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Oregon Plumbing License: How to Get Certified as a Plumber in OR State

May 30, 2023 11 min. read
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In a market full of uncertainty, getting your plumbing license can help secure your financial future. If you’re looking for a high entry salary, you’ll find that the plumbing industry has a high floor and lots of room to grow—particularly in Oregon.  

Entry-level plumbers in Oregon make an average salary of $40,000, which can increase to nearly $50,000 in just a few years.

That means now is the best time to get your plumbing license and start working towards financial stability in this profitable  market. 

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

If you’re serious about getting your Oregon 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 Oregon.

Do you need a plumbing license in Oregon?

Yes, in Oregon, a plumbing license is required for anyone who wants to perform plumbing work. The state requires plumbers to be licensed in order to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform plumbing work safely and effectively. 

In Oregon, plumbing licenses are issued by the State Plumbing Board

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

  • Install and repair pipes, fittings, medical gas systems, and fixtures of heating, water, and drainage systems.
  • Install and repair sinks, commodes, bathtubs, water heaters, hot water tanks, garbage disposal units, dishwashers, and water according to specifications and plumbing codes.
  • Locate and mark the position of pipes, pipe connections, and passage holes for pipes in walls and floors using a ruler, spirit level, and plumb bob.
  • Cut openings in walls and floors to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings using hand tools and a threading machine.
  • Bend pipe using a pipe-bending machine or by placing pipe over a block and bending it by hand.
  • Assemble and install valves, pipe fittings, and pipes composed of various metals or glass, vitrified clay, and plastic using hand tools and power tools.
  • Weld holding fixtures to structures.

Without a plumbing license, you will not legally be able to perform any plumbing work.

Types of plumbing licenses in Oregon

The type of license you need will depend on the type of work you would like to do. Oregon offers multiple licenses, so make sure you know which one is right for you. 

The State Plumbing Board divides plumbing licenses into two types: Individual Licenses and Contractor Licenses.

The main difference between an individual plumbing license and a contractor plumbing license in Oregon is the scope of responsibilities and the ability to enter into contracts directly with clients. 

An individual plumber license holder primarily works under a licensed contractor, whereas a plumbing contractor license allows the licensee to operate a plumbing contracting business and take on larger projects independently.

License TypesDescription
Journeyman Plumber License holders may perform all plumbing installations, alterations, or remodels.
Water-Treatment InstallerLicense holders may make connections to potable water systems and indirect waste connections to existing drain waste and vent systems.
Residential Water-Heater InstallerLicense holders may replace existing water heaters in family dwellings.
Solar Heating and Cooling InstallerLicense holders may install and replace solar heating and cooling systems, which includes setting up collectors, transferring heat, storing heat, and installing the pipes that are needed when replacing or converting an existing water heating or cooling system. They are also responsible for installing the piping and other parts necessary for the temperature pressure relief valve. In addition, license holders can install collectors, heat transfer systems, storage tanks, pumps, valves, and associated piping for solar heating and cooling systems.
Plumbing Contractor Business (Plumbing Contractor License)License holders may advertise their plumbing business and provide labor and materials or labor only for plumbing work. They can also install, change, and repair plumbing systems.
• Plumbing and Boiler (and Restricted) Business
• Plumbing and Limited Maintenance Specialty Contractor
• Plumbing and Limited Pump Installation Contractor
• Plumbing and Boiler Business and Limited Maintenance Specialty Contractor HVAC/R
• Plumbing and Boiler Business and Electrical Contractor
License holders may obtain a combination contractor/business license that has the same requirements as the corresponding individual licenses. 

Oregon plumbing license requirements

In order to obtain your plumbing license and start working, you need to meet all the requirements listed by the State Plumbing Board. 

Here are the requirements for each type of license:

License TypeRequirements
Journeyman Plumber• Be at least 18 years old.
• Complete an apprenticeship program or training approved by the Oregon Plumbing Board, or have completed 576 hours of academic classroom training. 
• Have at least 7,700 hours of plumbing work experience. 
• Provide proof of high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, and a passport-style photo. 
• Pay the application fee.
• Schedule and pass the exam.
Water-Treatment Installer• Be at least 18 years old
• Complete an approved apprenticeship program or training by the Oregon Plumbing Board. 
• Have 210 hours of experience and training, and 3,000 hours of training in plumbing. 
• Provide proof of high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, and a passport-style photo.
• Pay the application fee.
• Schedule and pass the exam.
Residential Water-Heater Installer• Be at least 18 years of age.
• Have an Electrical Limited Specialty (LMS) license and a plumbing contractor license, and be a sole proprietor, partner, or employee of a corporation. 
• Complete an approved 8-hour training class for WHIs.
• Provide proof of high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, and a passport-style photo.
• Pay the application fee.
• Schedule and pass the exam.
Solar Heating and Cooling Installer• Be at least 18 years old.
• Complete a division-approved training program including 2,288 hours of classroom and on-the-job training or have 2,000 hours of lawful experience and training in these categories
• Provide proof of high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, and a passport-style photo.
• Pay the application fee.
• Schedule and pass the exam.

How do I get a plumbing license in Oregon?

As you can see, there are different licenses you need to get along your journey of becoming a fully licensed plumber in Oregon. 

Now, let’s go over the steps you need to take to get the necessary licenses. 

Individual Licenses: 

  1. Fill out the Plumbing License Application:
  2. Meet the work experience requirements for your specific plumbing license type:
    • Journeyman Plumber: 576 hours of classroom and 7,700 hours of plumbing work experience. 
    • Water-Treatment Installer: 210 hours of training, and 3,000 of plumbing work experience. 
    • Residential Water-Heater Installer: 8 hours of training class for WHIs.
    • Solar Heating and Cooling Installer: 2,288 hours of classroom and on-the-job training or 2,000 hours of lawful experience and training.
  3. Mail or fax all completed documents in a single packet to the address below. Don’t email any documents to the division. All license types use this application form
  4. After your application is received and approved, the Board will mail you a letter of authorization that details how to schedule the licensing exam.
  5. Upon successful completion of the exam, you will receive your license in the mail. 

Contractor Licenses:

  1. Fill out the Contractor/Business License Application.
    • Check the correct license type. 
    • List previous licenses.
    • List Construction Contractor Board (CCB) licenses.
    • Register your business name with the Secretary of State.
    • Mail or fax all completed documents in a single packet to the Building Codes Division. Don’t email any documents to the division.
  2. Designate a Signing Supervisor.
  3. Verify employees, if required for your license.
    • Submit a list of employees for the specific contractor types listed.
  4. Wait for approval and receive the relevant license and certificate application forms by mail.
    • Contractor/Business License Application.
    • Individual License Application.
    • Plumbing Experience Verification Form.
    • Verification of Qualifying Person’s Experience for Contractor/Business License Application.

All forms and documents can be mailed to the following address: 

DCBS Fiscal Services
PO BOX 14610
Salem OR, 97309-0445

Oregon plumbing license exam

Oregon plumbers must take a written examination. The exam consists of 64 questions and takes four hours to complete. To pass the examination and become a licensed journeyman, plumbers must achieve a score of at least 75%. 

The exam questions cover various topics pertaining to plumbing. These topics include:

  • Vents and venting
  • Administrative procedures
  • Fixtures
  • Drainage systems

During the exam, plumbers are allowed to use reference materials, which are considered open-book. Before taking the exam, plumbers must have their exam material approved by the state. However, it is essential for plumbers to study these topics thoroughly before taking the exam to ensure they have the knowledge needed to pass the examination.

Does Oregon reciprocate plumbing licenses?

Plumbing reciprocity licenses allow licensed plumbers in one state to transfer their licenses to another state with a reciprocity agreement. This means they can start working as a plumber right away without restarting the license application process. 

Currently, journeyman plumbers in Ohio are able to transfer or reciprocate their licenses from Idaho and Montana.

How much is a plumbing license in Oregon?

The cost to become a plumber depends on the type of licenses you need. You can expect to pay at minimum $840-$1575 for the application fee and exams. 

Here’s how the main costs break down:

License TypeFee
Individual plumbing license application fee$100
Plumbing contractor business application fee$150
Plumbing and boiler business and restricted energy contractor (PBR)$1,020
Plumbing and limited maintenance specialty contractor (PM)$225
Plumbing and limited pump installation contractor (PP)$225
Plumbing and boiler business and limited maintenance specialty contractor HVAC/R (PBH)$720
Plumbing and boiler business and electrical contractor (PBE)$1,020
Exam cost$305
Journeyman plumber license renewal$180, including $30 fee to track continuing education
Plumbing contractor business renewal fee$450
Limited specialty plumber water treatment installer license renewal fee$150
Limited specialty plumber residential water heater installer license renewal fee$150
Limited specialty plumber solar heating and cooling installer license renewal fee$150

Oregon plumbing license renewal

If you think your plumbing license has expired, stop performing all plumbing work and renew your license. 

Individual plumbing licenses and plumbing contractor licenses must be renewed every 3 years on July 1.

If you have a license issued by the division, you can renew it online as long as it’s within 45 days of the expiration date. You can find the expiration date printed on the front of the license. You’ll also receive a renewal notice by mail 45 days before your license expires.

During each three-year cycle of your license, you’ll need to complete a certain number of hours of continuing education, depending on your specialty. The required hours can be 4-24, depending on your license and how long you have had it. 

You have the flexibility to take continuing education classes at any time during your license renewal cycle.

All licenses can be renewed here

What happens if my plumbing license expires? 

If you don’t renew your license by the expiration date, your license will fall into the “expired-renewable” status. You are not eligible to work under your license until all the renewal requirements are met, including continuing education.

The expiration date is listed on the front of your license.

If a plumber works with an expired license in Oregon, they may face a range of fines and penalties. The specific consequences depend on the nature of the violation. However, some possible fines and penalties include:

  • Suspension or revocation of the plumber’s license.
  • A fine of up to $5,000 per violation.
  • A requirement to complete additional continuing education or training.
  • A requirement to pass an additional examination.
  • Liability for damages resulting from work performed with an expired or invalid license.

These penalties can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case, including the severity of the violation and the plumber’s prior history of compliance with licensing regulations.

Requirements for business owners

Getting your Oregon 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

In Oregon, it’s a legal requirement for plumbing contractors to have general liability insurance. This insurance is designed to provide financial protection in case of accidents, damages, or injuries that may occur during construction or contracting work. The purpose of this insurance is to safeguard both the contractor and the clients they serve.

Starting your own plumbing business can be done with these 10 straightforward steps:

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

Does a plumbing license in Oregon increase your earning potential? 

Yes, a plumbing license in Oregon can increase your earning potential. On average, plumbers in Oregon start at $40,334, while plumbers with 3-6 years of experience make around $50,159, and with 7-10 years of experience make $56,135. 

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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