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Georgia Plumbing License: How to Get Certified as a Plumber in GA

December 30, 2022 11 min. read

In a job market that’s full of uncertainty, getting your plumbing license in Georgia is one of the best decisions you can make. 

Demand for plumbing professionals is growing across the country, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon. Despite only a 2% projected growth rate in the country, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates over 9,100 new plumber jobs are needed to fill the demand by 2031.

Not only is there lots of opportunity, but the steady demand can also drive up compensation for licensed plumbers. 

So how much does a plumber make in Georgia? Well, it varies, with the average plumber salary sitting at $43,697 for those with 3-6 years of experience. 

But that compensation can jump quickly alongside your level of experience, skill, and certification — the average salary for a plumber with over a decade of experience in the U.S. is over $60,000.

Now is the perfect time to get your license and capitalize on this increase in demand.

So, if you’re interested in getting your plumbing license in Georgia but are unsure where to start, don’t worry — this guide covers everything you need to know:

If you’re serious about getting your plumbing license in Georgia, make sure you bookmark this page. You’ll want to return to this guide if you have any questions about the specifics of the plumber licensing process.

Does Georgia require a plumbing license?

Yes, you need a plumbing license in Georgia to perform plumbing work. It is illegal to perform any type of plumbing work without a license or without the direct supervision of a licensed master.

Apprentice and journeyman plumbers are required to work under the supervision of master plumbers to build experience. Once you’ve built up the necessary skills working as an apprentice and journeyman, you can apply for one of two master licenses from the Georgia State Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers

Types of plumbing licenses in Georgia

The Georgia state board hands out three different plumber licenses that determine the extent of plumbing work you’re allowed to perform. Here are the 3 main licensing classifications you can get from the board: 

Plumbing License TypeDescription
Journeyman PlumberLicense holder is allowed to perform plumbing work under the supervision of a master plumber (restricted or non-restricted)
Master Plumber Class I (Restricted)License holder is permitted to perform plumbing work for a specific class of buildings: 
– Single or two-family buildings 
– Commercial buildings not exceeding 10,000 square feet
Master Plumber Class II (Non-restricted)License holder is permitted to perform plumbing work on any residential or commercial building

Georgia plumbing license requirements

If you want to progress through the levels of the Georgia plumbing industry, there are certain licensing requirements you need to meet at each stage of the journey. 

There are currently no continuing education requirements for people looking to start their plumbing licensing journey in Georgia, but you may count specific diplomas and certificates as secondary plumbing experience.  

Georgia requires applicants to build up a certain amount of experience before applying for journeyman and master plumbing licenses. According to the Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia, there are two types of experience: 

  1. Primary Experience: Work experience gained through the direct installation, maintenance, or repair of pipes and fixtures by a journeyman plumber, plumbing contractor, or master plumber. 
  1. Secondary Experience: Work experience gained while working on or learning about the installation of plumbing systems. This type of experience includes: 
  • Installation of pipes and fixtures by an apprentice or trainee
  • Plumbing work done by a maintenance worker
  • Instruction about plumbing installation, theory, or code by an instructor

You can count an engineering technology diploma as 2 years of secondary experience and a vocational school certificate as 1 year of secondary experience.

Now, let’s take a look at  what you need to do to achieve each of the Georgia plumbing  licenses: 

Plumbing License TypeRequirements
Plumbing Apprentice• No license or registration necessary
• Must work under the supervision of a licensed master plumber
Journeyman Plumber• Have at least 3 years of primary or secondary experience as an apprentice working under the supervision of a licensed master plumber
• Background check through local law enforcement agency
• Completion of all forms, applications, and payments
• Obtain a score of 70% on the journeyman license exam
Master Plumber Class I (Restricted)• Currently have a journeyman license
• Have 5 years experience in plumbing work, 2 of which need to be primary experience working on the following:
– Single- or two-family buildings
– Commercial buildings not exceeding 10,000 square feet
• Completion of all forms, applications, and payments
• Obtain a score of 70% on the journeyman license exam
Master Plumber Class II (Non-restricted)• Currently have a journeyman license
• Have 5 years experience in plumbing work, 2 of which need to be primary experience working on the following: – – Industrial buildings
– Commercial buildings
• Completion of all forms, applications, and payments
• Obtain a score of 70% on the journeyman license exam

How do I get a plumbing license in Georgia?

The Georgia State Board website shows you all the steps you need to take to get your plumbing license. Here are the main steps you must complete to obtain a journeyman, master restricted, or master unrestricted plumbing license: 

  1. Fully complete the application form and pay the associated fee
  2. Complete a background check through your local law enforcement agency
  3. Provide a description of your work experience:
    • Journeyman License: 3 years of primary and secondary plumbing experience for the journeyman license
    • Master Plumber Class I (Restricted) License: 5 years of plumbing experience, including 2 years of primary experience working on one and two-family residences or commercial spaces under 10,000 square feet 
    • Master Plumber Class II (Unrestricted) License: 5 years of plumbing experience, including 2 years of primary experience working on commercial or industrial buildings 
  4. Provide any court documents and letters of explanation, if necessary
  5. Include references from 3 master plumbers licensed in Georgia
  6. Apply for and successfully complete the exam with a score of 70% or more
  7. Verify your identity and citizenship status
  8. Provide immigration documents, if necessary

If you’re wondering how long it takes to get a plumbing license in Georgia, you can expect it to take at least 3-5 years, depending on which license you want: 

  • Journeyman Plumber: 3 years
  • Master Plumber Class I or II: 5 years +

Here’s a breakdown of the timeline based on the steps and requirements of the licensing process: 

Apprenticeship — 0-3 Years

  • A plumbing apprenticeship in Georgia involves acquiring 3 years of primary or secondary experience.

Journeyman — 3-5+ Years

  • After gaining 3 years of experience working under the supervision of a licensed master plumber and/or gaining secondary experience through earning certain technical diplomas and certificates, you are eligible to apply for a journeyman license.

Master Class I (Restricted) — 5+ Years

  • After regularly working for at least 2 years under a master plumber, journeymen are eligible to apply for a master class I (restricted) license, provided they have 2 years of primary experience working on single- and two-family residences and commercial buildings under 10,000 square feet.

Master Class II (Unrestricted)  — 5+ Years

  • After regularly working for at least 2 years under a master plumber, journeymen are eligible to apply for a master class II (unrestricted) license, provided they have 2 years of primary experience working on commercial and industrial buildings.

Throughout this process, you’ll need to send various forms, documents, and fees to the office of the Georgia State Division of Journeyman and Master Plumbers: 

237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217-3858
478-207-2440

Georgia plumbing license exam

All Georgia plumbing license exams are scheduled through the state board and their testing vendor PSI through their Continuous Testing program.

The Georgia State Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers sends a list of approved applicants to PSI, which imports the information into its system and sends exam confirmation and scheduling directly to candidates via email. This process typically takes about 7 business days but may be scheduled as soon as 2 days later. 

There are three exams offered by the board and PSI, one each for journeyman, master class I restricted), and master class II unrestricted licenses. 

GA Journeyman Plumber Exam 

  • 100 questions on general laws, plumbing code, pipe cutting and joining, plumbing system installation, system tests, maintenance and repairs, safety, and business law
  • 5 hours to complete the 2-part exam (2 ½ hours each)

GA Master Plumber Class I (Restricted) Exam

  • 120 questions on general laws, plumbing code, pipe cutting and joining, plumbing system installation, system tests, maintenance and repairs, safety, and business law
  • 7 hours to complete the 2-part exam (3 ½ hours each)

GA Master Plumber Class II (Unrestricted) Exam

  • 140 questions on general laws, plumbing code, pipe cutting and joining, plumbing system installation, system tests, maintenance and repairs, safety, and business law
  • 7 hours to complete the 2-part exam (3 ½ hours each)

All tests have a 70% threshold for passing. 

Information about scheduling, studying for, and writing these exams can be found in the candidate information handbook.

Does Georgia reciprocate plumbing licenses?

Reciprocal licenses allow plumbing professionals from specific states to apply directly for a license in others with a reciprocity agreement.

At this time, Georgia does not reciprocate licenses with any other state.

Georgia plumbing license costs

Georgia plumbing license costs mainly come in the form of application, examination, renewal, and reinstatement fees. 

They will run you between $350-550 dollars depending on the type of license you have and any late fees you’ve incurred. For class I and class II master plumbers, there are additional costs for insurance. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the costs depending on your level of certification and whether you have incurred any late or lapsed license fees:

FeesInitial Application$30
Online Processing$5
Mail-in Processing$10
ExamsJourneyman$223
Master Class I$267
Master Class II$267
Journeyman$35
RenewalJourneyman (Late)$45
Master Plumber$75
Master Plumber (Late)$100
ReinstatementJourneyman$70
Journeyman (3 years +)$70 + reexamination
Master Plumber$150
Master Plumber (3 years +)$150 + reexamination

You can learn more about the licensing fees and exam costs for plumbing in Georgia on the board website.

Georgia plumbing license renewal

Like most licenses in skilled trades across the country, plumbing licenses must be renewed in Georgia. The renewal schedule is every 2 years and includes a fee of $35 for journeyman licenses and $75 for master plumber licenses. 

You can renew your GA plumbing license online through a portal on the board website. 

For a complete list of the requirements and process for renewing your Georgia plumbing license, check out the FAQ or continuing education pages on the board website.

What happens if my plumbing license expires? 

Because working without a plumbing license is illegal in Georgia, you should stop working immediately if you believe your license has expired to avoid disciplinary action. Your next step should be to check the status of your license through the state board’s online portal

If your license has expired or lapsed for less than 3 years, you can simply fill out the reinstatement of lapsed license form and pay the associated fees: 

  • $35 for journeyman plumbers ($45 for late renewal)
  • $75 for master plumbers Class I and II ($100 for late renewal)

If your license is over 3 years expired, you’ll have to pay the reinstatement fee and retake the examination for your particular license:

  • $75 for journeyman plumbers
  • $150 for master plumbers Class I and II 

Requirements for business owners

Passing all the licensing exams and receiving the necessary insurance to be a plumbing contractor in Georgia means you’re now set up to start your own business! This is a great opportunity for you to increase your earning potential. 

But first, what are the requirements for plumbing business owners in Georgia?

Aside from receiving either a Class I or II master plumber license, you need to perform the following steps: 

  1. Determine your business plan and identify your goals
  2. Secure financing for your Georgia plumbing business
  3. Invest in all necessary plumbing equipment
  4. Register your business and get the proper insurance

Of course, there are plenty of other things you need to do before your Georgia plumbing business is fully ready to go ㅡ from pricing out your services to promoting your company to staying current with all industry training and knowledge. 

For an in-depth view of the plumbing business in Georgia, check out this guide.

Does a plumbing license in Georgia increase your earning potential? 

The plumbing market is worth an estimated $129 billion in the United States and is expected to keep growing at 2% until 2030. What does that mean for you? Basically, it’s the perfect time to get started in this booming industry by getting your Georgia plumbing license.

It’s the first step towards drastically increasing your earning potential. 

As you progress from a journeyman to a fully-licensed master plumber, you can expect your salary to jump from $35,000 to well over $50,000, depending on your years of experience. Not to mention, plumbing business owners can make much more than that when they go out on their own!

Interested in learning more about the highly lucrative plumbing industry and what the financial prospects are across the country?

Our Essential Plumber Salary Guide contains information about salaries in every state to help you identify where you can put this in-demand skill set to use. 

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