  • Track excavators - Excavators
  • Track loaders - Tractors with loader attachments
  • Trenching machines - Cable plows; Trenchers
  • Tube end finisher - Facing machines
  • Tungsten inert gas welding machine - Tungsten inert gas TIG welding equipment
  • Voltage or current meters - Voltmeters
  • Water pumps - Ditch pumps; Fill pumps
  • Welding masks - Welding hoods
  • Wheel bulldozers - Bulldozers
  • Wheel loaders
  • Winches
  • Wire brushes - Motor-driven brushes


  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.


  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Extent Flexibility - The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.


  • Interest code: R
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Context

  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 99% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 96% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 78% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 82% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 71% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 60% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 68% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity - 54% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 60% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration - 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 51% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 41% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 50% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 48% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 44% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 33% responded “Important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 38% responded “Very important results.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 41% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 44% responded “Every day.”
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment - 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 40% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Telephone - 51% responded “Every day.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Consequence of Error - 38% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions - 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Level of Competition - 36% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 35% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Kneeling, Crouching, Stooping, or Crawling - 31% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection - 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 27% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
71%High school diploma or equivalent
24%Less than high school diploma
4%Professional degree

Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $18.46 hourly, $38,400 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 44,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 5,700

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