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Colorado Plumbing License: How to Get Certified as a Plumber in CO

December 16, 2022 7 min. read
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Interested in getting your Colorado plumbing license? Not a bad idea considering the state’s plumbing industry has been booming, with an average of 51,000 job openings every year. This upward trend is expected to continue as residential and commercial construction increases the need for plumbing professionals, making now the perfect time to get your plumbing license.

The high demand for plumbers is probably why Colorado master plumbers take home an average salary of $66,479. As you grow in your career and gain more work experience, you boost your earning potential. And as the demand for plumbers continues to rise, you can be sure that earning your plumbing license will be a good return on investment.

Interested in getting your plumbing license but not sure where to get started? We’ll cover everything you need to know:

Make sure to bookmark this page for future reference on all Colorado plumbing license questions.

Are plumbers required to be licensed in Colorado?

Yes, you’re required to have a plumbing license to perform work in Colorado. Licenses vary based on years of experience and what levels you’re allowed to supervise. With your license, you’ll be able to work on plumbing projects such as pipe installation, plumbing repairs, and sewage repairs. 

The type of projects you’re allowed to work on will depend on the type of license you have: residential plumbers can perform plumbing work on residential projects, whereas Journeyman plumbers can work on both residential and commercial projects.

Those looking to perform plumbing work on their own home aren’t required to get a plumbing license but will still need to obtain the necessary permits. If you’re interested in starting your own plumbing business, you’ll need to look into getting a contractor’s license from your local jurisdiction. Licenses are issued by Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Division of Professions and Occupations

Types of plumbing licenses in Colorado

Colorado offers a few types of plumbing licenses that vary based on your level of experience. To get started earning your license, you’ll start off as an apprentice. As you get more experience, you can apply for higher-level licenses until you reach your master plumbing license:

  • Apprentice: less than 2 years of experience
  • Residential: 2 years of experience
  • Journeyman: 4 years of experience
  • Master: 5 years of full-time experience

Plumbers who want to own their own business will also need to get a contractor’s license from their local jurisdiction. In Denver, the Contractor’s License will be issued to individuals who have a state-issued Master Plumber license or have an individual who holds a city-issued supervisor certificate to qualify the license.

Colorado plumbing license requirements

There are a few requirements you’ll need to start the process of becoming a master plumber. The requirements needed to receive your license are as follows:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Meet the minimum experience requirements for the license level you’re applying for
  • Pass the exam
  • Complete an application
  • Submit an Affidavit of Eligibility
  • Pay all applicable fees
  • Provide proof of insurance (business owners only)

If you’re interested in getting licensed locally, check the specific license requirements at your local jurisdiction.

How do I get a plumbing license in Colorado?

In order to receive your Colorado plumbing license, you’ll need to become an apprentice and start racking up the hours of experience you’ll need to get your residential, journeyman and master plumber licenses. There are a few steps to get there:

  1. Register as an apprentice: You’ll need to first register as an apprentice to start gaining experience. Applicants can register online through the DORA portal and must register within 30 days of starting a plumbing job.
  2. Get the necessary experience: Each plumbing license level requires a different amount of hours of experience. Experience must be documented and verified by an employer or licensed plumber.
  3. Take the exam: For all three levels of licensure, applicants must successfully pass the relevant exam.
  4. Submit an application and any relevant documents: Applicants must complete an online application and submit an affidavit of eligibility. Along with their applications, applicants will need to provide proof of work experience and citizenship, and complete criminal history screening questions.

Relevant documents can be mailed to:

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

Division of Professions and Occupations

1560 Broadway, Suite 1350, Denver, CO 80202

Colorado plumbing license test

To schedule an exam, applicants can either sign up for an exam slot online or contact  PSI exams by phone or mail. The specific amount of questions and time you have available depends on the type of test you’re taking. The Journeymen and Residential Plumber exams are 100 questions long and you’ll have 240 minutes to complete. The Master Plumber exam is 120 questions long and you’ll have 270 minutes to complete.

All license exams cover the same plumbing topics:

  • Water Supply
  • Vents
  • Fixtures and Equipment
  • Piping Support and System Protection
  • Traps, Interceptors, and Separators
  • Storm Drainage Systems
  • Sanitary Drainage Systems
  • Indirect and Special Waste Piping
  • Isometric Analysis
  • Residential Fire Sprinklers
  • Water Heaters 

PSI has a variety of testing locations and available time slots to accommodate any schedule. You must schedule your test at least 24 hours prior to the test time.

Colorado plumbing license reciprocity

Reciprocity agreements are arrangements made between states to allow one state’s license to be accepted in a different state. 

Colorado does not have any reciprocity agreements with other states for plumbing licenses but out-of-state license holders can apply for a Colorado license via endorsement. 

To obtain your license via endorsement, you must provide proof of the required work experience and upload a copy of your license.

Colorado plumbing license costs

There are a few fees involved with earning your plumbing license. These costs vary depending on the level of licensure you’re going for.

  • Registration: $30
  • Exam fee: $75
  • Application fee: $100
  • Exam fee: $75
  • Application fee: $120
  • Master plumber exam: $75
  • Exam fee: $75
  • Application fee: $140

Colorado plumbing license renewal 

Colorado plumbing licenses need to be renewed in order to remain valid. All plumbing licenses expire on February 28th of odd years. To be eligible to renew your license, you must pay a renewal fee: 

  • Residential plumber exam: $100
  • Journeyman plumber exam: $120
  • Master plumber exam: $140

In addition to a renewal fee, license holders must complete 8 hours of continuing education every year. License renewals can be submitted using the DORA online portal.

What happens if my plumbing license expires? 

If your license has expired, you must stop all plumbing work and pay the late fee to renew your license. You’ll have a 60-day grace period from the expiration date to renew your license. Failure to renew within the grace period will result in a delinquent license and you’ll need to complete a reinstatement process. You can check if your license has expired using the DORA online portal

Requirements for business owners

To start a plumbing business, you’ll need to complete a few additional steps beyond receiving your license. ​​Only those with a locally-issued contractor’s license will be able to operate a plumbing business. 

When starting a business, you’ll first need to establish the structure in which you’ll operate. You can choose from business structures such as an LLC, sole proprietorship, or partnership. Once you decide on your business structure, you’ll need to choose a name and register your business with your local government. 

You’ll need to meet the following requirements to start your business:

  • Get the necessary insurance: Business owners are required to obtain general liability, worker’s compensation, and commercial automobile insurance. The minimum coverage amount required depends on the monetary limit of your contractor’s license. This monetary amount is based on your financial statement.
  • Obtain the necessary permits: The specific permits you need will depend on the local jurisdiction of the location where the project will take place. Check with your local Building and Codes office for what specific permits you’ll need.

On average, it costs around $10,000 to get all the tools, equipment, and insurance needed to start a plumbing business. If needed, you can apply for a small business loan to help cover the initial costs. You can also check with your local government to see if any small business grants are available.

Does a plumbing license in Colorado increase your earning potential? 

A plumbing license is not only required to conduct plumbing work, it also helps increase your earning potential. The more experience you get, the higher the license title you’re able to receive—which brings greater earnings. There’s a 53% jump in salary from an apprentice plumber to a journeyman plumber. That’s an additional $19,528 in your pocket! Our Essential Plumber Salary Guide shows how much your earning potential increases with experience, job title, and geographic location.

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