How To Get Plumbing License?

If you are interested in plumbing work or you want to own a plumbing business, or just want to do some work on the side as a hustle to support your income, there are many ways to start it, but the first thing that you must do is to get a plumbing license because you can’t legally do plumbing work without a plumbing license.

To start a plumbing business in the U.S. you are legally required to have a plumbing license to ensure best practices.

According to Comfy Living, there are 58,000 licensed plumbers in the U.S. right now.


So if want to know the licensing process then this guide is for you!

Here we have covered how you can get a plumbing license and what a licensed plumber is.

What is a Licensed Plumber?

What is a Licensed Plumber

A licensed plumber is a professional in the plumbing area who has the necessary qualifications by having their own license, which also allows them to work legally in their own city, state, or country.

The requirement for a plumbing license differs from city to city, state to state, or even country to country.

Even though it is not legally a necessity to have a license to do some of the plumbing work, some work does not require any license, but having it allows you to know what you need to do so that you can do anything by the book, ready for inspections and health reasons.

Read: How To Start A Plumbing Business Of 2023?

What are the Types of Plumbing Certifications?

The availability of different types of plumbing certifications varies from state to state. However, the three common types of plumbing licenses that most states offer are:

  • Master: This is the highest level of permit that allows a plumber to run their plumbing businesses, pull permits for projects, and supervise journeymen.
  • Journeyman: This is an entry-level license that allows a person to work under the supervision of a master.
  • Apprentice: This is the most basic level of permit that allows a person to carry out limited duties under a master’s supervision.

Plumbing License Requirements

Plumbing License Requirements

Requirements for a plumbing license are not the same everywhere, and you need to consult a professional to know about the requirements in your own county or state to know what you need, but in general, you either need a certain set of education or experience working as an apprentice by working with a licensed plumber.

The main idea behind it is to know about everything regarding plumbing and to do the right work that would comply with legal issues and do not cause any health hazards to those living in the household.

Also Read: What Plumbing Work Can Be Done Without License Of 2023?

How To Get a Plumbing License?

How To Get a Plumbing License

If you want to become a licensed plumber, then here are some basic steps that you need to complete:

1. Obtain necessary education

You need to complete your GED or obtain a high-school diploma to become a plumber. Algebra, Physics, and Geometry are subjects that will help you the most in this field.

After this, you have to obtain specialized education in plumbing. For this, you can either join a trade school or a technical college offering a plumbing course.

This should be followed by vocational training to prepare you for the day-to-day tasks.

2. Get Training

After finishing your theoretical study, you need to now obtain relevant training to be able to perform plumbing work.

For this, you have to complete an apprenticeship program. In some programs, your institute will arrange the apprenticeship program for you, while in others, you will have to find it yourself.

The apprenticeship program will last for four years, or it might require you to complete 4,000 and 12,000 hours of training to obtain a journeyman license.

During the apprenticeship program, you will work under a licensed plumber and learn all the skills necessary to become a plumber.

3. Pass State Licensing Exam

Many states require you to pass a licensing exam. You might have to study plumbing codes, trades, business, and laws to prepare for the exam.

Different states conduct license exams in different time gaps. However, on average, most states conduct the exam in two months.

4. Finish Licensing Application Requirements

To operate independently or start your plumbing business in most states, you must finish some legal requirements.

You do not need a license to work in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. However, in other states, you might need to complete the following requirements:

  • Proof of apprenticeship period
  • State registration of your business entity
  • Professional recommendations 
  • Names and addresses of company owners 
  • Surety bond
  • Insurance: property damage insurance, general liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

5. Apply for a license. 

After finishing your education, apprenticeship, and other requirements, you can now apply for a journeyman plumber license.

For this, you will have to pay a small fee and fill out an application form. The license will be valid for up to two years, after which you can get it renewed.

After working as a journeyman plumber, if you now want to work as a master plumber, then you will have to pass another exam and have to demonstrate journeyman work of 2,000 and 6,000 hours. By becoming a master plumber, you can, in

How to Become a Master Plumber in NYC?

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of a license is not the same everywhere as the requirements for it are not the same because if a state requires formal education, this increases the costs drastically since you need to enroll in a course and pay a tuition fee.

The license is cheaper in states where you only need an apprenticeship program.

On average, for states where you need to get a formal education, you need to pay $1,500; for states that need an apprenticeship program, you can expect to pay around $1,000, and you also need to pay a license fee which is somewhere around $250.

Also Read: How Much Do Plumbing Business Owners Make Of 2023?

Is It Illegal to Work as a Plumber Without a License?

Is It Illegal to Work as a Plumber Without a License

No, different states have different legal requirements to work as a plumber.

Some states allow you to work as a plumber without a license, while some charge a penalty if you are caught working without a license.

For example, You need a license to work in Michigan as a plumber, and if you are caught without a license, you will be fined $5000.

However, in Kansas, you can do plumbing work without a license.

To know if a license is required in your state or not or to learn more about penalties, check out your local jurisdiction.

How to get a Plumbing Contractor’s License in Florida?

Does Obtaining a Plumbing License Increase Your Earning Potential?

Yes, by obtaining a plumbing license, you can increase your earning potential. This is because, with a license, you can take on more projects and, thus, earn more money.

The national average salary of a plumber is $54,605. However, this average increases as you increase the level of your license.

For example: as a journeyman, you can earn 54% more as compared to apprentice plumbers. And as master plumbers, you can earn 18% more on average as compared to journeyman plumbers.

The Verdict

To conclude, even though it is not a necessity for every plumbing work, getting a license is something you need to have if you are thinking about doing it professionally to earn some side money or want to change careers to plumbing.

You need to comply with several necessities to get the license, like doing an apprenticeship or getting a formal education, depending on the state you are living in.

When you are a licensed plumber, you can do any work related to plumbing, and you will have to knowledge to comply with the legal requirements of your job.

Also Read: Plumbing Leads – 4 Methods to Get Hands-On Qualified Leads


How long will it take for me to become a licensed plumber?

Depending on the level of certification you want and your state, it might take up to five years on average to become a licensed plumber.

To know more about the license requirement in your city, check with your local authority.

What type of license do I need to work as a Plumber in California?

You are needed to obtain a C36 Plumbing Contractor license from CSLB (California Contractors State Licensing Board) to work as a Plumber in California.

What type of license do I need to work as a Plumber in Illinois?

Illinois Department of Public Health regulates the working of Plumbers in the state, and to work there legally, you are required to pass an exam.

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