Becoming a Female Plumber

Becoming a Female Plumber in a Male-Dominated Industry. 

Plumbing is not just a career for the boys, why do they get to have all the fun (and money). Becoming a female plumber can lead you to many openings in a career you never thought possible. A female plumber is something we don’t hear too much about. This needs to change! Why is is we don’t hear about women in the plumbing industry or let alone in the trades? By becoming a female plumber, anything is achievable.

Why is becoming a female plumber unheard of?

Gender Stereotyping. This is a subject that is coming to light more and more every day. From the school, work, and even politics- it is something women can’t avoid. This is a major problem, especially if it stands in the way of women creating a successful career for themselves. It’s actually a big setback, why can’t women do the same thing a man can? Maybe becoming a female plumber was never hear of because they didn’t promote this career choice to females at the high school job fairs. Chicago women in Trades Executive Director, Jayne Vellinga, said something very similar to this. She stated that the reason for such few women in the trades is because it was not introduced to them at a young age. The ideas of this career were never an idea to young girls growing up. She even goes on to say that she believes in gender stereotyping and that this is a huge factor leaning in on the reason why females do not know about this career choice. Vellinga said, “it’s just not presented as an option to women, either as students or adult students looking for work.” So how do we change this? How do we introduce becoming a female plumber as a career choice to young women?

To ream more about finding hardship when being a women in the industry, check out Anja Smith’s story, “Like my father before me, I am a working (Wo)man.

What can a female plumbing career provide?

 A main reason people work is simply to provide. Provide money, provide values, provide an example- the list goes on and on. As a woman, providing is something we are good at. Whether it be providing as a significant other, a mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter, we provide. But what can this male-dominated industry provide for us? This career can lead women to earn 20-30% more as a licensed professional compared to other careers held by women. This industry can provide work that women can be proud of and earn the wages that they deserve! Being a plumber means you work with the customer directly, which typically is a women/stay at home mom. When you come to think about it, with such a large customer base being women, there should be more females in the industry. The career also provides stability. There is always a need for plumbing and trades, and this job is needed through every season. By becoming a female plumber, you can really enhance the outcome of how your provide and succeed in life. 

Give me the stats!

In this day and age, there can be some worry some statistics when it comes to looking at men vs women in the plumbing industry. It’s stated in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010 that 1.5% of the 553,000 plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters, and steamfitters are women. That’s 10,500 women. That’s it. If we broaden the search to trades as a whole, the only raises the statistic by 1%. We going only 6,000 women by widening the search. Is this because girls simply don’t know about the trade? Or maybe they just don’t know where to begin! (jump right to the bottom of this article if you are a female who’s ready to start her career!)

Are there successful female plumbers?

In this male-dominated industry, there are some women who are shining bright! Even some who have won awards and are well respected in the community. Many are business owners, many are mast plumbers themselves. I would like to say that the list is endless, but there is definitely room for many more.

Lillian Ann Baumbach

Master Plumber

First, we have Lillian Ann Baumbach. Baumbach was the first women in the Unites States to receive her Master Plumber license in 1951. She was just 21 years old at the time, and had the highest scores in her class. Baumbach got into the industry of plumbing at a young age. Her father owned a plumbing business in which Baumbach was a huge part of. She always went on calls with her father, and knew that this was the career path that she wanted to take. 

When Baumbach received her Master Plumber license, her mission was to prove that women could succeed in this industry just like a man could and that she did! Not only was Baumbach a Master Plumber license holder she was also voted to be a military pin-up for an infantry company in Korea. She was also a pin-pal to over 250 men from the US army. She was a true plumbing icon to young women in the US. 

Lillian Ann Baubach|
Erin Swetland Master Plumber |

Erin Swetland

Master Plumber

Erin Swetland first started out as an artist, however did not like being locked away in a studio away from people. When she was in the middle of a bathroom remodel she thought to herself that being a plumber was an art form and thought maybe she could do that too! When she explained this to the male plumber working on her bathroom, he was very encouraging and urged her to pursue the career. After she completed trade school she got an informal interview with a man who owned a plumbing company. When asked why she wanted to become a female plumber, her response was simple, “I want a skill that can’t be outsourced. I want a trade that will be with me forever.” She was hired on the spot! After a few years in the industry, she passed her test to be a Master Plumber! 

Tammy Ferris

Licensed Plumber and Company Owner

Tammy Ferris has been in the trades for over 30 years! She is the proud owner of a Plumbing license as well as the owner of Gene Love Plumbing Air Electrical. Gene Love actually began as a female co-owned company. Ferris is very well respected in the industry and is known for setting the tone of success.  Ferris knows the true meaning behind customer service, this has led her to her great success. She says, “We are guests in every customer home and we want to make a positive impression from the moment we walk in the door.” Her company is also known for donating their time to people and even pets in need. 
This success did not come to Ferris overnight. She actually went to school for business. As she was looking for jobs, she stumbled upon a part-time job as a night dispatcher for Gene Love. This success also didn’t come easily. As a female in the industry, there were some male plumbers at Gene Love who simply did not like to work with her. Tammy didn’t let that bother her though. She even got her journeyman’s plumbing license in the late 80’s to gain credibility with the plumbers. Eventually, they came around and today she is well respected in her position of the company’s president/owner. 
Tammy Ferris |

Become a female plumber today!

Deciding you want to become a female plumber is the first step! Still on the fence on if the trades are right for you? Follow this link to learn more about the pros and cons for college vs. trade school. Like anything, making a decision is hard, especially when choosing a career. If you are ready to take the leap, below are a list of trusted trade schools.


Once you become a licensed female plumber you will be the proud owner of a plumbing license. PHCEid is focused on increasing public awareness that it is ILLEGAL to perform Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical work without the proper licensing and certification. Be sure that your employer is a proud license holder as well and shows their identification marks. To learn more about PHCEid and how to get the marks, visit us at