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Plumbing Certification: How to Get a Plumbing License (State by State)

Academy / Plumbing License

Getting your plumbing certification is the most important step in becoming a plumber. Most states won’t let you work in the trade without one, and with good reason, too—plumbing is a highly skilled trade. 

If you’re looking to earn your plumber’s license, you’ve made a good choice, as plumbers are in high demand. The plumbing industry has grown significantly recently, with an average growth rate of 3.2% nationwide.  This upward trend is expected to continue in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor projects the job outlook for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters to expand as much as 5% by 2030. Various plumbing certification programs are available throughout the states, some of which offer online plumbing certifications.

If you’re wondering how to get a plumbing license, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled the answers to your biggest plumbing certification questions.

What is a plumbing license?

A plumbing license is a certification that grants a technician the ability to repair, install, or maintain various plumbing systems. A licensed plumber has met the qualifications and testing required to work legally in their city or county.

Types of Plumbing Certifications

The different types of plumbing certifications available vary based on state and regional requirements.  Most states offer 3 different levels of plumbing licenses: apprentice, journeyman, and master. These license levels dictate the type of work you’re allowed to complete.

  • Apprentice: able to perform limited duties under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber
  • Journeyman: an entry-level license that allows individuals to work independently under the supervision of a master
  • Master: highest license level that allows individuals to supervise journeymen, pull permits for projects, or run their plumbing businesses

Is it illegal to do plumbing without a license?

Not all states are the same when it comes to license requirements. Some regions allow individuals to complete plumbing work unlicensed, while others have penalties for working without a license. For example, you don’t need to earn a license to work on plumbing systems in Kansas. In Michigan, however, working on plumbing systems without a license can result in a $5,000 fine and possible jail time.

For specific details on the penalties for conducting work without a license, check with your local jurisdiction for their regulations on unlicensed work.

What are the plumbing certification requirements by state?

Each state has its own requirements for getting your plumbing license, as well as different licensing levels. If your state doesn’t have state-wide license requirements, remember that requirements can be made locally. Make sure to double-check with your local governing body for any regulations.

Jump to your state:

AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCalifornia
ColoradoConnecticutDelawareFloridaGeorgia
HawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
KansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland
MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouri
MontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew Jersey
New MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhio
OklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth Carolina
South DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermont
VirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Alabama

To perform any type of plumbing work within the state of Alabama, plumbers are required to obtain a license from the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board.

To start, aspiring plumbers will need to get their plumbing apprentice certification.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to complete at least two years as an apprentice working under a licensed master plumber or complete a “board-approved” apprenticeship training program. 

Once complete, you’ll need to pass the journeyman licensing exam to become a licensed plumber. 

To qualify for the Alabama master plumber license, you’ll need to work for at least one year as a journeyperson plumber and pass your master plumber exam.

Read our full guide to becoming a licensed plumber in the state of Alabama.

Alaska

Without a state license, you’re unable to perform any professional plumbing work in Alaska.

You can get your plumbing license from the Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

To qualify for your Alaska journeyperson plumber license, plumbers must earn a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience installing commercial or residential plumbing. Or have completed 1,000 hours of related in-class experience. Plumbers will then need to pass their licensing exam.

To install fuel and gas piping or plumbing for public utilities, plumbers in Alaska are required to get a restricted plumbing license.

To be eligible for their restricted plumber gas license (PG), plumbers must complete at least 4,000 hours of work. A minimum of 2,000 hours in fuel gas piping installation is required, or 2,000 hours of commercial or industrial plumbing installation. 

To get your restricted plumber utilities license (PU), plumbers must complete 1,000 hours of work installing water, sewer, or storm lines.

Arizona

You’re required to get a plumbing license to work as a plumber in Arizona.

Arizona requires all plumbers to pass two exams to get their plumber’s license. The first is a business management exam, and the second is their plumbing trade exam

To qualify for the license, you’ll need a minimum of four years of experience in plumbing. You can substitute a portion of this experience with any training or education you may have received.

Plumbers can get their Arizona plumbing license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Arkansas

To perform any plumbing maintenance or installation work in Arkansas, you’ll need to attain a plumbing license.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to have a minimum of four years of experience as a plumber and to complete a plumbing apprenticeship program. 

To get your master plumber license, you’ll need at least 5 years of experience as a plumber, including at least 1 year of experience with your journeyperson license.

California

To work as a plumber in California on projects worth more than $500, you’ll need to get a C-36 contractor’s license from the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

To qualify for your C-36 license you’ll need to complete four years of work experience under the supervision of a registered contractor. You’ll also need to file a $15,000 bond with the CSLB.

You’ll also need to pass the California plumbers exam and the business and law exam.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of California.

Colorado

You’ll need a plumbing license to work as a plumber within the state of Colorado.

There are three different types of plumbers licenses in Colorado: residential plumber license, journeyperson plumber license, and master plumber license.

residential plumber license allows plumbers to perform residential plumbing jobs like pipe fittings, repairs, and installations. To qualify for your residential license, you’ll need two years of plumbing experience working under a master plumber.

journeyperson plumber license allows you to perform commercial plumbing jobs as well as residential ones. To be eligible for your journeyperson license, plumbers need a minimum of four years of experience, will need to pass an exam, and submit an affidavit of eligibility.

master plumber license is required for plumbers to perform commercial and residential jobs and supervise and train plumber apprentices. To become a master plumber in Colorado, you’ll need five years of experience, pass a licensing exam, and submit an affidavit of eligibility.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Colorado.

Connecticut

To perform plumbing jobs in Connecticut, you’ll need to become a licensed plumber.

There are two different plumbing licenses: unlimited journeyperson plumber and unlimited plumbing contractor.

An unlimited journeyperson plumber license allows plumbers to work under the supervision of a licensed plumbing contractor and perform basic plumbing tasks. To qualify for this license, you’ll need to apply to be an apprentice or complete a series of training courses and then pass a licensing exam.

An unlimited plumbing contractor license lets you perform plumbing work unsupervised. Before taking this license exam, plumbers must have two years of experience as an unlimited journeyperson plumber.

Delaware

A plumbing license is required to perform any plumbing jobs or installations in Delaware. 

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, applicants must complete at least two years of supervised work experience and show they’ve completed an apprenticeship program by providing their Journeyman Certificate.

To achieve your master plumber license, plumbers will need to complete seven years of work as a journeyperson.

Florida

All plumbers must be licensed to perform any plumbing work in Florida. Plumbing licenses are issued by the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board.

To qualify for your registered plumbing contractor license, you’ll need to earn your local competency card (check with your local jurisdiction for specific requirements).

To earn your certified plumbing contractor license you must complete 4 years of experience with at least 1 year serving as a foreman. You’ll also need to pass the Florida Plumbing Contractor General Trade exam and the Business and Financial management exam.

Both contractor classifications must obtain a minimum of $100,000 in general liability insurance and  $25,000 in property damage insurance.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Florida.

Georgia

You’ll need to be a licensed plumber to perform any plumbing work within the State of Georgia.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to provide three years of relevant plumbing experience and get approval from the state to take the exam.

There are two different classifications of master plumbers in Georgia.

Master plumbers in class one can work on single-family homes, one-level dwellings (for up to two families), and commercial buildings under 10,000 square feet. 

To qualify for your master plumber license class one, you need a minimum of five years of experience with a minimum of two years experience as a journeyperson plumber.

Master plumbers in class two are unrestricted and can take on any plumbing work they choose. 

To qualify for your master plumber class two license, you’ll need the same amount of experience as class one, as well as specific experience with commercial or industrial plumbing.

Ready to get started? Read our full guide to getting your Georgia plumbing license.

Hawaii

To work as a plumber in Hawaii, you need to acquire a plumber’s license.

To qualify for a journey worker plumber license, applicants must complete five years of plumbing work that complies with the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and pass the licensing exam.

To get your master plumber license in Hawaii, you’ll need to complete two years of experience as a journey worker plumber and pass the master plumber licensing exam.

Idaho

To become a plumber in Idaho, you’ll need to get licensed through the Idaho Division of Building Safety.

To get your journeyperson plumber license, you need four years of schooling and 8000 hours of plumbing experience before passing a written and practical exam.

To qualify for your plumbing contractor license, you need two and a half years of experience as a licensed journeyperson and take an exam. Once you’ve completed your exam, you’ll be required to provide proof of bond.

Illinois

To work as a plumber in Illinois, you’ll need to acquire an Illinois plumbing license. This license requirement applies to both professional plumbers and DIY projects at home.  

To earn your apprentice license, you must be at least 16 years old and complete an apprenticeship program.

After that, you can take the state’s license exam to earn your plumbing contractor license or irrigation contractor license.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Illinois.

Indiana

To work as a plumber in Indiana, you’re required to get a plumbing license.

To qualify for a journeyperson plumber license in Indiana, you’ll need to complete a four-year apprenticeship program and pass the licensing exam.

To get your plumbing contractor license, you’ll need to complete a four-year apprenticeship program, have four years of experience working under a licensed plumber, or be a licensed plumber in another state.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Indiana.

Iowa

To be eligible to work as a plumber in Iowa, you’ll need to get your plumbing license from the Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board.

To get your apprentice plumber license, you’ll need to complete high school or have your GED equivalent and be enrolled in an apprenticeship program. You’ll also need to prove that you’re working under the supervision of a licensed plumber (either journeyperson or master).

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to complete four years of plumbing experience as an apprentice and pass the licensing exam.

Plumbers looking to get their master plumber license will need two years of experience as a journeyperson plumber and pass an additional licensing exam.

Kansas

There are no licensing requirements to become a plumber in the state of Kansas

Plumbers in Kansas can choose to get the optional Class DP plumbing contractor license by passing a licensing exam.

Kentucky

To work as a plumber in Kentucky, you’ll need a plumbing license.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need a minimum of four years of experience as a plumbing apprentice and pass a written licensing exam.

To get your master plumber license, plumbers must pass their licensing exam, have general liability insurance valued at $250,000, and provide proof of their workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Louisiana

You’ll need a plumbing license in Louisiana to perform any plumbing work worth more than $10,000.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, applicants need to complete an apprenticeship program, have a minimum of five years of experience as a full-time plumber, and pass their licensing exam. 

To be eligible for your master plumbing license, plumbers need to have their journeyperson license or a Louisiana Professional Engineers License with no less than five years of experience in plumbing.

Maine

If you’re interested in performing any plumbing installations in Maine, you’ll need to get your plumbing license.

To get your trainee plumbers license, you must be at least 16 years old and submit your application forms to the Main Plumbers Examining Board.

To qualify for your journeyperson in training license, you’ll need to submit an application form and pass the journeyperson plumber exam.

To move on to your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need a minimum of two years of experience doing plumbing installations as a trainee plumber or journeyperson-in-training. You’ll then need to pass the licensing exam.

Finally, to be eligible for your master plumber license, you’re required to have at least one year of experience as a licensed journeyperson or four years of experience as a trainee plumber. The final step is to pass your master plumber’s licensing exam.

Maryland

To work as a plumber in Maryland, you’ll need to get your plumber license from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Before you’re eligible for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to have an apprentice plumber license for a minimum of four years and complete at least 7,500 hours of training under a licensed master plumber.

In addition, applicants need to complete 32 hours of backflow prevention device testing training and pass a written licensing exam.

To qualify for your master plumber license, you’ll have to complete two years as a licensed journeyperson plumber, 3,700 hours of training under a licensed master plumber, and successfully pass a written exam.

Massachusetts

To work as a plumber in Massachusetts, you first need to get your plumbing license.

To get your apprentice plumber license, you’ll need to fill out an application and be enrolled in high school, a vocational-technical school program, or employed by a licensed master plumber.

Before you’re qualified to get your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to complete high school or have your GED equivalent and complete a minimum of 6,800 hours of work experience as a licensed apprentice plumber.

Applicants must also complete 550 hours of plumbing and gas-fitting theory and pass a written exam.

To qualify for your master plumber license, plumbers need to have a minimum of one year of experience as a journeyperson plumber and complete tier five of the five-tier Plumber Educational Program. (If not previously completed during their apprenticeship)

Michigan

To work as a plumber in  Michigan, you need to get your plumber license.

To qualify for a journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need a minimum of three years of experience as a plumber apprentice working under a licensed master plumber and pass the licensing exam.

Before you can get your master plumber license, plumbers will need two years of experience as a journeyperson plumber and successfully pass the master plumber exam.

Ready to start? Read our full guide to getting your Michigan plumbing license.

Minnesota

A plumbing license is required for anyone who’s looking to perform plumbing work in Minnesota.

To be eligible for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to have at least four years of experience working with a licensed master plumber and pass a state-issued licensing exam. 

To qualify for your master plumber license in Minnesota, you’ll need a minimum of one year of work experience as a licensed journeyperson and pass your licensing exam.

Mississippi

For residential plumbers who have jobs totaling more than $10,000 or commercial plumbers whose projects amount to more than $50,000, you’ll need a plumbing license.

There are two different types of plumbing licenses in Mississippi: the unlimited commercial plumbing license and the unlimited residential plumbing license.

To get either of these licenses, you’ll need to complete an application and your licensing test within six months of your submission date.

Apprenticeship programs are not required to become a licensed plumber in Mississippi but are available through different trade schools, companies, or your local plumber’s union.

Missouri

A plumbing license is required in Missouri for anyone performing plumbing work in cities or towns with more than 15,000 people. To get licensed, you’ll need to contact the city or county where you plan to work.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need five years of experience as a plumber apprentice working under a master plumber with working knowledge of installing plumbing and drainage equipment. You’ll also need to pass a licensing exam.

To be eligible for your master plumber license, you’ll need three years of experience as a licensed journeyperson plumber with working knowledge of planning, designing, and installing plumbing systems. A master plumber licensing exam is also required.

Montana

To work as a plumber in Montana, you’ll need to get your plumbing license.

To start, register with the State of Montana Department of Labor and enroll in a training program to get your plumber apprentice license. Another option is to gain hands-on plumbing experience working under a licensed master plumber.

To qualify for a journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need either five years of experience in the trade or an apprenticeship program to pass both a written and practical licensing exam.

To be eligible for your master plumber license, you’ll need four years of experience as a licensed journeyperson, with at least three of those years working with a master plumber or as a plumbing supervisor.

Once you have your master plumber license, register as a contractor in Montana to be eligible for your plumbing contractor license. Along with this registration, you’ll also need to apply for the Construction Contractor Registration or Independent Contractor Exemption Certificate.

Nebraska

You’re not currently required to get a plumber license to work as a plumber in Nebraska. 

While there are no state-wide requirements in place, aspiring plumbers should check with their local municipalities to see what’s required to do plumbing work in their city or county.

Nevada

In Nevada, you need a plumbing and heating contractor license (C-1) or a plumbing contractor license (C-1D) to work as a plumber.

To be eligible for your journeyperson plumber license (C-1), you’ll need a minimum of four years of experience in the plumbing trade and pass a licensing exam.

To qualify for your C-1 master plumber license, you’ll need at least 2,000 hours of experience working as a journeyperson plumber.

To get your plumbing contractor license (C-1D), you’ll need a minimum of four years of recent experience (within the last year) as a journeyperson or supervisor, and to submit four references as well as pass a background check. Plumbers looking to get this license will also need a Nevada business ID number.

New Hampshire

Plumbers in New Hampshire are required to have a plumbing license to work in the state.

To get your journeyperson plumber license you’ll need to complete a four-year plumbing apprenticeship and pass the plumbing journeyperson licensing exam.

To qualify for your master plumber license, you must have a  minimum of six months of experience as a journeyperson and pass the state master plumber license exam.

New Jersey

All plumbers are required to be licensed to work in the state of New Jersey.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need a mechanical, plumbing, or sanitary engineering degree or a four-year apprenticeship program and pass the licensing exam.

To get your master plumber license, you’re required to have a minimum of one year of experience as a licensed journeyperson plumber and receive at least a 70% on the licensing exam.

New Mexico

Plumbers in New Mexico are required to get a plumbing license.

To be eligible for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to complete an apprenticeship program and pass a written and practical exam.

To qualify for your plumbing contractor license, you’ll need a minimum of four years (8,000 hours) of experience as a plumber and pass the licensing exam.

New York

You’re required to get a plumber license and register with the Secretary of State to work as a plumber in New York.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need a minimum of two years of experience and a notarized affidavit from the master plumber you’ve been working for.

To be eligible for your master plumber license, you’ll need at least seven years of plumbing experience, with at least two years as a journeyperson plumber. You’ll also be required to pass a final licensing exam.

North Carolina

To work as a plumber in the state of North Carolina, you’ll need a plumbing license. For plumbing projects that exceed $30,000, extra licensing may be required.

plumbing Class 1 (P-1) license allows plumbers to work on residential, commercial, or industrial piping systems.

plumbing Class 2 (P-2) license allows plumbers to work on piping systems in only residential single-family buildings

restricted Limited Plumbing Contractor (RLP) license means plumbers can work on exterior building plumbing pipings and systems

State & Local Government Technician – Plumbing (SLGT-P) license allows employees of the state or a local government can work on plumbing piping systems

All of these classifications except for the SLGT-P license require you to have at least two years of work experience with at least one year of experience in design, layout, and installation.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of North Carolina.

North Dakota

To be a plumber in North Dakota, you’ll need both a general contractor license and a plumber’s license.

To get your general contractor license, pick one of the four general contractor classes that matches how much you intend to earn for each plumbing project and pay the associated licensing fee. 

To qualify for your apprentice license, you’ll need to either be registered for a school-work program or be starting an apprenticeship working under a licensed plumber.

To be eligible for your journeyperson license, you’re required to complete four hours of continuing education and have a minimum of four years of experience as an apprentice. You’ll also need to pass the licensing exam.

To get your master plumber license, you’ll need to complete four hours of continuing education, two years of work as a journeyperson plumber, and pass your licensing exam.

Ohio

To work as a plumber in Ohio, you must first pass a licensing exam from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Before you can qualify for the licensing exam, you need at least five years of experience in the plumbing industry or three years of experience as an engineer in the construction industry.

Candidates will also have to pay a $25 fee and show proof of their contractor liability insurance worth $500,000 or more.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Ohio.

Oklahoma

If you’re looking to break into the plumbing industry in Oklahoma, you’ll need to get your plumbers license first.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’re required to have a  minimum of three years of experience working under a licensed plumber and pass a state licensing exam. 

Once you’ve earned your journeyperson license, you’ll need one additional year of experience before qualifying for your plumbing contractor’s licensing exam.

Both plumbing journeypersons and contractors are required to provide proof of their Corporate Surety Bond and general liability insurance before they can receive their licenses.

Oregon

To work as a plumber in Oregon, you’ll need either a journeyman plumber license or a plumbing contractor license (CCB).

To qualify for your Oregon journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to complete a four-year apprenticeship program or provide proof of 576 hours of in-class training and 3,850 hours of hands-on plumbing experience. You’ll also need to pass the licensing exam.

To be eligible for your contractor license, you’ll need to complete the required training and pass the CCB examination. You’ll then be required to file your business information with the Oregon Corporation Division and provide proof of:

  • CCB surety bond
  • General liability insurance
  • Workers compensation

Pennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania doesn’t currently require licensing for plumbers. However, many cities or counties require licenses to perform any plumbing work.

Before you start any work, check in with your local government to make sure you’re meeting any specific requirements.

Rhode Island

To become a plumber in Rhode Island, you’ll need to get your plumber’s license.

To be eligible for your journeyperson plumber license, you need a minimum of four years of experience and 576 hours of classroom instruction. You’ll also have to pass the licensing exam.

To qualify for your master plumber license, you’ll need five years of experience working as a licensed journeyperson plumber and pass the state licensing exam.

South Carolina

Depending on the types of plumbing services you offer, you’ll need either a residential or a commercial plumbing license to work in South Carolina.

Before becoming a licensed plumber, you’ll need to pass the Business and Law exam.

residential plumber license is mandatory for any work that exceeds $200. To be eligible for your residential plumbing license, you’ll need a minimum of one year of experience in the trade and pass the state licensing exam.

commercial plumber license is required for plumbers who want to bid on commercial, residential, or public jobs or take on projects exceeding $5,000. To qualify for your commercial plumbing license, you’ll need at least two years of experience working as a plumber, proof of a $10,000 surety bond, and pass your licensing exam.

South Dakota

A plumber’s license is required to perform any plumbing work in South Dakota.

Before applying for your plumber apprentice license, you’ll need to submit an application that acknowledges the name of the licensed plumber you’ll be trained by and pass your licensing exam.

To be eligible for the journeyperson plumber license, you’re required to have four years (and at least 1,900 hours per year) of experience as an apprentice. You also need to pass your licensing exam.

To qualify for your plumbing contractor license, you’ll need a total of six years of experience  (and at least 1,900 hours per year)  as a plumber or plumber’s apprentice. To receive this license, you’ll need to pass an exam.

The state of Dakota also mandates specific licenses for sewer and water contractors or installers, water conditioning contractors or installers, and underground irrigation contractors and installers.

Tennessee

To work as a plumber in Tennessee, you’ll need to get your Tennessee plumbing license. There are two types of license available that dictate the types of projects you can work on.

To work on projects less than $25,000 you’ll need to become a limited license plumber (LLP). You’ll need to show proof of at least one year of experience as a plumber and will need to pass an exam to earn this license.

Projects valued more than $25,000 will require you to earn your mechanical plumbing contractor license (CMC-A). You’ll need to gain at least three years of experience as well as pass the licensing exam. Applicants will also need to provide a letter of reference and a financial statement prepared by a CPA in order to be eligible.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Tennessee.

Texas

To perform any plumbing work in the state of Texas, you’ll need to first get your plumber’s license.

To earn your tradesman plumber license you’ll need to complete at least two years of experience as a plumber’s apprentice. You’ll also need to complete 24 hours of in-class training and pass the licensing exam.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need a valid tradesman license. You’ll also need to gain four years of experience in the trade as well as complete 48 hours of in-class training and pass a licensing exam.

To become eligible for your master plumber license you’ll need to have your journeyperson’s license. Applicants must have earned a minimum of 8,000 hours of plumbing experience and score a passing grade on the final licensing exam.

Read our full guide to getting certified as a plumber in the state of Texas.

Utah

You’ll need to get your plumbing license from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing to work as a plumber in Utah.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’re required to first complete an apprenticeship program and have at least 8,000 hours (a minimum of four years) of training from a licensed plumber. You’ll then need to pass the state licensing exam.

To become eligible for your master plumber license, you’ll need two years of experience working as a licensed journeyperson plumber and pass the licensing exam.

Vermont

You’re required to get a plumbers license from the Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety, to do any plumbing work in Vermont.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need either 12,000 hours of hands-on training and experience or to complete an apprenticeship program. You’ll also be required to pass a certification exam.

To get your master plumber license, you’ll need to have your journeyperson license for at least one year or complete 14,000 hours of training and experience. A licensing exam is also required.

Virginia

To become a plumber in the state of Virginia, you’ll need to get a plumbers license.

To qualify for your journeyperson license, you’ll need one of the following combinations of practical experience and formal training:

  • One year of experience and a bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • Two years of experience and the completion of a two-year program at a trade school or college
  • Four years of experience and the completion of 240 hours of formal plumbing training
  • Five years of experience and 160 hours of formal plumbing training
  • Six years of experience and 80 hours of formal plumbing training
  • Ten years of hands-on experience

For your master plumber license, you’ll need a minimum of one year working as a licensed journeyperson or ten years of hands-on plumbing experience. You’ll also need to pass a licensing exam.

Washington

To work as a plumber in Washington, you’ll need to get a plumbing license first.

Before getting the experience you need to become a licensed plumber in Washington, you need to apply for your plumber trainee certificate. This will need to be renewed annually while you work towards becoming a licensed plumber.

To get your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need at least four years (8,000 hours) of experience as a plumber trainee, with half of this time working on commercial or industrial installations. To pass your exam, you’ll need a 70% or higher.

Depending on the type of plumbing you want to perform in Washington, you may need one of the following specialty licenses:

  • Specialty residential plumber’s license
  • Specialty pump and irrigation plumber’s license
  • Specialty domestic well plumber’s license
  • Specialty backflow plumber’s license

West Virginia

To do plumbing work in West Virginia, you’re required to have a plumbing license.

To start working as a plumber, you’ll need to get your plumber in training license. To qualify, you’ll need a plumbing certification and to find work under a licensed journeyperson or master plumber.

To qualify as a journeyperson plumber, you’ll need a minimum of 8,000 hours of experience and must be able to supervise a plumber in training and pass a licensing exam.

To be eligible for your master plumber license, you’ll need 12,000 hours of experience, be able to supervise trainees and journeypersons, and pass a written exam.

Wisconsin

To become a plumber in Wisconsin, you’ll need to get a plumber license.

To qualify for your journeyperson plumber license, you’ll need to complete a plumbing apprenticeship program and pass the licensing exam.

To be eligible for your master plumber license, you’ll need a minimum of three years of experience as a licensed journeyperson plumber or a university or college degree in a related field such as civil engineering or mechanical engineering. You’ll also need to pass a licensing exam.

Wyoming

In Wyoming, there are no statewide licensing requirements for plumbers.

But before you start any plumbing work, make sure to check in with your local government to see if your city or county has any specific plumbing licensing requirements.

How long does it take to become a licensed plumber?

Becoming a licensed plumber takes four to five years on average, depending on what state or province you’ll be working in and the level of certification you’ll need. Check with your state, city, or county governing body to see what requirements you’ll need to become a licensed plumber.

How much does it cost to get a plumbing license?

The cost of getting your plumbing license can drastically differ depending on where you’re working as a plumber and the state-level requirements to qualify for the certification.

Here’s a breakdown of how much it costs to get a plumbing license:

  • For states that require formal education (in-class training or certificates): expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $3,000 
  • For states that require an associate’s degree: between $3,000 and $23,000
  • For states that require you to complete an apprenticeship program: between $0 to $1,000
  • Your yearly or biannual plumbing license fee: between $15 and $250. For master plumbers, your licensing fee may be as high as $500.

Make sure to check your local city or municipality to see what is required to get your plumbing license and how much you should expect to pay for it.

Does a plumbing license increase your earning potential?

Yes, earning your plumbing license increases your earning potential. By obtaining your license, you’re able to take on larger projects and ultimately earn more money. The national average for plumbers is $54,605. However, that average increases as you gain experience and raise your license level. Journeymen tend to earn 53% more than apprentice plumbers, and master plumbers on average earn 18% more than journeyman plumbers.

For a full breakdown of the earning potential of a plumbing license, check out our Essential Plumber Salary Guide. With geographical salary averages, experience earning breakdowns, and license level salaries, it has everything you need to start your plumbing career on the right foot.

Originally published August 2020. Last updated on Sept 27th, 2022.

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