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Ohio Plumbing License: How to Get Certified as a Plumber in OH

December 9, 2022
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The Ohio plumbing market has been growing steadily, making now the perfect time to get your license. In the past five years the market has seen a yearly growth rate of 2.6%. This upward trend is expected to continue with the industry projected to reach 7.6 million dollars by 2024, which means the demand for plumbers is only going up.

The increase in demand for plumbers is probably why Ohio 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. Amidst this steadily growing market, you can be sure that earning your plumbing license will be a good return on investment.

Interested in getting your plumbing license in Ohio 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 Ohio plumbing license questions.

Do plumbers need to be licensed in Ohio?

Yes, you need to hold a contractor license in order to perform commercial plumbing work in Ohio. Commercial contractor licenses are issued by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB)

There’s no state-wide licensing requirement for residential plumbing but some municipalities require general contractor licenses to perform residential plumbing work. Check with your city’s governance for any local licensing regulations.

Types of plumbing licenses in Ohio

Ohio only has one state-wide license: the commercial contractor license. This license permits plumbers to work on commercial buildings or projects. The state does not offer any license classifications such as journeyman or master level.

Some municipalities offer various license types such as a journeyman, master, or general contractor license that allow plumbers to perform repairs and adjustments to residential systems.

Ohio plumbing license requirements

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for their state contractor license:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a United States citizen or  provide documentation authorizing work in the United States
  • Fulfill the necessary education and training requirements
  • No convictions of a disqualifying offense
  • Carry a minimum of $500,000 contractor liability coverage
  • Pay any applicable fees

How do I get an Ohio plumbing license?

It takes around five to seven years to earn a contractor license. The length of the process depends on the path plumbers take to meet the required experience. The process is as follows:

  1. Gain the necessary experience: Applicants must have at least five years of experience to be eligible for a license, which they can get by working with a tradesman license for at least five years or as a state-registered engineer with three years of plumbing experience in the construction industry. 
  2. Submit a background check: Once the board has approved an applicant’s experience, applicants must undergo a background check prior to taking their exam. Providers can be found on the Attorney General’s website.
  3. Pass the exams: After passing the background check, applicants must pass both a contractor exam and a Business and Law examination. Exams are administered through PSI Exams and both tests require a score of 70% or higher to pass.
  4. Submit an application: Once an applicant has completed the above steps, they can fill out an application to receive their license. Applications must be notarized to be considered valid. When submitting an application, applicants must also include a copy of their exam results and proof of $500,000 general liability insurance. 

Applications can be sent to:

Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board
6606 Tussing Road
PO Box 4009
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-9009

Ohio plumbing license test

Applicants will need to take a contractor exam as well as a Business and Law exam, which are administered through PSI exams. Eligible applicants will be sent a Candidate Information Bulletin with information on how to schedule their exam. The contractor exam is 100 questions long and must be completed within four hours, while the Business and Law exam is 50 questions long and must be completed within two hours.

The contractor exam covers the following topics:

  • General Knowledge and Requirements
  • General Regulations
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Water Supply Systems
  • Drainage, Waste, and Sanitary Vents
  • Indirect Wastes
  • Roof Drain Piping
  • Specialty Plumbing
  • Isometric Analysis

The Business and Law exam covers the following topics:

  • Business Org
  • Licensing
  • Estimating and Bidding
  • Contract Management
  • Project Management
  • Insurance and Bonding
  • OSHA Record Keeping and Safety
  • Personnel Regulations
  • Financial Management
  • Tax Laws
  • Lien Laws

Both exams are open book and applicants will need a score of 70% or higher to pass.

Ohio plumbing license reciprocity

Some states have reciprocity agreements in place that allow one state license to be valid in another state. Ohio currently has reciprocity agreements with the following states:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana

Individuals within these states are eligible for reciprocity if they have taken their state’s licensing exam. Those who were grandfathered in (meaning they earned their license but did not take the state exam) will need to take additional steps to become certified before their license will be valid in Ohio.

Ohio plumbing license costs

There are a few costs associated with earning a plumbing license. In total, you can expect to pay between $200–250 to get your license. 


  • Contractor exam fee: $69
  • Business and Law exam fee: $69


  • Background check: varies based on provider (between $32–50)
  • Application fee: $25


  • One year renewal: $60
  • Three year renewal: $180

Ohio plumbing license renewal 

Contractor licenses need to be renewed annually in order to remain active, though plumbers have the option to pay upfront and renew on a three-year basis. To check the status of your license, you can use the license lookup tool.

To be eligible for renewal, contractors must complete eight hours of board-approved continuing education courses. Half of these hours must be completed during in-person classroom training and the other half can be completed online at your own pace. Approved courses can be found on the OCILB website.

What happens if my plumbing license expires? 

If your plumbing license expires, it’s important that you stop any plumbing work immediately to avoid fines or penalties. First use the license lookup tool to see the current status of your license. If your license has expired, pay the late fee 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 contractor licenses 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 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 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 Ohio increase your earning potential?

A plumbing license is not only required for plumbing work — it also helps increase your earning potential as you gain more experience. After just three years of experience, plumbers in Ohio see a 24% increase in salary. That’s an additional $8,454 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 your 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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