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How To Become A Licensed Plumber  | Cloodot
How To Become A Licensed Plumber  | Cloodot
How To Become A Licensed Plumber  | Cloodot

How To Become A Licensed Plumber


Published on October 9, 2023

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Are you eager to elevate your plumbing career? Discover the path to becoming a licensed plumber by achieving the perfect blend of hands-on experience and formal education.

In this guide, we will dissect the prerequisites for obtaining a plumbing license, outline the essential steps to follow, how long it takes to become a plumber, and shed light on the diverse range of tasks you can expect to undertake in this profession.

What is a plumbing license? 

A plumbing license is an official certification that authorizes a technician to perform tasks such as repairing, installing, or maintaining plumbing systems. Obtaining a plumbing license signifies that the plumber has fulfilled the necessary qualifications and successfully passed the required examinations, enabling them to legally operate within their specific city or county.

What are the types of certifications for obtaining a plumbing license 

Various plumbing certifications are accessible, with their specific designations contingent upon state and regional regulations. Typically, states provide three primary levels of plumbing licenses: apprentice, journeyman, and master, each delineating the scope of work one can undertake.

  • Apprentice: This level permits individuals to carry out restricted plumbing tasks while working under the guidance of a journeyman or master plumber.

  • Journeyman: An entry-level license enabling individuals to work independently within the field, but still under the oversight of a master plumber.

  • Master: The highest tier of licensure empowers individuals to supervise journeymen, secure permits for plumbing projects, and even operate their plumbing businesses.

How to get a plumbing license 

To obtain a plumbing license, follow these steps on your journey:

Step 1: Determine your plumbing specialisation

Before embarking on this path, it's essential to decide on your preferred plumbing specialisation. Ask yourself:

  • Are you interested in commercial or residential plumbing?

  • Do you want to focus on service plumbing or new construction?

  • Are you considering joining a plumbing union or working independently?

  • Ultimately, do you prefer building or repairing plumbing systems?

While your decision isn't set in stone, conducting research and gaining insight into both branches of plumbing can help you make an informed choice. Having a general sense of your preferences can streamline your path and lead you to find your niche within the field.

Step 2: Fulfill Your Educational Requirements

While a college or advanced degree is not mandatory, you must have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Ideally, your education should include a foundation in subjects like mathematics, physics, and computer science. Some technical schools offer specialised plumbing education covering topics such as welding and plumbing system design. However, many individuals enter the plumbing profession through apprenticeship programs.

Step 3: Begin Your Apprenticeship

The traditional path towards obtaining a plumbing license typically commences with an apprenticeship. This hands-on, earn-while-you-learn program typically lasts from two to four years and is often offered by local union chapters, trade schools, or plumbing businesses. As an apprentice, you start with a salary set at 45% of the minimum wage for a licensed plumber, with a yearly increment of 10%. To qualify for an apprenticeship, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old

  • Hold a GED or high school diploma

  • Pass a drug test

  • Pass an entrance examination

An apprenticeship involves practical training at job sites, where you learn various daily tasks and gain technical instruction. You become familiar with the essential tools of the trade and may also gain insights into the business and marketing aspects of plumbing. Additionally, as an apprentice, you are required to take courses covering a range of subjects, including state codes, blueprint reading, drafting, OSHA regulations, mathematics, and more. This combination of fieldwork and coursework prepares you for the plumbing license exam.

Also read: 10 plumbing business ideas 

Step 4: Successfully Pass the Plumbing License Exam

In some states, to work legally as a plumber on projects valued at over $500, you must either be a licensed contractor or work under the direct supervision of one. This rule applies to both apprentices and journeymen.

However, even after completing a two-year plumbing apprenticeship program, you won't be immediately eligible to take the exam. You must accumulate a minimum of four years of experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervisor, or owner-builder, in addition to paying a test fee.

The plumbing license exam typically comprises two parts: one covering plumbing trade knowledge and the other focusing on state laws and building codes. The plumbing-specific test usually consists of five major sections:

  • Planning and estimating

  • Rough-in plumbing system

  • Finish plumbing installation

  • Service, repair, and remodel plumbing systems

  • Worker and job site safety

Passing scores vary from state to state but generally require at least 70% to 75% to pass. In case of failure, you are usually allowed to retake the exam.

How long does it take to become a plumber?

Becoming a licensed plumber typically takes four to five years, but the duration can vary based on your location and the level of certification required. To determine the exact requirements in your area, consult your state, city, or county governing body.

Cost of obtaining a plumbing license

The cost of obtaining a plumbing license can vary significantly depending on your location and the specific requirements set by your state. Here's a breakdown of potential expenses:

  • States Requiring Formal Education (In-Class Training or Certificates): Costs can range from $800 to $3,000.

  • States Requiring an Associate's Degree: Expenses may range from $3,000 to $23,000.

  • States Requiring Completion of an Apprenticeship Program: Costs can range from $0 to $1,000.

  • Yearly or Biannual Plumbing License Fee: This fee typically falls between $15 and $250. Master plumbers may face higher fees, which can be as much as $500.

  • Be sure to check with your local city or municipality to understand the specific requirements and costs associated with obtaining your plumbing license in your area.

Becoming a licensed plumber involves a combination of practical experience and education. Whether you choose residential or commercial plumbing, the path is well-defined. Starting with a high school diploma, you can explore educational options like apprenticeship programs, and offering hands-on training. Your journey culminates in passing the plumbing license exam, which assesses your trade knowledge and understanding of state laws and building codes.

At Cloodot, we recognize the importance of efficient customer experience management. We offer a suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) products that utilize AI and automation technologies, assisting businesses in modernizing their approach to customer reviews and messaging. This enhancement allows them to connect with clients effectively, simplifying their operations and improving customer satisfaction.

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© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot