Texas Plumbing License: How to Get Certified as a Plumber in Texas
Want to become a plumber in Texas? There’s never been a better time. America is experiencing a plumber shortage (among other things), and plumbing demand is set to grow by another 5% over the next 8 years.
Historically low mortgage rates have led thousands to purchase new properties, and these brand-new homeowners need plumbers. Mortgage rates are rising in 2022, but that doesn’t stop toilets from leaking or furnaces from malfunctioning. More houses need more plumbers, which creates ideal circumstances for Texas plumbers looking for work—whether you own a local business or work for a bigger corporation.
Rest assured, you’ll always have work as a plumber in Texas. It could be for major housing developments, or it might just be for Chip and Joanna Gaines (you never know).
Ready to seize the moment and get to work? Before you start installing bathtubs or repairing pipes, you’ll need to get a Texas plumber’s license. Don’t worry—we’ve broken down the entire process step by step to make it easier for you to find the information you need:
- Do you need a license to be a plumber in Texas?
- How do I get a plumbing license in Texas?
- Plumbing License Types in Texas
- Texas Plumbing Endorsements
- Texas plumbing license requirements
- I am a heading 2
- Do I need to renew my plumber license?
- What happens if my plumber license expires?
- Does plumber certification in Texas increase your earning potential?
We’ll show you everything you need to know—whether you’re a brand-new Texas plumber or just looking to renew your license. Bookmark this page and check it whenever you have a question about plumbing licenses in Texas.
Do you need a license to be a plumber in Texas?
Yes, you need a license to be a plumber in Texas. The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE) is in charge of licensing plumbers in Texas, and it’s responsible for issuing all licenses, endorsements, and registrations.
Some trades in certain states allow experts to perform minimal work without a license, but that’s not the case for plumbers in Texas.
No license, no plumbing work.
That means no repairing leaky faucets or installing toilets. No remodeling houses and no plugging gas lines. You need a license to perform any of this work.
Brand-new plumbers start as apprentices, which doesn’t require a license. You don’t even need a high school diploma. However, you still must be registered with the state, and the state limits which tasks you can perform when a licensed plumber isn’t present.
For example, you won’t be able to install appliances or rework piping, but you’d be allowed to dig trenches.
You’ll be eligible to get an official Texas plumber’s license once you obtain training and experience under the supervision of a licensed Master Plumber. To reach the highest level of certification in Texas, you’ll need a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate—just keep that in mind as you move up the ranks.
Next, we’ll show you the entire plumber’s journey from apprentice to master (and even plumbing inspector).
How do I get a plumbing license in Texas?
Plumbers in Texas must follow a rigid multi-step process starting from the ground up. Texas has 4 types of plumbing licenses, and each one lets you perform different types of work:
- Tradesman Plumber – Limited License
- Journeyman Plumber License
- Master Plumber License
- Plumbing Inspector License
All plumbers in Texas begin as Plumber’s Apprentices. As an apprentice, you’ll complete the required hours of experience and classroom training to get a Tradesman Plumber (limited license) or Journeyman Plumber license. From there, the license and requirements will vary depending on whether you want to pursue a Master Plumber License or Plumbing Inspector License.
To register as an apprentice, you must:
- Be 16 years of age or older
- Submit a Plumber’s Apprentice Registration Application
- Pay a $15 fee
You’ll have to find an employer to sponsor your apprenticeship. They’ll be responsible for assigning you to work with a Responsible Master Plumber, who’ll instruct and give you opportunities to put your newfound knowledge to the test.
Plumbing License Types in Texas
Before we get into the licenses and their scope of work, let’s go over a few quick definitions:
Direct supervision means “that the Journeyman or Master is on the job site with you at all times as you are performing plumbing work.
Responsible Master Plumber isn’t just an opinion or personal distinction—it’s a designation you must receive by staying in good standing with TSBPE and obtaining at least $300,000 worth of commercial liability insurance coverage.
Tradesman Plumber-Limited License
Plumbers with a Tradesman Plumber-Limited license can build, install, repair, service, and renovate plumbing for 1- and 2-family units, but they must be under the supervision of a certified Responsible Master Plumber. Tradesman Plumbers can supervise apprentices on job sites (overseen by a Master Plumber).
They can also assist Master Plumbers and Journeyman Plumbers with other work on job sites beyond 1- or 2-family dwellings, but they can’t be in charge of the projects.
Journeyman Plumber License
Journeyman Plumbers can install, repair, change, service, and renovate plumbing with the supervision of a Master Plumber. They can supervise apprentices on any job site and supervise Tradesman Plumbers on job sites other than 1- or 2-family units.
Master Plumber License
As a Master Plumber, you’ll be certified to perform all plumbing work that doesn’t require additional endorsements and registrations. For example, you’ll be able to install, repair, service, and renovate plumbing on a job site, but you won’t be able to install or service residential fire sprinklers without the required endorsement.
However, unless you’re a Responsible Master Plumber, you’ll still need supervision from a Responsible Master Plumber on any work you do.
Plumbing Inspector License
Plumbing Inspectors inspect plumbing work performed within any jurisdiction where the inspector is affiliated. Inspectors don’t have the licensing to perform plumbing work.
Texas Plumbing Endorsements
Texas Master Plumbers, Journeyman Plumbers, and Plumbing Inspectors can obtain endorsements to perform additional work:
- Medical Gas Piping Installation Endorsement;
- Multipurpose Residential Fire Protection Sprinkler Specialist Endorsement; and
- Water Supply Protection Specialist Endorsement
You must meet the eligibility requirements, pass an examination, and pay a fee to receive each of these endorsements. You must renew your endorsements once every 3 years, and the expiration date of your endorsement is automatically assigned to the experimentation date of your license.
Medical Gas Piping Installation Endorsement
Journeyman and Master Plumbers with this endorsement can install piping that’s used to transport gasses for medical purposes. A Responsible Master Plumber (who also holds this endorsement) must provide direct supervision for this work.
Plumbing Inspectors with a Medical Gas Piping Installation Endorsement can inspect medical gas vacuum piping installation.
Multipurpose Residential Fire Protection Sprinkler Specialist Endorsement
Journeyman and Master Plumbers with the Multipurpose Residential Fire Protection Sprinkler Specialist Endorsement can install multipurpose residential fire sprinklers systems in 1- or 2-family dwellings. A Responsible Master Plumber with this endorsement must provide supervision.
Plumbing Inspectors who hold this endorsement can inspect the installation of these sprinkler systems.
Water Supply Protection Specialist Endorsement
Journeyman and Master Plumbers with the Water Supply Protection Specialist Endorsement can install, repair, and service plumbing used for treatment, distribution, and use of rainwater to supply a plumbing fixture, irrigation system, or appliance. A Responsible Master Plumber with this endorsement must provide supervision.
Journeyman and Master Plumbers with this endorsement can also perform customer service inspections for public drinking water systems.
Plumbing inspectors who hold this endorsement can inspect the plumbing installation for any of the work described above.
Texas plumbing license requirements
Tradesman Plumber-Limited License requirements
- Be registered as an Apprentice Plumber in Texas or a Journeyman Plumber or Master Plumber in another state
- Complete 4,000+ hours of documented plumbing work
- Finish 24 hours of classroom training
- Pass the Tradesman Plumber-Limited exam
- Submit Tradesman Plumber-Limited Examination application and Employer’s Certification Form
- Pay a $36 fee
Journeyman Plumber License requirements
- Be registered as a Plumbers Apprentice or Tradesman Plumber in Texas or be certified as Journeyman or Master Plumber in another state
- Complete 8,000+ hours of documented plumbing work
- Finish 48 hours of classroom training
- Pass the Journeyman Plumber exam
- Submit the Journeyman Plumber Examination application and Employer Certification Form
- Pay a $40 fee
Master Plumber License requirements
- Obtain a high school diploma or GED
- Be licensed as a Journeyman Plumber in Texas or another state for at least 4 years
- Be licensed as a Journeyman Plumber in Texas or another state for at least 1 year and complete an approved training program
- Be licensed as a Master Plumber in another state and have held a Journeyman Plumber License for at least 4 years
- Be licensed as a Master Plumber in another state and have held a Journeyman Plumber License for at least 1 year and complete an approved training program
- Pass the Master Plumber exam
- Submit the Master Plumber Examination Application
- Pay a $175 fee
Plumbing Inspector License requirements
- Obtain a high school diploma or GED
- Complete 500 hours of training and experience in the plumbing industry or have one of the following licenses:
- Master Plumber in Texas
- Journeyman Plumber in Texas
- Professional Engineer in Texas
- Architect in Texas
- Plumbing Inspector in another state with “substantially equivalent” licensing requirements to the TSBPE
- Pass the Plumbing Inspector exam
- Submit a Plumbing Inspector Examination Application and Plumbing Inspector Employer Certification Form
- Pay a $55 fee
How much does it cost to get a plumber license in Texas?
Obtaining a plumbers license in Texas isn’t too expensive, but you’ll need to stay on top of your costs to stay registered in the state. Here are the costs you can expect depending on your type of license:
- $15 registration fee
- $36 exam fee
- $35 initial license fee
- $35 renewal fee
- $40 exam fee
- $40 initial license fee
- $40 renewal fee
- $175 exam fee
- $75 initial license fee
- $75 renewal fee
Responsible Master Plumber Designation:
- $225 initial application fee
- $300 renewal fee
- $55 exam fee
- $55 initial license fee
- $55 renewal fee
Do I need to renew my plumber license?
Yes, you need to renew your Texas plumber’s license. Each license needs to be renewed annually. Your first license will have a random expiration date between 6 to 18 months after passing your licensure exam (except for Plumbing Inspectors).
All texas plumbers must complete 6 hours of continuing professional education to renew their licenses.
You can renew your license online within 2 months of its expiration or if it has expired for 275 days or less. Follow the TSBPE’s step-by-step instructions here.
If you don’t want to submit any of your applications online and would prefer a paper copy, you can find all of the TSBPE’s forms here.
What happens if my plumber license expires?
You can’t renew a license that has expired for more than 2 years. At this point, you must reinstate it—and that’s equivalent to “you never held that license or registration at all” in the eyes of the TSBPE. You must start over as a Plumber’s Apprentice and advance through the ranks again.
Missing smaller deadlines has less severe penalties. You will have to pay a late-renewal fee when you send in your application, and you won’t be able to perform any plumbing work during your unlicensed period.
Does plumber certification in Texas increase your earning potential?
Curious if getting a plumber’s certification in Texas is worth your time? Guess no longer. Check out our plumber salary guide to find exactly what you could be making across the country with different levels of experience and licensing.
According to our data, Apprentice Plumbers make an average of $36,526 per year while Journeyman Plumbers make $56,054—that’s a 53% wage increase.
We’ve compiled up-to-date salary data organized by state, experience, and job title to help you see your earning potential, regardless of the project or where you’re working in the country.
Not sure what you should be asking for as a Master Plumber in Texas? Curious if you could be making more in New Mexico? Find answers to all your questions in our Plumber Salary Guide.