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New Jersey Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in NJ

June 29, 2023 9 min. read
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In the face of market volatility, getting a plumbing license can offer a reassuring source of financial stability in the years to come. If you’re looking for a reliable income, the plumbing industry presents a strong foundation with substantial opportunities for growth, particularly in New Jersey.

In the state of New Jersey, plumbers earn an average salary of $54,998, which is higher than the national plumbing salary of 40 states. 

So if you’re ready to secure your financial future, now is the best time to get your plumbing license. 

In this guide, we’ll go over all the critical questions and need-to-know info about getting your New Jersey plumbing license and getting started in this in-demand industry: 

If you’re serious about getting your New Jersey plumbing license, make sure you bookmark this page. This way, you can return to this guide if you have any questions or are ready to start your own plumbing business in New Jersey.

Do you need a plumbing license in NJ?

Yes, in the state of New Jersey, plumbers are required to have a plumbing license in order to perform plumbing work. This license ensures that the plumber has met certain qualifications and has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform plumbing work safely and effectively.

In New Jersey, plumbing licenses are issued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs  and State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers

Here are the types of work that plumbers need licensing to do:

  • Plan plumbing systems for residential and commercial buildings.
  • Lay out plumbing system components in accordance with plans.
  • Install plumbing equipment correctly and efficiently.
  • Repair plumbing fixtures and systems.

Performing plumbing work without a license in New Jersey is a violation of state regulations. It can result in legal penalties, project delays, safety concerns, limited job opportunities, potential damage liability, and reputation damage. 

Types of plumbing licenses in NJ

In New Jersey, the Division of Consumer Affairs provides only one type of license for plumbers, which is called the Master Plumber License

However, there are two other levels of plumbers, namely the apprentice and the journeyman, which do not require a license. These levels serve as stepping stones toward obtaining the master plumber license.

The following table illustrates the different types of plumbing license steps:

Plumbing RolesDescription
Apprentice Plumber*Registrants may learn and help with plumbing installations as their main job under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber. 
Journeyman Plumber*Registrants may work under the supervision of a licensed master plumber or supervisory journeyman plumber. 
Licensed Master PlumberLicense holders may plan, layout, install and repair plumbing apparatus and equipment and supervise others in the performance of such plumbing work.

*It’s important to note that being an apprentice or journeyman plumber is not a specific license type in New Jersey. Rather, they are a necessary way of gaining experience for the master plumber license.

NJ plumbing license requirements

In order to obtain your master plumbing license and start working, you need to meet all the requirements listed by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers. 

Here are the requirements for each role leading up to the master plumbing license:

Plumbing RolesRequirements
Apprentice Plumber• Be at least 16 years old.
• Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
• Be enrolled in an applicable apprentice program.
Journeyman Plumber• Complete an apprenticeship program or have a minimum of four years of practical experience in plumbing work. 
• Submit the application form.
Master Plumber• Be at least 21 years old. 
• Complete at least one year of practical hands-on experience as a journeyman plumber in New Jersey, consisting of at least 1,200 hours. 
• Write and pass the New Jersey master plumber examinations. 
• Submit an application and pay the appropriate fees.

How do I get a plumbing license in NJ?

To get your master plumber license, you need to meet certain requirements along your journey. 

Master Plumber License:

Here is a clear step-by-step list for obtaining a master plumber license:

  1. Be at least 21 years old by the time the master plumber application is submitted. 
  2. After completing either the apprenticeship or the bachelor’s degree path, register as a journeyman plumber, receive training under a master plumber during this one-year period, and pay the application fee. 
  3. Provide proof to the Board that you have completed one of the following:
    1. A four-year apprenticeship program approved by the United States Department of Labor, including education in propane services, followed by at least 1,200 hours of practical hands-on experience as a journeyman plumber in New Jersey.
    2. A bachelor’s degree in mechanical, plumbing, or sanitary engineering from an accredited college or university, including education in propane services, followed by at least 1,200 hours of practical hands-on experience as a journeyman plumber in New Jersey.
  4. Submit a completed examination application to the Board.
  5. Once the Board reviews the submitted information, they will send a letter informing you of your eligibility to take the licensing examination, along with the time and location of the exams.
  6. Upon successful completion of the exams, you will receive your license in the mail. 

All forms and documents can be submitted online. Further inquiries can be mailed to: 

Brenda Cruz
Acting Executive Director
P.O. Box 45008
Newark, New Jersey 07101

NJ plumbing license exam

The plumbing license exam ensures that master plumbers in the state have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their jobs safely and effectively. By passing the appropriate exams, applicants demonstrate that they have a comprehensive understanding of plumbing systems, codes, regulations, and safety practices. 

Master plumber applicants must take the Trade Exam, Business and Law Exam, and Practical Exam.

A score of 70% or above is required to pass each exam. The master plumber exams consist of 25-100 questions over 130-195 minutes. Here’s a breakdown of each exam:

Master Plumber Trade Exam:

100 questions, passing score of 70%, 195 minutes allowed. 

Subjects include:

  • General knowledge.
  • Materials, uses, and specifications. 
  • Traps, interceptors, and backflow prevention.
  • Plumbing futures, fixture fittings, and plumbing appliances.
  • Water supply systems. 
  • Drains and waste.

Business and Law Exam:

50 questions, 70% passing score, 130 minutes allowed

Subjects include: 

  • Business organization.
  • Licensing.
  • Estimating and bidding.
  • Contract management.
  • Project management.
  • Risk management. 
  • Safety. 
  • Labor law.
  • Financial management. 
  • Tax law. 
  • Lien law.

Master Plumber Practical Exam:

25 questions, 70% passing score, 130 minutes allowed

Subjects include: 

  • Isometric analysis. 
  • Figure analysis. 

You can register for the exam here. 

Does NJ reciprocate plumbing licenses?

Yes, New Jersey reciprocates with plumbers who are licensed in other states. That means if you are licensed in another state, you may be able to earn your New Jersey Plumbing License more easily. However, the licensing standards of those states must be equal to or comparable with those of New Jersey, and the other state must reciprocate with New Jersey as well. 

Here are the states that have been reviewed and approved by the Plumbing Board for reciprocity:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana*
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri*
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington*
  • Washington, DC
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

*Please note that these states have additional requirements. You can find more information here about reciprocating your license. 

How much is a plumbing license in NJ?

The cost to become a master plumber encompasses different areas of the licensing journey. Prior to renewal, you can expect to pay $825. 

Here’s how the main costs break down:

Fee TypeAmount
Master License Fee$160
Master License Renewal Fee$160
Apprentice Registration$50
Journeyman Registration$75
Late Renewal fee$50
Reinstatement Fee$150
Exam Application Fee$100
Business Law Exam Fee$47
Master Plumber Trade Exam Fee$87
Trade Practical Exam Fee$106

NJ plumbing license renewal

Master plumber licenses need to be renewed every two years on June 30th of odd-numbered years. License holders will receive a reminder about the renewal process approximately 60 days before the expiration date. 

To maintain the license, every licensee must complete five credits of continuing education in a Board-approved course within each two-year period. It is important for licensees to keep records of their continuing education attendance for a period of four years. 

You can renew your license here. 

What happens if my New Jersey plumbing license expires? 

If your master plumber license expires and you continue to work, it can lead to significant consequences. You have 30 days to renew your license after the expiration date. 

Operating without a valid license is a violation of state regulations and can result in legal penalties and fines up to $2,000 and restrictions on performing plumbing work. Without a valid license, you may face limited job opportunities as many employers require licensed plumbers. Additionally, insurance coverage may be affected, which is crucial for protecting yourself and your clients from potential damages or accidents. 

Renewing an expired license may require fulfilling additional requirements, such as completing missed continuing education credits. To avoid complications, it is essential to stay informed about the renewal process and submit all necessary documentation and fees in a timely manner.

Requirements for business owners

Getting your plumbing license is a great first step that will benefit your financial future. And if you’re looking to take it to the next level, you can start your own plumbing business

A plumbing contractor in New Jersey is an individually licensed master plumber or a legal entity like a firm, partnership, or corporation that takes on plumbing projects for others. They plan, supervise, install, and repair plumbing systems. 

To have a plumbing business in New Jersey, you must be licensed as a master plumber. If you want to work as an independent plumbing contractor, you will need general liability insurance and a Federal Tax Identification Number

These requirements ensure that plumbing contractors are qualified and responsible for their work.

Now, you’re ready to start your plumbing career in New Jersey! If you need to, refer back here for more information about plumbing licenses or business support.

Does a plumbing license in New Jersey increase your earning potential? 

Yes, a plumbing license in New Jersey can increase your earning potential. New Jersey is the one of the highest-paying states for plumbers with an average annual wage of $54,998.  

Having a license allows you to take on more complex projects and access higher-paying job opportunities. Additionally, with increased licensing credentials, you may be able to negotiate better rates with clients.

If you want to find out more about your earning potential in this bountiful industry, check out the Essential Plumber Salary Guide for 2023

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