Breaking the Mold: Carey Suitter
Presque Isle, Maine – NMCC plumbing and heating student Carey Suitter is enjoying her lab and coursework because she enjoys working with her hands. In her own words, she calls it, “Turning wrenches and putting stuff together.” Carey says she enrolled in the program because she recognized positive character traits in the people she knew working in the field. After enlisting in the Army National Guard after high school, she worked in various roles around the country before deciding to continue her education at NMCC. While her prior exposure to plumbing was minimal, freshman-student Carey has found the program a great match for her skills and interests.
“Loren is a great instructor. I honestly can’t think of a better person to be teaching plumbing and heating,” Carey said. While some family members and friends were skeptical about the value of her attending college, Carey now recognizes how much she needed to learn to prepare herself for this in-demand profession. “Northern Maine winters are especially tough on plumbing and heating units in homes and businesses – this is important work,” she added. Carey is considering several companies to begin her career after completing the program, including a rapidly growing business near her home.
She notes that the challenges of being a female in this program are no different from the challenges people face when learning something new. “There is a learning curve like anything else,” she says. The advice Carey would give to other females interested in plumbing and heating is to look for opportunities to try it. “See if there are any programs in high school that you can try, or maybe shadow someone who works in that field.”
Carey says that learning more about the fields that interest you is important to help make an informed decision, even if that decision is not immediate. From her experience, she shares, “There’s no shame in going back to college after a long time.” According to her instructor Loren Gordon, Carey’s a hard worker and focused and he has “no doubts she will do great in this field.”
Quick Facts – Plumbing & Heating
- Assemble pipe sections, tubing, or fittings, using couplings, clamps, screws, bolts, cement, plastic solvent, caulking, or soldering, brazing, or welding equipment.
- Locate and mark the position of pipe installations, connections, passage holes, or fixtures in structures, using measuring instruments such as rulers or levels.
- Cut, thread, or hammer pipes to specifications, using tools such as saws, cutting torches, pipe threaders, or pipe benders.
- Comply with all applicable standards, policies, or procedures, such as safety procedures or the maintenance of a clean work area.
- Study blueprints, design specifications, or manufacturers’ recommendations to ascertain the configuration of heating or cooling equipment components and to ensure the proper installation of components.
- Critical Thinking
- Judgment and Decision Making
2021 National Average Pay: $28.79 hourly, $59,880 annual
Projected Job Openings 2021-2031: 48,600
Source: O’NET Online (2022)