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Michigan Plumbing License: How to Get Certified as a Plumber in MI

December 30, 2022 8 min. read

If you’re looking for a financially stable career in a growing job market, look no further than becoming a plumber in Michigan. The state has already seen a huge demand growth for plumbers, which doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The industry is projected to grow 11%, adding almost 1,000 new plumbing jobs yearly until 2028.

The increased demand creates a higher earning potential for plumbers. So how much do plumbers make in Michigan? It varies based on experience, but generally, 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. Now is the time to get your license and capitalize on this increase in demand.

Interested in getting your plumbing license in Michigan but unsure where to start? We’ll cover everything you need to know:

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

Do you need a license to do plumbing in Michigan?

Yes, you must hold a plumbing license to perform any plumbing work in Michigan. Licenses are issued by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA)

Earning your license allows you to legally perform plumbing work, such as installing or repairing plumbing fixtures, replacing pipe systems, and cleaning drains. With a license, plumbers can work on both residential and commercial projects.

You’ll need to start the licensing process with a plumbing apprenticeship. As you continue to earn experience, you can apply for higher-level licenses that allow you to do more types of work with less supervision until you have your master plumbing license. To run your own plumbing business, you’ll need to get your Michigan plumbing contractor license.

Types of plumbing licenses in Michigan

Michigan offers three types of plumbing licenses that vary in the type of work you’re allowed to do:

  • 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

Applicants must first register as an apprentice to start earning experience.

Michigan plumbing license requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a plumbing license:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Provide a copy of your social security card
  • Register as an apprentice
  • Fulfill the necessary education and training requirements
  • Pass any licensing examination
  • Pay any applicable fees

How do I get a Michigan plumbing license?

It takes around three years to earn a journeyman license and five years to earn a master license. The plumbing license application process varies depending on the path plumbers take to meet the experience requirement. The process is as follows:

  1. Register as an apprentice: To start the licensing process, applicants must register as an apprentice and pay the registration fee. Applicants must complete registration at least 30 days before employment.
  2. Gain the necessary experience: Applicants must complete three years of work experience as an apprentice to be eligible for the journeyman license. To qualify for a master license, applicants must have completed two years of work as a licensed journeyman. For a contractor license, applicants must hold a master plumbing license.
  3. Apply to take the exam: After an applicant gains the necessary experience to qualify for a journeyman or master license, they’ll need to submit an application for examination. The journeyman application can be found here, and the application for the master/contractor plumbing license can be found here. You can also complete the application forms online through the LARA portal.
  4. Pass the exam: Applicants must pass a licensing exam to receive a journeyman or master level license. Exams are administered through PSI, and both tests require a 70% or higher score to pass.

Applications can be sent to:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Bureau of Construction Codes / Licensing Section
P.O. Box 30255, Lansing, MI 48909 

Michigan plumbing license exam

To earn a journeyman or master plumbing license, applicants must pass a licensing exam, and exams are administered in person through PSI Exams. Applicants will submit their application for a license to which the board will approve or deny permission to sit for the licensing exam.

Once the Board approves an application, applicants will receive a Candidate Information Bulletin with information on how to schedule their exam. Applicants will need to bring two forms of identification, one government-issued ID with a signature and picture and the other with a signature and pre-printed name.

The Michigan journeyman plumber test consists of 125 questions, and applicants will have three hours to complete it. The exam will test applicants’ knowledge on the following topics:

  • Plumbing theory
  • The practice of plumbing
  • Knowledge of the state plumbing code, rules, and regulations

The master license exam consists of 130 questions, and applicants will have three hours to complete it. The exam will test applicants’ knowledge on the following topics:

  • The science and practice of plumbing
  • Knowledge of the state plumbing code, rules, and regulations

The contractor license exam consists of 50 questions, and applicants will have two hours to complete it. The exam will test applicants’ knowledge on the following topics:

  • Knowledge of the Skilled Trades Regulations Act, 2016 PA 407 (and any rules promulgated under this act)
  • Knowledge of the Stille-Derossett-Hale single state construction code act (1972 PA 230) 
  • Knowledge of the administration and enforcement procedures of the Michigan Plumbing Code

All exams are open book and require applicants to score a 70% or higher to pass.

Michigan plumbing license reciprocity

Some states have reciprocity agreements available that allow your state license to be active within other states.

Michigan does not currently offer any reciprocity for plumbing licenses. However, new legislation was released that allows current military personnel, veterans, and their dependents to be eligible for license reciprocity.

Applicants will need to check with the Board to determine if their criterion is eligible for reciprocity.

Michigan plumbing license costs

There are a few costs associated with earning a plumbing license. You can expect to pay about $140 to get a journeyman license and $400 to get a master license. 

EXAMINATION

  • Journeyman license exam fee: $100
  • Master license exam fee: $100
  • Contractor license exam fee: $100

APPLICATION

  • Apprentice registration: $15
  • Journeyman license application fee: $40
  • Master license application fee: $300
  • Contractor license application fee: $300

RENEWAL

  • Journeyman license renewal: $40
  • Master license renewal: $300

How do I renew my Michigan plumbing license?

In order to maintain an active plumbing license in Michigan, applicants must renew their license before it expires. Journeyman licenses need to be renewed annually, and master licenses must be renewed every three years.

To renew a license, applicants must complete the renewal process within the LARA online portal and pay the renewal fee for their license type.

What happens if my plumbing license expires? 

If your plumbing license expires, you must stop any plumbing work immediately to avoid fines or penalties. If caught performing plumbing work in Michigan without a license, you could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year of jail time. 

You can check your license status using the Michigan plumbing license verification tool. If your license has expired, pay any late fees and complete the renewal process as soon as you can to reactivate your license.

Requirements for business owners

If you’re looking to start a plumbing business, you’ll need to take a few additional steps beyond receiving your license. ​​Only those with a master license can 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 must obtain general liability, worker’s compensation, and commercial automobile insurance. In Michigan, business owners must maintain at least $300,000 in property damage insurance and $100,000 in general liability insurance.
  • 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 to determine the 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 Michigan increase your earning potential? 

Not only is a plumbing license required for plumbing work in Michigan — but it also helps increase your earning potential. As you get more experience under your belt, you qualify for higher license levels which come with a greater salary. After just three years of experience, plumbers in Michigan see a 24% increase in salary, and that’s an additional $8,767 in your pocket! 

Your salary continues to rise the more experienced a plumber you become. Our Essential Plumber Salary Guide helps you as you grow in your plumbing career. Learn how you or your employees’ salaries can increase based on experience level, get tips on how to start your own plumbing business, and get more resources to help build your plumbing career.

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