Plumbing and Heating Technician

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Job description

Plumbing and Heating Technicians provide plumbing and heating engineering support to operational units at home and abroad.

The Plumbing and Heating Technician job is one of seven Construction Engineering positions involved in the supply of all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services in support of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations worldwide. The primary responsibilities of the Plumbing and Heating Technician are to:

  • Install and maintain interior plumbing systems
  • Install and maintain interior water supply systems
  • Install and maintain heating systems
  • Install and maintain fire suppression systems
  • Install and maintain gaseous fuel systems
  • Install and maintain oil burning equipment
  • Produce related designs and specifications
  • Produce related drawings
  • Install and maintain field ablution facilities


I’m Corporal Peter Bailey from Gibson Woods, Nova Scotia, and I’m a Plumbing and Heating Technician currently posted at CFB Trenton.

And I’m Corporal Kyle Schmidinger, from Bowmanville, Ontario.  I’m a Plumbing and Heating Technician currently posted to CFB Kingston.

SCHMIDINGER: Whether you’re in the Regular Force or the Reserve, being a Plumbing and Heating Technician in the Canadian Armed Forces means doing your work wherever you’re needed, whether on base in Canada or on deployment overseas.

BAILEY: We install and maintain both water supply and drainage systems, and we also work with gas-fired and oil-fired heating systems, as well as low-pressure steam.

SCHMIDINGER: You know, it can be anything from a broken tap to a 12-inch water main in the ground. Usually, those ones are more of an emergency call, not a work order, but big projects like that come up, actually quite often, and they’re a lot of fun to work on.

BAILEY: Here in Canada, Plumbing and Heating Technicians are usually assigned to a base and most of our work involves routine in-house maintenance and construction of new facilities.

SCHMIDINGER: First thing in the morning, we’ll come in, sign for a work order, speak with the supervisor, see if anything happened overnight, like a water main break or a no-heat call, or something like that. We’ll scoop up our tool bags, hop in the van, and go to a job.

BAILEY: I’ve had days where I came in and I had to go fix a water line break at a photo lab. And I’ve had other days where I’ve had to do a scouting report for a new washroom that was going to be built. You’re always doing something different and your hands are always on better and new things.

SCHMIDINGER: It’s definitely nice to be able to go in and work on something, stand back, look at the finished product and be proud of it.

SCHMIDINGER: The motto of the Engineers is we’re the first in and the last out.  So before other troops can do their jobs, we have to set up the camps and provide the basic needs like water and heat to make things as comfortable as possible.

SCHMIDINGER: There’s nothing more fulfilling than being able to deploy somewhere in the world and being able to actually do your job day-in and day-out. It’s a big sense of accomplishment. It’s your job to support the mission that is ongoing.  So whoever is at the pointy end on the deployment, that’s your main focus is to make sure that they have running water and food to eat – all the logistics, everything has to be in place for the mission to be successful.

BAILEY: On large projects, all the trades work together, from the carpenters to the electricians to the plumbers.

BAILEY: You learn other trades: you cross-train. You might go work with a carpenter one day because they need a hand. Guess what? You’re gonna learn. You might go with an electrician one day because he needs help: you’re gonna learn.

SCHMIDINGER: You don’t have to be a qualified Plumber to join us as a Plumbing and Heating Technician. The Canadian Armed Forces will provide all the training you need to become a qualified professional, and they’ll pay you a good salary with great benefits while you’re learning your trade.

SCHMIDINGER: After basic military training, you’ll go to Gagetown, New Brunswick, to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering.

BAILEY: When you complete your course in Gagetown, you’ll be assigned to a Canadian Armed Forces base for some on-the-job experience. That could mean working with the Army, Air Force or Navy.

SCHMIDINGER: You’re always learning something new. So you have to keep your mind open to new ways of doing things.

SCHMIDINGER: We have a good crew of guys and they’re more than willing to help you out if you show that you want to learn, you show the initiative. Then, yeah, there’s definitely guys that will take you under their wing and help you learn the trade.

SCHMIDINGER: You get to work on so many different things and different projects with different people who have lots of knowledge, and I would say that my most memorable thing so far would be, being able to just tap the knowledge of all the people that I work with in the trade.

BAILEY: I got to a point in my life where I really figured out, you know, a job is one thing but a career is another.  So, not until I got in the boots and actually on ground to do things – that’s when it kicked in, that you had a little bit more self-pride, you walked around with more self-esteem. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.  This is a career for me and I don’t plan on looking back.


Working environment

Plumbing and Heating Technicians often work with the challenges that come with varying environmental conditions. Plumbing and Heating Technicians maintain their skills while employed at home units or on humanitarian operational assignments.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully trained Plumbing and Heating Technician is $60,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Plumbing and Heating Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related civilian occupations

  • Plumber
  • Heating Technician
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Civil/Construction)

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Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic occupational qualification training

Plumbing and Heating Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 22 weeks and includes:

  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawings and schematics
  • Brazing and welding techniques
  • Forced hot air heating systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • Interior water and sewage systems
  • Low pressure natural gas fuel systems
  • Chemistry, fluids, heating and mechanics

Specialty training

Plumbing and Heating Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Specialty heating systems
  • Water distribution systems
  • Instructional techniques

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Entry plans

Now hiring: we are now accepting applications for this job through direct entry.

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec, including Grade 10 Academic Math or Math 436 in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Air Force

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Plumbing and Heating Technicians will serve with the Royal Canadian Air Force supporting all three environments. They are employed to provide plumbing and heating engineering support for Forces training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Plumbing and Heating Technicians takes approximately 22 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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