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How to Get a Plumber's License in the United States

A state-by-state guide

Launching a plumbing business but don’t know where to start? Here’s a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to plumbing licensing requirements in each state.

GoSite Team
42 min read
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The demand for plumbers and trades jobs is still on the rise, and this upward trend is expected to continue for the next ten years.

Plus, a plumbing career is a lucrative choice. Plumbers in the U.S. earn an average starting salary of $59,880 per year, or about $29 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thriving plumbing businesses that serve entire regions and man multiple crews are able to earn six-figure salaries plus benefits.

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How to Get a Plumbers License in the United StatesSource: Thornton & Grooms Plumbing School

Why is it Important to Have a Plumber’s License?

For any business that wants to thrive in the plumbing industry, getting a license is a critical first step. Not only will this get you on the right track, but it will also lead to many opportunities for development and success — and the potential to gain huge profits.

That’s because a plumbing license proves that you have the training, skills, and expertise necessary to complete different types of plumbing repairs and installations. More and more customers also want to hire licensed plumbers to avoid the risks of fraud and poor workmanship.

What Happens If You Operate a Plumbing Business Without a License?

Plumbing regulations differ by state. Some may allow unlicensed plumbers to do simple plumbing jobs.

Most states, however, require a license for people running a plumbing business. By holding a license, a plumbing contractor can bid on projects, hire master plumbers, and apply for the necessary permits for projects.

In some states, plumbing contractors doing business without the appropriate license may face hefty fines and jail time of up to 10 years. In Maryland, for example, those who violate plumbing licensing requirements face fines up to $100 or imprisonment up to six months or both for each day that the violation continues or up to $5,000 for each violation.

What Do You Need to Get a License

Training requirements for plumbers — and the criteria for certification and licensing — vary from state to state. Most states offer three types of plumbing licenses:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman
  • Master

What Do You Need to Get a LicenseSource: Mr. Blue Plumbing and Google Trends

Generally, getting a plumber’s license starts with enrolling in a plumber certification program at a local college or trade school and having in-class and hands-on training. Next is the apprenticeship program — which can take anywhere from two to five years to complete. An apprentice performs limited duties and is supervised by a journeyman or master plumber. Apprenticeship also prepares you for the plumber’s license exam.

Each state has its own requirements for its licensing exam, and these may include proof of work experience, professional recommendations, and character references. After passing the exam, you can market yourself as a licensed journeyman plumber.

If you want to enjoy greater opportunities (commercial contracts, etc.), getting a master plumber’s license is the way to go. You will need a few more years of extensive training and certifications before you can earn the distinction of master plumber.

Most states will also require you to register your plumbing business. As an owner and contractor, you may be asked to pay an application fee and submit information and documents on your plumber’s license, mandated insurance policies, workers’ compensation, surety bond, etc.

Are There Any States that Don’t Require a Plumber’s License?

States that don’t require licensing for plumbers include Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

Are There Any States that Don’t Require a Plumber’s LicenseSource: Workiz

Some local municipalities, however, may have their own requirements and regulations for plumbers, so it’s best to check the rules in your area. Required or not, getting a plumbing license gives you a competitive edge and is crucial to winning more jobs and earning trust with customers.

Launching Your Plumbing Business - States Ranked By Easiest to Hardest

Getting your plumbing business up and running takes time, dedication, and commitment. And as mentioned, the requirements for obtaining a plumbing license vary from state to state, and some are easier to obtain than others. We help you by ranking the states in terms of licensing requirements — from the easiest to the hardest.*

  1. Delaware
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Illinois
  4. Alabama
  5. Alaska
  6. Arkansas
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Arizona
  9. Maryland
  10. Idaho
  11. Indiana
  12. Maine
  13. Louisiana
  14. Rhode Island
  15. Massachusetts
  16. North Dakota
  17. Mississippi
  18. New Jersey
  19. Kentucky
  20. South Carolina
  21. Minnesota
  22. Virginia
  23. Vermont
  24. North Carolina
  25. New Mexico
  26. Wisconsin
  27. Utah
  28. West Virginia
  29. Tennessee
  30. Washington
  31. Connecticut
  32. Ohio
  33. Oklahoma
  34. Texas
  35. Nevada
  36. Montana
  37. Iowa
  38. Hawaii
  39. South Dakota
  40. Georgia
  41. Oregon
  42. Michigan
  43. California
  44. Colorado
  45. Florida

*(Factors considered are: number of hours/ years of experience required; surety bonds, insurance, etc.; states with several or steeper requirements were deemed the hardest.)

How to Get a Plumber’s License, State-by-State Requirements

Alabama

To work as a plumber in Alabama, you must get a plumbing license from the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examination Board.

Apprenticeship:
  • Complete a registration form.
  • Give a copy of your social security card.
  • Pay a $25 initial application fee, plus $10 annually.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least two years of experience as an apprentice under a licensed master plumber or complete a board-approved apprenticeship training program.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay $110 for your journeyman license and $30 for renewal every year.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least one year of experience as a journeyman plumber.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay $160 for the license and $125 for the renewal fee. 

Alaska

Plumbers in Alaska must obtain a license from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The state issues three main types of licenses:

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least 8,000 hours of experience in commercial or residential plumbing work.
Plumber Gas License:
  • Must have at least 4,000 hours of work experience, with at least 2,000 hours of work on fuel and gas piping installation.
Plumber Utility License:
  • Must complete 1,000 hours of experience in installing water, sewer, or storm lines.

All applicants must pass an exam. They must also pay an application fee and submit a notarized application and original notarized letters that prove work experience. These letters may come from employers or an Alaska-based union.

If the license has expired for more than 90 days, the plumber must pay a re-application fee of $50. A re-examination is required if the license has expired for more than two years.

Arizona

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) issues separate plumbing licenses for residential, commercial, and dual — which covers both residential and commercial plumbing work. The requirements for getting a plumber’s license include:

  • Passing a Business Management Exam.
  • Passing a Trade Exam.
  • At least four years of experience in the field. You may substitute a portion of the required years of work experience with plumbing technical training, apprenticeship training, or education.

Aspiring plumbers must submit all their requirements and their original score report to the ROC for processing within two years from the date of passing the exams.

Arkansas

Anyone performing plumbing work in Arkansas must get a license from the Arkansas Department of Health. Exemptions apply only to those who are doing plumbing work on their own home or agricultural buildings.

Apprenticeship:
  • Pay $25 every year to get an apprentice plumber license.
Journeyman Plumber: 
  • Must have at least four years of experience.
  • Pay a $75 exam fee, and a $75 annual licensing fee.
Master Plumber: 
  • Must have at least five years of experience, including one year of working with a journeyman plumbing license.
  • Pay a $125 exam fee and a $200 annual renewal fee.
Plumbing Contractor License:
  • Must pass the ‘Contractor's business and law exam.’

Pre-approval from the board is required before an applicant can take the exam.

California

In California, one can register as a journeyman and work on plumbing projects that are valued at $500 or less. To work on commercial, residential, and public works construction projects worth more than $500, you must get a C-36 contractor’s license from the Contractors State License Board. The requirements for getting this license include:

  • Approval from the board before taking the exams.
  • At least four years experience as a journeyman, foreman or supervisor, contractor, or as owner-builder.
  • Passing a trade exam.
  • Passing a business and law exam.
  • At least $2500 of working capital.
  • Filing a $10,000 bond with the board.

Plumbers in California must renew their licenses every two years.

Colorado

You need to get a license from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies’ State Plumbing Board to work as a plumber in Colorado. The state offers these licenses:

Residential Plumbing License:
  • Must have at least two years of work experience under a master plumber or 3,400 hours of practical plumbing experience.
  • Allows a plumber to perform residential plumbing jobs like installations, repairs, and pipe fittings.
Journeyman Plumbing License:
  • Must have at least four years or 6,800 hours of work experience.
  • Allows a plumber to work on residential and commercial projects — including installation, alteration, repair, and renovation of plumbing fixtures.
Master Plumbing License:
  • Must have at least five years of plumbing work experience.
  • Allows a plumber to perform residential and commercial jobs — including planning, laying out, installing, and repairing plumbing fixtures and equipment — and supervise and train apprentices.
Plumbing Contractor License:
  • Must either be a master plumber or employ a full-time master plumber.
  • Allows a person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, or other organization to bid for various residential and commercial plumbing projects.

Each type of plumbing license has a separate exam. Pre-approval from the board is also required before taking the exam.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, plumbers are required to get Plumbing and Pipefitting licenses from the Department of Consumer Protection.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete a registered apprenticeship program or equivalent training or work experience.
  • Submit the required application documents to the PSI licensure certification (PSI).
  • Pass a trade exam and pay the application fee.
  • Pay a $130 exam fee, and a $120 license fee.
A P-2 Unlimited Journeyman License:
  • allows a plumber to do basic plumbing tasks and work under the supervision of a licensed plumbing contractor.
Plumbing Contractor License:
  • Must have at least two years of documented experience or proof of equivalent experience and training as an unlimited licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Pass a trade exam, a business exam, and a law exam.
  • The Contractor Business and Law examination costs $65, while the license fee is $150 every year.
A P-1 Unlimited Plumbing Contractor License:

Delaware

Plumbing licenses in Delaware are issued by the Division of Professional RegulationBoard of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Examiners. All individuals, corporations, partnerships, or other entities engaging in plumbing projects must have a license. Exemptions apply only to those who will do plumbing work on their own residence or agricultural buildings.

Journeyman Plumbing License:
  • Must complete an apprenticeship program.
  • Submit a Journeyman Certificate.
  • Have at least two years of supervised plumbing experience.
  • Applicants without a journeyman certificate must show proof of at least seven years of plumbing work under the supervision of a licensed plumber and pass the Apprenticeship-By-Pass Exam.
Master Plumbing License:
  • Allows plumbers to install, design, construct, replace, repair, service, and modify plumbing fixtures, pipes, or other similar apparatus for gas or water. 

Florida

To perform any plumbing work in Florida, you must get a license from the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Registered Plumbing License:
  • Must fulfill the competency requirements in the local jurisdiction.
Certified Plumbing Contractor License:
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must show proof of at least four years of plumbing experience.
  • Must provide a credit report and financial statement that is no more than 12 months old.
  • Must have a net worth of $2,500 - $20,000 (depending on classification).

Aspiring plumbers must obtain a minimum of $100,000 in general liability insurance and  $25,000 in property damage insurance.

Georgia

Plumbers in Georgia are required to obtain their licenses from the Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board — Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers.

Journeyman Plumber License:
  • Must have at least three years of work experience and pass an exam.
  • Allows plumbers to install, maintain, alter, and repair plumbing fixtures and systems under the supervision of a Master Plumber.
Master Plumbing License Class 1 (Restricted):
  • Must have a minimum of five years of plumbing experience, including two years as a journeyman plumber.
  • Restricts plumbers to projects involving single-family homes, one-level dwellings for up to two families, and commercial buildings under 10,000 square feet.
Master Plumbing License Class II (Unrestricted):
  • Must have the same level of experience as Class I, but must include commercial and/or industrial plumbing work.
  • Allows plumbers to take on any plumbing project they choose.
All aspiring plumbers must:
  • Pay a non-refundable fee of $30.
  • Get approval from the board before taking the required exam.
  • Submit the application form to the board at least 45 days before the next scheduled exam.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, plumbers are required to get a license from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Professional and Vocational Licensing DivisionBoard of Electricians and Plumbers.

Journey Worker Plumber License:
  • Must have at least five years or about 10,000 hours of plumbing work experience that complies with the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) to qualify for this license.
  • Pass an exam.
Master Plumber License:
  • Must complete two years of work as a licensed journey worker plumber.
  • Pass an exam.

Idaho

You need to get a license from the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses to work as a plumber in Idaho. The Idaho Plumbing license covers unlimited commercial and residential plumbing but does not include fuel gas or boiler systems.

Apprenticeship:
  • Register as an apprentice by completing the registration form and paying a registration fee.
Journeyman:
  • Complete four years of schooling.
  • Must have at least 8,000 hours of experience working under the supervision of a licensed plumber.
  • Pass a trade exam.
  • Pay a $22.50 application fee.
Plumbing Contractor:
  • Must have worked as a journeyman plumber in Idaho for two and a half years.
  • Pass a contractor’s exam and pay the fees.
  • Show proof of bond.
Specialty Plumbing Apprentice:
  • Must be employed and supervised by a licensed specialty contractor with the same specialty category as yours.
  • Must be enrolled in or have completed an approved plumbing training course.
Specialty Plumbing Journeyman:
  • Must have 18 months of apprentice experience.
  • Complete 72 hours of approved training.
  • Pass an exam.
Specialty Plumbing Contractor:
  • Must have two and a half years of experience as a specialty plumbing journeyman in the specialty category you are applying for.
  • Pass an exam.

Illinois

Plumbers in Illinois must obtain their licenses from the Department of Public Health or the City of Chicago.

Apprentice:
  • Must be at least 16 years old.
  • Show proof of sponsorship by an Illinois-licensed plumber. You may show proof of enrollment in an approved apprenticeship program if you don’t have sponsorship.
  • Pass the licensing exam within the maximum apprenticeship period of six years. 
Plumbing Contractor: 
  • Must have at least four years of work experience as a licensed apprentice plumber.
  • Complete at least two years of high school.
  • Complete an approved plumbing course.
  • Pass an exam.

Aspiring plumbers must pay the required fee and complete an application form at least 30 days before the exam date.

Indiana

Plumbing licenses in Indiana are issued by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency — Indiana Plumbing Commission.

Apprentice Certification:
  • Pay an application fee and complete a registration form.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Complete a four-year apprenticeship program.
  • Must have at least four years of plumbing work experience.
  • Pass a written and practical exam.
  • Pay a $30 exam fee and a $15 or $30 license fee, depending on whether you get it in an even or odd-numbered year.
Plumbing Contractor:
  • Complete a four-year apprenticeship program.
  • Must have at least four years of experience working under a licensed plumber.
  • Pass a contractor’s exam.
  • Pay a $50 exam fee and a $50 or $100 license fee, depending on whether you get it in an even or odd-numbered year.

Iowa

To work as a plumber in Iowa, you must get your plumbing license from the Iowa Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board. The board requires applicants to be at least 18 years old to qualify for a plumbing license. Applicants must also have no record of felony convictions related to the profession. Those with felony convictions will be subject to review by the board to determine their eligibility for licensure.

Apprentice:
  • Must complete high school or have a GED equivalent.
  • Must be enrolled in an approved apprenticeship program.
  • Show proof that you are working under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Complete at least four years of practical experience as an apprentice from a registered apprenticeship program.
  • Pass an exam.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least two years of work experience as a licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Pass an exam.
Plumbing Contractor:
  • Must register as a contractor with the Iowa Division of Labor.
  • Show proof of a surety bond and liability insurance.

Applicants must complete an application form and pay a trade test fee of $35 before taking the examination.

Kansas

You do not need a state license to work as a plumber in Kansas. Some local governments and individual communities, however, have their own standards and licensing requirements.

Those who seek to get a plumbing contractor license in Johnson County, Overland Park, Topeka, Wichita, and other nearby regions must:

  • Submit a digital photo.
  • Submit a copy of an ID or driver’s license.
  • Complete an apprenticeship program.
  • Pay the applicable fees.

Aspiring plumbers must also show good standing in the state if they wish to get a business license.

Kentucky

To perform any plumbing work in Kentucky, you need to get a license from the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction — Division of Plumbing. Applicants must be 18 years old and of good character.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have a minimum of four years of experience as an apprentice plumber.
  • Pass a written exam.
Master Plumber:
  • Pass a written exam,
  • Maintain general liability insurance valued at no less than $250,000.
  • Provide proof of workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Plumbing permits in Kentucky may also be issued to licensed plumbers or homeworkers doing plumbing work on properties they own.

Louisiana

Plumbers in Louisiana are required to get their licenses from the State Plumbing Board of Louisiana. You can start as an apprentice at 16.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete an apprenticeship program.
  • Must have at least five years or the equivalent of 8,000 hours of full-time plumbing work experience.
  • Pass a trade exam.
  • A licensed journeyman plumber in Louisiana may only perform plumbing repair work.
Master Plumber:
  • Must hold a journeyman plumbing license or a Louisiana Professional Engineers license.
  • Must have at least five years of plumbing experience.
  • Pass an exam.
  • A licensed master plumber in Louisiana may perform any type of plumbing work in the state.
Commercial Contractor:

Maine

You need to get a license from the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation — Plumbers’ Examining Board to legally perform plumbing work of any kind in Maine.

Trainee Plumber:
  • Must be at least 16 years old.
  • Submit an application to the plumbers’ examining board.
  • Pay a $25 application fee and a $100 licensing fee.
Journeyman in Training:
  • Must pass the journeyman plumber exam.
  • Submit an application to the board.
  • Pay a $25 application fee and a $100 licensing fee.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least 2,000 hours of experience doing plumbing installations as a licensed journeyman in training.
  • Alternatively, you may show proof of at least two years or 4,000 hours of experience doing plumbing installations as a licensed trained plumber.
  • Pass the journeyman plumber exam.
  • Submit your application to the board.
  • Pay a $25 application fee and a $200 licensing fee.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least one year with 2,000 hours of work experience as a licensed journeyman plumber or a minimum of four years with, 8,000 hours of work experience as a trainee plumber.
  • Pass the master plumber exam.
  • Submit an application to the board.
  • Pay a $25 application fee and a $200 licensing fee.

Maryland

In Maryland, plumbers must get their licenses from the Department of Labor — Maryland Board of Plumbing.

Apprentice:
  • Must be at least 16 years old.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least four years of experience as a licensed apprentice plumber and a minimum of 7,500 hours of training under a licensed master plumber.
  • Complete 32 hours of backflow prevention device testing training.
  • Pass a written exam.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least two years of experience as a licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Complete 3,700 hours of training under a licensed master plumber.
  • Pass an exam.

Massachusetts

To perform any plumbing work in Massachusetts, you must get your license from the Division of Occupational Licensure — Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters.

Apprentice:
  • Must complete an online application form.
  • Must be directly employed by a Master Plumber with a current and valid Massachusetts license.
  • If you’re enrolled in a board-approved Vocational Technical High School Program, you may be eligible for education and experience credits towards a higher license.
  • Pay a $14 non-refundable application fee.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete an online application form.
  • Must have at least three years or 8,500 hours of work experience as a licensed apprentice under the supervision of a master plumber.
  • Pass the journeyman plumber exam.
  • Complete 550 hours of plumbing and gas-fitting theory lessons.
  • Pay a $31 application fee and a $52 license fee.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least one year of experience as a licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Complete at least 100 hours of advanced plumbing theory at a state, municipal, or private school approved by the board and accredited by the Massachusetts State Department of Education before being eligible for examination.
  • Pass the master plumber exam.
  • Pay a $31 application fee and a $78 license fee.

Michigan

Plumbing licenses in Michigan are handled by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory AffairsBureau of Construction Codes — Licensing Division.

Aspiring plumbers must be at least 18 years of age and must first register as apprentices.

Journey Plumber:
  • Must have a minimum of three years or 6,000 hours of work experience as an apprentice plumber under the supervision of a licensed master plumber.
  • Complete and submit application forms and documentation
  • Pay the application, licensing, and examination fees.
  • Pass written and practical exams.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least two years or 4,000 hours of work experience as a licensed journey plumber.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay the examination and license fees.
Plumbing Contractor:
  • Only an individual who is a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, an officer of a corporation, or a member of a limited liability company, may apply for licensure as a plumbing contractor.
  • Must hold a master plumber license or be represented by a licensed master plumber.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Pay the licensing and exam fees.
  • Must also provide the following information during the application:
    • A statement listing the complete address of each place where the applicant has resided and has been engaged in business during the last 5 years. This must include the length of time at each residence and the type of businesses engaged in.
    • The name of the business owner, president of the corporation, or a member or manager of the limited liability company and the name of the individual who is applying, if different from the name of the business owner, president, or member or manager and his or her title.
    • The name, residence address, and license number of the licensed master plumber who represents the applicant.

Minnesota

To work as a plumber in Minnesota, you must get your license from the Department of Labor and Industry. Applicants may begin by registering as an apprentice.

Journeyman Plumber
  • Must have at least 7,000 hours of practical plumbing experience over the last four years under the supervision of a licensed plumber.
  • This must include 2,000 hours in water distribution installation, 2,000 hours in drain, vent, and waste system installation, and 1,000 hours in fixture installation.
  • Pass the journeyman plumber license exam.
Master Plumber License:
  • Must have a minimum of five years of practical plumbing experience, with one year as a licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Pass a master plumber license exam.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, residential licenses and commercial contractor licenses are issued by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors.

State contractor licenses are required for residential plumbing projects worth more than $10,000 and commercial plumbing projects worth over $50,000. You will not need a state license if you’re performing plumbing jobs valued at less than these amounts. Local licensing requirements, however, may still apply so it’s best to check with your local jurisdiction.

Plumbing Apprenticeship:
  • Aspiring plumbers in the state are not required to enroll in an apprenticeship program. Still, many trade schools offer apprenticeship-like programs for those who wish to gain more training and experience.
Plumbing Licenses:
  • The requirements for plumbing licenses in Mississippi differ based on whether you’re performing residential or commercial plumbing projects.
  • Get a score of 70% or higher to pass an exam.
  • Pay a $120 exam fee.

Missouri

Missouri does not issue plumbing licenses at the state level, but most cities or counties have their local license requirements. You must get a license if you’re performing plumbing work in cities or towns with a population of 15,000 or more.

Apprentice:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have a high school diploma.
  • Complete an application to register.
  • Additional requirements may vary by city or county.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Must have a minimum of five years of experience as an apprentice under the supervision of a licensed master plumber.
  • Must have practical knowledge of installing plumbing and drainage systems.
Master Plumber:
  • Must be at least 25 years old.
  • Must have a minimum of three years of experience as a licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Must also be skilled in planning, designing, and installing plumbing and drainage facilities.
  • Must be able to direct other people in performing plumbing installations.

Montana

In Montana, plumbers are required to get their licenses from the Department of Labor & IndustryBoard of Plumbers.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have five years and 7,500 hours of plumbing work experience or complete an apprenticeship program that meets the standards set by either the Montana Apprenticeship and Training Bureau or the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship.
  • Get a grade of 70% or higher to pass the written and practical exams.
  • Pay a $270 application fee.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have four years of experience as a licensed journeyman, with three of those years working either as a supervisor or with a licensed master plumber.
  • Must show proof of a total of nine years of experience in the trade through notarized statements or letters.
  • Pass a master plumber exam with a grade of 70% or higher.
  • Pay a $380 application fee.

Nebraska

You do not need a state license to work as a plumber in Nebraska. Plumbing contractors, however, must register with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Aspiring plumbers should also check local licensing requirements in their city or county.

Nevada

Plumbers in Nevada must get their licenses from the Nevada Board of Plumbing Examiners
Those who own a plumbing business or pull permits must obtain a contractor license from the Nevada State Contractors Board.

C-1 Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete four years of a state-registered, accredited apprenticeship or have a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience in the plumbing trade.
  • Pass an exam.
C-1 Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least a year or 2,000 hours of work experience as a journeyman plumber.
  • Must show proof of holding a current and in good standing NBOPE certificate as a Nevada journeyman plumber. 
  • Pass an exam.
C-1D Plumbing Contractor:
  • Must have at least four years of experience as a journeyman or supervisor within the past 10 years.
  • Submit four reference certificates as proof of your work experience
  • Prepare financial statements.
  • Complete a background check.
  • Register your business and get a Nevada Business ID for your application.
  • Pay a $380 one-time non-refundable application fee and other exam fees.

New Hampshire

To work as a plumber in New Hampshire, you must obtain a license from the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC).

Apprentice:
  • Must be 16 years old or older.
  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Registered in an approved apprenticeship program.
  • Pay the initial apprentice registration fee of $90.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Complete a four-year plumbing apprenticeship (8,000 hours of work experience).
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay the initial application fee of $190.
Master Plumber:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a journeyman plumber’s license for at least six months.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay the initial application fee of $130.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, master plumbers must obtain their licenses from the Division of Consumer AffairsState Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers. Meanwhile, apprentice and journeyman plumbers need to register with the state to legally perform plumbing services.

Master Plumber:
  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Must complete a four-year apprentice program.
  • Must have a year of experience as a journeyman plumber.
  • Pass trade, business and law, and practical exams.
  • Hold a $3,000 bond.
  • Pay a $100 initial application fee and a three-year renewal fee of $150.

You can bypass some of the requirements if you have an engineering degree.

New Mexico

Plumbing licenses in New Mexico are issued by the Regulation and Licensing Department.

Apprentice:
  • Must complete 144 classroom hours offered by either a local plumber’s union, community colleges, or special trade school.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete an apprenticeship program.
  • Pass the written and practical exams.
  • Pay the $30 application fee.
Plumbing Contractor:
  • Must have at least four years or 8,000 hours of plumbing experience.
  • Pass a trade exam and a business and law exam.

New York

All plumbers in New York must register with the Secretary of State. New York does not license plumbers at the state level, but cities and counties have strict and varying requirements for licensing. Check with your local government about the specific regulations.

In New York City, for example, master’s licenses are issued by the NYC Department of Buildings.

Journeyman Registration:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be able to read, write, and understand the English language.
  • Must have good moral character.
  • Must meet at least one of the following:
    • Have at least five years of full-time experience performing plumbing work under the direct and continuing supervision of a licensed Master Plumber, where at least one year of experience was in New York City.
    • Have completed a New York State registered training program with one year of experience in New York City.
  • Complete an application form and submit all notarized affidavits as proof of experience.
  • Pay a $50 registration fee.
Master Plumber’s License:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must be able to read, write, and understand the English language.
  • Must have good moral character.
    • Must meet at least one of the following:
      Have at least seven years of plumbing work experience — within the ten years before application — under the direct and continuing supervision of a licensed Master Plumber. At least two years of this required practical experience must be obtained as a Department of Buildings’ registered Journeyman Plumber.
    • Have received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or appropriate engineering technology from a college or university registered by the New York State Department of Education and have had at least five years of total experience — within the seven years before application — under the direct and continuing supervision of a licensed Master Plumber. At least two years of this experience must be in New York City.
    • Be a New York State-licensed professional (Registered Architect or Professional Engineer) and have at least three years of experience — within the five years before application — under the supervision of a licensed Master Plumber. At least one year of this experience must be in New York City.
    • Have experience as an employee of a government agency, private inspection agency, or other entity accepted by the Buildings Commissioner whose duties primarily involve the inspection of plumbing work for compliance with the New York City Plumbing Code
  • Pass a written and practical exam.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Pay a $200 licensing fee.

North Carolina

To perform plumbing work in North Carolina, you must get a license from the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. All residential and commercial plumbing projects that exceed $30,000 require a general contractor license.

The types of licenses in the state include:

  • Class I plumbing license: for plumbing work on residential, commercial, and industrial piping systems.
  • Class II plumbing license: for plumbing work on residential single-family dwellings.
  • Restricted Limited Plumbing Contractor (RLP) license: for plumbing work on exterior building pipings and systems.

Licensing requirements:

  • Must have at least two years of plumbing experience, with at least one year of experience in plumbing design, layout, and installation.
  • Complete an application.
  • Get pre-approval from the board.
  • Pass business, law, and trade exams.

North Dakota

Plumbers in North Dakota must get their licenses from the North Dakota State Plumbing Board.

Apprentice:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Register with the board within 30 days of starting apprentice training via a trade school or under the supervision of a master plumber.
  • Pay a license fee of $20 to $75, depending on the year of training.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least four years of experience as an apprentice plumber.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Pay a $100 application fee, and a $75 license fee.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least two years or 3,400 hours of work experience as a journeyman plumber under the supervision of a licensed master plumber.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Pay a $200 application fee, and a $165 license fee.

Journeyman and master plumbers in North Dakota must also get a general contractor’s license from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office.

Ohio

Ohio does not require state licenses for journeypersons or master plumbers. Commercial plumbing contractors, however, must get their licenses from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board. You must also check with local jurisdictions for additional registration or licensing requirements.

Plumbing contractor license:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have at least five years of plumbing work experience or three years of experience in the construction industry as a registered engineer.
  • Complete a background check and get approval from the board.
  • Pass exams.
  • Pay a $25 licensing fee.
  • Have at least $500,000 in contractor liability insurance.

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, plumbers must get their licenses from the Constructions Industries Board. Some local governments may also require additional requirements.

Apprentice:
  • Must be at least 16 years old.
  • Register with the state.
  • Work under the supervision of a journeyman or plumbing contractor.
Journeyman:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have at least three years of experience under the supervision of a plumbing contractor.
    • May complete 500 hours of an approved plumbing school program to substitute for one year of experience.
    • May complete at least 1,000 hours of an approved plumbing program to substitute for two years of experience.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay a $75 application fee.
Contractor:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have at least four years of experience in the trade, with one year of experience as a licensed journeyman.
    • May complete 500 hours of an approved plumbing school program to substitute for one year of experience.
    • May complete at least 1,000 hours of an approved plumbing program to substitute for two years of experience.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay a $330  application fee.
  • Show proof of a $5,000 Corporate Surety Bond.
  • Have a minimum of $50,000 commercial general liability insurance.

Oregon

In Oregon, journeypersons must get their plumbing license from the Building Codes Division. Plumbing contractor licenses, meanwhile, are issued by the Construction Contractors Board.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete a registered four-year apprenticeship program.
    Alternatively, you may:
  • Show proof of at least 576 hours of in-class training, 3,850 hours of commercial plumbing experience, and 3,850 hours of residential plumbing experience as an apprentice or journeyman.
  • Show proof of 7,700 hours of commercial plumbing experience and 7,700 hours of residential plumbing experience.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay the required fees.
CCB License for Plumbing Contractors:
  • Complete a 16-hour pre-license training and pass an exam.
  • File your business information with the Oregon Secretary of State, Corporation Division.
  • Submit a CCB surety bond.
  • Show proof of general liability insurance.
  • Show proof of workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Apply and pay a $325 fee for a two-year license​.

Pennsylvania

Plumbers in Pennsylvania are not required to get state licenses. But local governments may have their own licensing requirements which may include:

Journeyman:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have an apprentice plumber license and complete three to four years of employment with a registered master plumber.
  • Pass the exam and pay the required fees.
Master Plumber:
  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Complete a state-approved apprenticeship program.
  • Have at least two years of experience as a journeyman plumber.
  • Pass the exam and pay the required fees.

Rhode Island

To work as a plumber in Rhode Island, you must get a license from the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) — Plumbers and Irrigators.

Apprentice:
Journeyman:
  • Must have at least four years of plumbing work experience.
  • Must complete 576 hours of classroom instruction approved by the DLT.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Pay a $75 filing fee and a $72 license fee.
Master Plumber
  • Must have a minimum of five years of plumbing experience, with at least a year of being a licensed journeyman plumber.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Pay a $75 non-refundable application filing fee, as well as a $240 license fee.

South Carolina

You need either a residential or commercial license from the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to work as a plumber in South Carolina. Residential licenses are issued by the Residential Builders Commission, while commercial licenses are issued by the Contractor’s Licensing Board.

Residential Plumber:
  • Must have at least one year of hands-on plumbing experience within the last five years.
  • Pass a business and law exam.
  • Pass a trade exam.
  • Allows plumbers to work on residential plumbing projects that exceed $200.
Commercial Plumber
  • Must have at least two years of hands-on plumbing experience.
  • Pass the exams.
  • Show proof of a $10,000 surety bond.
  • Allows plumbers to bid on commercial, residential, and public works construction projects that exceed $5,000.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, plumbers must get their license from the Department of Labor and Regulation — Plumbing Commission.

Apprentice:
  • Complete an application and give details about the plumber you’ll be working for.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Pay a $10 application fee.
  • Apprentice plumbers with two years or 3,800 of experience working for a plumbing contractor may be able to perform projects unsupervised in their third and fourth years, but only on single-family dwellings.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least four years of experience as an apprentice plumber.
  • Must have spent at least 1,900 hours per year during these four years as an apprentice. 
    You may substitute two years of military plumbing for one year of experience, up to a maximum of five years.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Complete the application and pay a $205 exam and license fee.
Plumbing Contractor:
  • Must have at least six years of experience as a plumbing contractor, plumber, or plumber's apprentice with at least two of those years as a plumbing contractor or plumber.
  • Must have spent at least 1,900 hours per year during these six years as a plumbing contractor, plumber, or plumber's apprentice.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Complete the application and pay a $375 exam and license fee.

Tennessee

Tennessee offers state and local licenses. State-level licenses are issued by the Department of Commerce and Insurance — Board for Licensing Contractors. Local jurisdictions may require journeyman and master plumbing licenses, depending on the value and type of plumbing work.

Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP):
  • Required for plumbing projects that do not exceed $25,000 and are not covered by any other local regulations.
  • Pass an exam and pay the application and licensing fees.
Plumbing Contractor (CMC or CMC-A):
  • Required for plumbing projects that are valued at more than $25,000.
  • Must have at least three years of plumbing experience.
  • Get pre-approval from the board.
  • Pass the business and law and trade exams.
  • Show proof of general liability insurance.
  • Provide financial statements.

Texas

Plumbers in Texas must get their licenses from the State Board of Plumbing Examiners.

Apprentice Registration:
  • Must be at least 16 years old.
  • Complete the application and pay a $15 fee.
Tradesman Plumber-Limited:
  • Must be registered as a plumber’s apprentice in Texas or hold a current journeyman plumber or master plumber license in another state.
  • Must have at least two years or 4,000 hours of plumbing work experience.
  • Must complete a board-approved 24-hour training course* or an approved apprenticeship program.
  • Complete an application, submit supporting documents, and pay a $36 fee.

*If you hold a Journeyman or Master Plumber License issued in another state, you do not have to complete the 24-hour training program.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must either be currently registered as a plumber’s apprentice, currently licensed as tradesman plumber-limited in Texas, or currently licensed as a journeyman plumber or master plumber in another state;
  • Must have at least four years or 8,000 hours of experience in the trade.
  • Must complete a board-approved 48-hour training course* or an approved apprenticeship program.
  • Complete an application, submit supporting documents, and pay a $40 fee.

*If you hold a Journeyman or Master Plumber License issued by another state, you do not have to complete the 48-hour training program.

Master Plumber:
  • Must have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED).
  • Must be currently licensed as:
    • a journeyman plumber in Texas or another state and have held your license for at least four years;
    • a journeyman plumber in Texas or another state, have held your license for at least one year, and have completed an approved training program.
    • a master plumber in another state and previously held a journeyman plumber license for at least four years;
    • a master plumber in another state, previously held a journeyman plumber license for at least one year, and completed an approved training program.
  • Complete an application, submit supporting documents, and pay a $175 fee.

Utah

To work as a plumber in Utah, you must get your license from the Department of Commerce — Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL).

Journeyman:
  • Must have at least four years or 8,000 hours of training as a licensed apprentice.
  • 6,000 hours of those 8,000 apprentice training hours must be completed in not less than four years.
  • Pass the exam and pay the required fees.
  • Show proof of the final 2,000 hours of training to get the license.
  • Alternatively, you can complete at least eight years or 16,000 hours of plumbing experience under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master plumber.
Residential Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete an approved apprenticeship program and have at least 6,000 hours of apprentice training in not less than three years.
  • Pass the exam and pay the required fees.
  • Alternatively, you may show proof of at least six years or 12,000 hours of plumbing work experience under the supervision of a licensed plumber.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least two years of experience as a licensed journeyman plumber and at least two years of experience as a journeyman plumber supervisor.
  • Pass an exam and pay the required fees.
Residential Master Plumber
  • Must have at least two years of experience as a licensed residential journeyman plumber and at least two years of experience as a residential journeyman plumber supervisor.
  • Pass an exam and pay the required fees.

Vermont

Plumbing licenses in Vermont are issued by the Department of Public Safety — Division of Fire Safety.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete an application and have at least one of the following:
    • Certificate of completion from the Vermont State Apprenticeship Council.
    • Certified letter of licensure from another state, including proof of completing an apprenticeship program or training and 8,000 hours of experience.
    • Proof of board-approved plumbing lessons or training, with at least 12,000 hours of on-the-job experience.
  • Pass an exam and pay a $90 application fee.
Master Plumber:
  • Must complete an application and have at least one of the following:
    • Proof of holding a Vermont journeyman license for at least one year.
    • Proof of license at the same level as a Vermont journeyman in another state for at least one year, including 12,000 hours of plumbing experience.
    • Proof of board-approved plumbing lessons or training, with at least 14,000 hours of on-the-job experience.
  • Pass an exam and pay a $120 application fee.

Virginia

In Virginia, plumbers must get their licenses from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. To qualify for each type of license, you must have a combination of formal education and practical experience.

Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have at least one of the following:
    • One year of experience in the trade and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a recognized institution.
    • Two years of plumbing work experience and a degree or certificate that proves you completed a two-year program at a trade school or community college.
    • Four years of practical plumbing experience and 240 hours of formal plumbing training.
    • Five years of practical experience and 160 hours of formal plumbing training.
    • Six years of practical experience and 80 hours of formal plumbing training.
    • 10 years of hands-on plumbing experience and an affidavit that proves it.
    • Plass a trade exam and a statutory and regulatory exam.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least one of the following:
    • One year of experience as a licensed Virginia journeyman plumber.
    • Ten years of practical plumbing experience and an affidavit that proves it.

Washington

In Washington, plumbers must get their licenses from the State Department of Labor and Industries. The Plumber Certification Program certifies all plumbing professionals.

Plumber Trainee:
Journey-level plumber (PL01)
  • Must have at least four years or 8,000 hours of experience as a plumber trainee under the supervision of a certified journey-level plumber. Half of this time, or at least 4,000 hours, must be spent working in commercial or industrial plumbing installations.
  • Must pass an exam with a grade of 70% or higher.
Specialty Residential Plumber (PL02)
  • Must have at least three years or 6,000 hours of experience as a residential plumber under the supervision of a certified residential or journey-level plumber.
  • Limited to installation, maintenance, and repair of plumbing in single-family dwellings, duplexes, and apartment buildings that do not exceed three stories.

West Virginia

To work as a plumber in West Virginia, you must get your license from the Division of Labor.

Plumber in Training:
  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must work under a licensed the supervision of a licensed journeyman plumber or master plumber.
  • Pay the initial certification fee of $25.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must have a minimum of 8,000 hours of plumbing experience.
  • Must prove competence in supervising a plumber in training.
  • Pass a licensing exam with a score of at least 70%.
  • Pay the initial certification fee of $75.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have a minimum of 12,000 hours of plumbing experience.
  • Must prove competence in designing plumbing systems and supervising journeyman plumbers and plumbers in training.
  • Pass a licensing exam with a score of at least 70%. The master plumber written examination may not be taken until one year after passing the journeyman plumber exam.
  • Pay the initial certification fee of $75.

Wisconsin

Plumbers in Wisconsin get their licenses from the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Plumbing Apprentice Registration:
  • Must be enrolled in a recognized plumbing apprenticeship program.
  • Provide a copy of the apprenticeship contract or proof of plumbing indentureship from the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards.
  • Pay a $15 application fee and a $15 credential fee.
Journeyman Plumber:
  • Must complete a recognized plumbing apprenticeship program.
  • Provide a copy of the letter from the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standard to prove completion of the apprenticeship.
  • Pass an exam.
  • Pay a $10 application fee and a $20 exam fee.
Master Plumber:
  • Must have at least one of the following:
    • A minimum of 1,000 hours or three years of experience as a licensed Wisconsin journeyman plumber.
    • A university or college degree in a related field such as civil engineering or mechanical engineering.
  • Pass a licensing exam.
  • Pay a $20 application fee and a $30 exam fee.

Wyoming

Wyoming does not issue licenses at the state level. Local jurisdictions, however, have their own specific requirements — experience and formal training — for getting apprentice, journeyman, and master plumber licenses.

Conclusion

Becoming a licensed plumber in your state comes with powerful benefits — whether you’re planning to work in residential, commercial, or industrial construction. Fulfill the licensing requirements to start growing your plumbing career or business.

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