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How to Get Your Plumbing License?

So you’ve chosen to be a plumber. It’s a great career choice. Plumbing is a big deal, and plumbers are essential in the construction industry. That is why the career is highly regulated, and you need a license to qualify you to work in this space. Plumbing is one of the most heavily regulated occupations in the US. The plumber licensing criteria for journeyman and master plumbers are almost universal; however, the criteria and exams differ from state to state. You’ll want to make sure that you follow the regulations in your state so that you may build your firm after years of research and practical training.

Do I Really Need a Plumbing License?

Yes, you do. Whether you want to start your own plumbing business or you are looking for employment within an already established company, you need a valid plumbing license. In most of the states in the US (or perhaps even all the states), you need to be certified as a plumber before you can practice your profession. You will not enjoy the full benefits of this profession if you don’t have a valid plumbing license. The federal bureau of labor statistics stated that the average pre-tax salary of a plumber within the US is $27 per hour. This amounts to about $57,000 a year. Not bad at all.  That’s why this article is so important. This article will show you step by step how to get your license without any hitches.

Getting the Essential Education

The first step to obtaining your plumbing license is to ensure that you at least have a basic education. A high school diploma or GED will suffice for this requirement. You need this before you can join an apprenticeship or trade school program. If you plan to get into a technical college or an apprenticeship program that is particularly competitive, it might be a good idea to gain some extra experience by performing school projects at your local college.

Finding the Right Plumber’s Apprenticeship For You

If you already have a high school diploma or have obtained your GED, the next step is finding a good plumber’s apprenticeship program to be a part of. The reason for this is that you won’t be qualified to participate in a state license exam without first taking part in an apprenticeship program for a particular period (usually 4-5 years, depending on the part of the US that you live). Although an apprenticeship program is obviously not the only way to become skillful within the plumbing industry, a lot of plumbers go this way to learn the important skills that will make them valuable, proficient, and successful within the plumbing industry. Fortunately, even as a plumbing apprentice, you also get to earn as you learn on the job.

Some of the things you will learn on the job include working with water pipes, waste systems, fixtures, and all the tools and equipment you’ll be working with. You’ll also be learning about the working rules, safety practices, plumbing codes, and various regulations within the plumbing industry.

Some states require you to register as an apprentice plumber. If you’re unsure whether this step is required in your location, contact your state’s Professional Licensing Agency. Find out the requirements within your state and comply with them. While your trade school may help you obtain an apprenticeship, some of these schools want you to put in the work by yourself. In any case, you should work under the supervision of a Master Plumber whom you trust, respect, and get along with. Apprenticeships are all about learning on the job. Of course, some Master Plumbers are better than others at teaching and offering opportunities for growth.

Getting Your Plumbing License

Once you have completed your apprenticeship program, it is then up to your state to determine if you are now eligible to take your plumber license exam. Once that is verified, you will be contacted, and your exam will be scheduled for you. The licensing exams are usually scheduled on a monthly basis (sometimes bi-monthly).  Once you have passed your licensing exams, you are going to be given your unique plumber’s license ID. This license ID will give you access to a lot of opportunities within the industry.

At this point, you are now a licensed journeyman, and you can legally practice your plumbing career either as a business owner or an employee within a company.

Becoming a Master Plumber

To become a licensed Master Plumber, you need four to five years of documented experience within your field. And just like how you have to qualify to be a journeyman, you also need to pass a Master Plumber licensing exam. Don’t forget that you also have to meet all of the requirements set by your state to get this license.  Although the terms “Journeyman” and “Master Plumber” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are quite different.

If you wish to advance in your plumbing career, you can decide to go for the Master Plumber license.

License Renewal

Plumbing licenses need to be renewed on a regular basis. Depending on the state, it should be renewed on either an annual or biannual basis. Any license that is not renewed on time will be rendered inactive till the owner renews it. If a license remains inactive for a certain period (determined by the state), the license is revoked. Plumbers who work with inactive or revoked licenses may be subject to some sanctions.


Plumbing can be a very rewarding career path if you decide to advance in it as much as you can. Find out your state’s requirements and follow the guidelines in this article. It will help you to get your plumbing license.

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