Should I Become an Electrician or a Plumber?

While electricians and plumbers do a completely different type of work, both of these UK tradesmen share one common thing: They’re in high demand. If you’re tossing around the idea of becoming either an electrician or a plumber, you might not know which career path to take.

There’s little doubt that both electricians and plumbers will continue being in high demand far into the future. So which way should you go? To help you make the big decision, here’s some info that covers the most important aspects of both career choices.

Training to Become an Electrician

It’s not easy working with electricity and there’s much to learn in order to become an electrician. To get started on this career path, you’ll have to attend many courses and undergo an apprenticeship. In the UK, an apprenticeship has long traditionally been the most popular pathway to becoming a fully trained electrician.

People who take part in electrician apprenticeships work alongside licensed electricians while studying theory. It typically takes 2 to 4 years to complete the apprenticeship and coursework before becoming a licensed electrician.

Services Offered by Electricians

Qualified electricians can:

  • Plan, install, and repair power and lighting systems
  • Install security systems and fire protection systems
  • Install and repair telephone and data systems
  • Install and repair USB power points and regular power points
  • Repair electrical appliances

Training to Become a Plumber

Becoming a plumber typically involves completing a 4-year long plumbing apprenticeship. During this time, you’ll work out in the field, learning the skills needed to carry out an array of plumbing tasks. During your apprenticeship, you’ll also study plumbing theory. The last year of your training is spent learning how to install and service domestic heating systems.

Services Offered by UK Plumbers

Qualified electricians in the UK can:

  • Install, repair, and service hot & cold water systems
  • Install, repair, and service heating systems
  • Install, repair, and service drainage networks

Earning Potential


The average domestic electrician salary in the UK is £32,000 per year, making it one of the most lucrative trades of all. With more training, electricians can earn even more by specialising in one area of expertise or by setting up their own businesses.


Newly qualified plumbers can expect to earn between £17,000 and £21,000 per year. Those with more experience earn even more. Plumbers specialising in heat and gas and those certified as Gas Safe can easily earn well over £40,000 each year. When broken down to an hourly rate, the average salary for a plumber is £16.69 per hour, per the latest figures from Indeed.

While both electricians and plumbers enjoy earning a high salary, electricians enjoy making more money than plumbers. If you can’t decide whether to become an electrician or a plumber, the higher-earning potential for electricians may be the deal-breaker you need. Whichever pathway you choose, you’re sure to enjoy a rewarding and lucrative career working as a plumber or electrician in the UK!