The Ultimate Guide to Plumbing Licensing Requirements by State

Plumbing Licensing Requirements by State:

Requirements by State

Plumbers are one of the few professions closely regulated by the United States. Nearly every state has requirements that professionals have to meet in order to practice in that state. But while the requirements can sometimes be the same throughout each state, requirements, and exams can be different throughout each state. Becoming a plumber can be very difficult as you have to go through years of training and schooling in order to get a license, so you will have to follow certain rules and regulations or otherwise lose your license.

So to help you become a better plumber and get your license, here is a guide on licensing requirements in different states. This list will go over everything that you need to know before you get your license and everything afterward.

Alaska

Getting a plumber’s license in Alaska is quite easy. Unlike most states that require prior means of education, there are other requirements that you will have to fulfill in order to qualify for the license. Moreover, you will have to get a license from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Here is what you need for each license:

  • Plumber Utility License: Before you can apply for this exam, you will need to show proof of experience in installing storm, sewer, and water lines. You will need a total of 1000 hours worth of experience.
  • Plumber Gas License: To apply for this license, you will need to 4000 hours of work experience under the supervision under a master plumber and at least 2000 hours’ worth of experience in installing gas pipes. However, you can substitute up to 500 hours of relevant education with that of work experience.
  • Journeyman License: You need proof of 8000 hours of work experience of residential plumbing or commercial plumbing. Here too, you can substitute 1000 hours worth of relevant education with work experience.

Alabama

You will need a state license in order to work in Alabama, for which you will have to contact the State of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board. Other than that, here are some of the requirements.

  • Journeyman License: To qualify for a license in Alabama, you need at least two years of experience as an apprentice. You can also qualify if you complete a board-approved apprenticeship training program. You will also have to give an exam.
  • Master License: You will first have to get a journeyman license and a year worth of experience as a journeyman plumber. You will have to pass an exam here as well.

Arkansas

Applying for a plumbing license Arkansas is quite simple. In order to get a Journeyman license, you will need 4000 hours’ worth of experience, and to get a Master’s license, you will need 5000 hours or a year of experience as a journeyman. And then, you can apply for a plumbing contractor’s license, for which you will have to pass the Contractor’s Law and Business exam.

Arizona

For Arizona, there are a lot of different licenses, each for a different purpose. You can get either a residential license, commercial license, or a dual license that covers both commercial and residential. You receive your license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. For both of these licenses, you will have to show at least 4 years of experience and will have to both a trade exam as well as a business exam to qualify for the license.

Colorado

In order to work in Colorado, plumbers require a state license. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, State Plumbing Board, awards different licenses for different purposes, each of which requires a different exam.

  • Residential Plumber license: a residential license is a smaller license that only requires 2 years of experience and an exam that you have to pass.
  • Journeyman License: 4 years of experience, and you will have to pass an exam to receive a license.
  • Master License: Proof of five years of experience or a year of experience as a journeyman plumber.

California

In order to be a plumber in the state of California, you first need a state contractor’s license. You can get this from the Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board. In order to qualify for a journeyman license, you will need 4 years of experience. To get a contractor’s license, you will need an extra 4 years of experience as a journeyman as well as pass a business, law, and trades exam. You will also need almost $15000 in a bond.

Connecticut

The Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection provides plumbing Licenses in Connecticut. Here are the requirements for licenses there:

  • Journeyman License: Completing an apprenticeship or having the right amount of training and expertise will grant you a Journeyman license.
  • Contractor: At least two years of experience as a journeyman plumber, as well as passing trade, business, and law exam, will grant you a contracting license.

Delaware

To work in Delaware as a Plumber, you will first need a master license awarded by the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation. This will allow you to install, design, repair, construct, alter, and modify pipes and similar apparatus for gas and water supplies. In order to get that master’s license, you will need a Journeyman certificate, for which you will need to complete an apprenticeship program. Other than the apprenticeship program, you will also need at least two years of experience under the supervision of a master plumber. You can also apply for the apprenticeship by-pass exam, for which you will need seven years of experience under the supervision of a licensed plumber. You need to pass both exams to receive a Master’s license.

Florida

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation provides licenses to plumbers. In order to qualify for the license, you will need to give proof of four years of experience, which can be substituted for education. You will have to pass an exam, as well as possess property damage, public liability, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Georgia

The Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers are responsible for statewide licensing in Georgia. So in order to work as a plumber in the state of Georgia, you will first need to receive a license from there.

  • Journeyman License: To receive this license, you will need to pass an exam and should have at least three years of experience as a plumber.
  • Master License: Other than passing an exam, you also need at least five years of experience – of which two years of experience should be as a journeyman. You can also replace this experience with prior experience as a military plumber, plumbing foreman, or a plumbing contractor.

Hawaii

Much like other states, Plumbers need to have a license in order to work in the state of Hawaii. Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing, Board of Electricians and Plumbers awards licenses to plumbers.

  • Journeyman License: You will need at least five years of experience under the supervision of a master plumber.
  • Master license: You will need to pass an exam and first have a journeyman license as well as at least two years of experience as a journeyman plumber.

Idaho

Idaho has very strict rules for plumbing licenses that it awards through the Idaho Division of Building Safety. And with this tight regulation, they have various plumbing licenses, each with their purpose.

  • Plumbing Apprentice: This only requires you to register, and you don’t need a license.
  • Journeyman License: After completing an apprenticeship program, you will need to show at least four years of experience under the supervision of a licensed journeyman plumber. After passing a trade exam, you will receive a journeyman plumber’s certificate.
  • Plumbing Contractor: This license requires two and a half years of experience as a journeyman plumber, and you will have to pass a test.
  • Specialty Plumbing Apprentice: Before you can receive a Specialty plumbing license, you will need to be an employee of a licensed specialty contractor of the same category. You will also have to be part of a recognized training course or have completed said training.
  • Specialty Journeyman License: For this license, you will have to pass a test, show 18 months of apprentice experience, and must have completed 72 hours of training.

Iowa

In order to operate as a plumber in Iowa, you will need a state license awarded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Plumbing, and Mechanical Systems Board.

  • Apprentice certificate: Before you can get a license, you will have to enroll in an apprenticeship program. This program requires the applicant to be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate.
  • Journeyman License: You will have to complete a board recognized apprenticeship program and pass the journeyman exam to receive this license. You will also need four years of experience as an apprentice.
  • Master license: You will have to pass a master license exam and have at least two years of experience as a journeyman license.
  • Plumbing contractor: You will need to show proof of liability insurance and a surety bond. Moreover, you will also have to register yourself with the Iowa Division of Labor.

Kentucky

Plumbers looking to work in the state of Kentucky must first have a state license, provided by the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction, Plumbing Division.

  • Journeyman License: To receive this license, you will first have to pass an exam and require two years of experience.
  • Master License: For a master’s license, all you need is a current journeyman license, and you can appear for the license exam.

Kansas

Although plumbers in the state of Kansas don’t need a state license to operate as a plumber, there are other requirements that different cities have. So be sure to check the local requirements of your city before you start working, to avoid any further problems.

Louisiana

Louisiana offers a state license that plumbers will need to hold before they can work. The State Plumbing Board of Louisiana awards these licenses to all plumbers in Louisiana.

  • Journeyman License: In order to apply for this license, you will first need to complete an approved apprenticeship program. After that, you will have to pass a trade exam and continue to take an approved course in order to renew your license every year.
  • Master license: You will need a current journeyman license in Louisiana, pass a trade exam, and finally complete your education in order to renew your license every year.

Maryland

In order to work in Maryland, Plumbers will have to hold a statewide plumber license. Maryland is also one of the few states in the US that has multiple licenses for different plumbing occupations.

  • Apprentice license: the applicant has to be over the age of 16
  • Journeyman license: Four years of experience as an apprentice, 7,500 hours of training, and 32 hours of training will qualify you for the license.
  • Master License: You will need over 3,750 hours of training and should have held your journey license for over two years to qualify for this license.

Maine

Similar to Maryland, plumbers in Maine require a state license in order to operate as a licensed plumber.  They receive their licenses from the Plumbers’ Examining Board.

  • Journeyman license: You will have to show proof of your time as a trainee plumber under the supervision of a master plumber. Your minimum time as a trainee should be two years and 4000 hours. You will also need to pass an exam in order to qualify.
  • Master license: After holding experience as a journeyman for more than a year and 2,000 hours, you can apply for the master license, for which you will have to pass an exam. Or you can jump straight to the master license with four years and 8,000 hours of supervised experience.

Michigan

Michigan offers a statewide license to its plumbers that allows them to work anywhere in the state. The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) awards these licenses.

michigan
  • Journey License: to receive this license, the applicant should be over 18 years old and should also have at least 6,000 hours of experience. The applicant must also have been an apprentice for more than three years.
  • Master License: In order to apply, the applicant must have held a journeyman license for at least two years and must have over 4,000 hours of experience as a journeyman plumber.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts plumbers must have a state license in order to work throughout the state, which they can receive from the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters.

  • Apprentice plumber: You have to be at least 16 years old to enroll in an apprenticeship program.
  • Journey license: You require 550 hours of plumbing theory, and 8,500 hours of supervised experience to qualify for the Journey license.
  • Master License: You will have to pass an exam, complete over 100 hours of advanced plumbing theory, and have held your journeyman license for over a year.

Mississippi

Unlike most states, Mississippi does not have many regulations for aspiring plumbers. Instead, plumbers looking to work on much bigger plumbing projects worth $10,000 (residential) and $50,000 (commercial) will require a contractor’s license. Plumbers working on projects smaller than those who do not require any license on a state level but will have to check at the local level. To get a contractor’s license, they will have to pass an exam, after which the MS State Board of Contractors will award them with a contractor’s license.

Minnesota

Minnesota has multiple licenses available to plumbers, each with their different requirements. And as a plumber, you will need a license in order to work, a license that the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Construction Codes and Licensing Division provides.

  • Journey license: In order to get a Journey license, you will need to show 7,000 hours’ worth of experience as an apprentice. These 7,000 hours include the 2,000 hours in vent, waste, and drain installation, 2,000 hours in water distribution installation, and 1,000 hours of fixture installation.
  • Master license: To qualify for this license, you will need to have a Journeyman license, must have the license or over 12 months, and show proof of over 1750 hours of experience.

Montana

Having a state license in Montana is necessary if you want to work as a plumber there. You receive your license from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Board of Plumbers.

  • Journeyman license: To get this license, you will need to show proof that you passed a recognized apprenticeship program, prove that you have at least five years of experience, and finally, you must pass the exam.
  • Master license: You will need four years of experience as a journeyman, of which three years need to be completed under supervision. Or you can opt for the by-pass exam that requires nine years of experience.

Missouri

Missouri Is one of the few states that does not have any plumber licensing requirements on a state level. However, you should check with local city requirements, as each city may have its plumbing requirements. So be sure to check these before you start working.

Nevada

Nevada, much like other states, provides statewide licensing for plumbers. The Nevada Board of Plumbing Examiners provides these licenses to plumbers willing to work in Nevada.

Journeyman License: You will need to complete four years of a recognized apprenticeship program or will need 8,000 hours of experience as an apprentice plumber. You will also have to pass an exam.

Master License: In Nevada, you can get a Master License if you have a journeyman license for at least a year and have 2000 hours of experience as a journeyman license. You will also have to pass an exam.

Nebraska

Depending on the work that you will be doing as a plumber, you may or may not require a license. IF you are working as a regular residential or commercial plumber, you do not require a license on the state level. But this may vary depending on the city. That said, you will need a license if you work as a contractor on projects that are more expensive. The Nebraska Department of Labor provides licenses for different plumbing contractors.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, Plumbers looking to work will first have to get their license. The Division of Consumer Affairs’ State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers tests and provides licenses to applicants. Applicants need to have a master’s license in order to find work, which makes the journeyman phase a certificate, not a license.

You will first need to pass an apprenticeship program, which can be as long as four years, and require a year’s worth of experience as a Journeyman plumber. You also have to be over the age of 21 in order to receive your master’s license.

New Hampshire

Like most states, New Hampshire does require Plumbers to carry a statewide license in order to work. The requirements for each license are:

  • Apprentice: at least 16 years ad enrolled in a recognized apprenticeship program.
  • Journeyman license: 18 years old, completed apprenticeship program, and a passed Journeyman test.
  • Master License: Have a journeyman license for over six months, and a passed Master exam.

New York

While it is true that New York does not have any plumbing requirements at a state level, cities have very strict requirements for their plumbers. So it is best if you check on the local requirements of the city that you live in. Operating without a license in certain cities can lead to serious repercussions. Some counties also have their own laws regarding plumbing licensing.

North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the many states that provides a statewide license to plumbers willing to work there. Plumbers there receive their license from the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. There is only a single license in North Dakota, and it’s one that you can easily get by showing proof of two years of experience in plumbing. You can also replace years’ worth of experience with technical or academic training. But since this will be a contractor’s license, it means that you need to pass a business and law exam other than the usual trade exam.

North Dakota

To work as a plumber in North Dakota, you will first need a license, one that you can get from the North Dakota State Plumbing Board. North Dakota is also one of the many states that provide various licenses to plumbers with different specialties.

  • Apprentice License: an apprentice license is the first step to getting a proper working license. To apply for the Apprentice license, you will have to be over the age of 18 and must apply within 30 days of finding work as a plumber.
  • Journeyman license: You must be a plumber for at least four years and should have at least 7,600 hours of on-the-job experience. The experience should also be under the supervision of a registered master plumber. You will also have to pass an exam to qualify for the license.
  • Master License: you have to be at least 21 years old and should have 3400 hours of experience as a Journeyman plumber. You will have to pass an exam to qualify for the license.

Oklahoma

Plumbers looking to work in Oklahoma will first need a proper license like in many states in the US. The Oklahoma Construction Industries Board awards these licenses to plumbers.

  • Apprentice: There is no license for an apprentice, but you will have to work under the supervision of Journeyman plumbers.
  • Journey license: You must have three years of experience as an apprentice under the supervision of a licensed contractor or journeyman plumber. You can substitute these years of experience with a plumbing educational program. Five hundred hours of a plumbing educational program can reduce a year’s worth of work experience, and 1000 hours can reduce two years off the total work experience.
  • Contractor license: From the apprenticeship license, plumbers can go for either a journeyman license or a contractor’s license. For a contractor’s license, you will need to be over 18 years old and will require three years of experience under the supervision of a plumbing contractor, which you can substitute for an approved plumbing program.

Ohio

Working as an individual plumber in the state of Ohio, you do not require a license of any kind. And while there are local requirements that plumbers have to meet in their cities or counties, at a state level, there are no individual licenses for plumbers. However, that is not to say there are no licenses at all. Individual plumbing jobs or jobs under a certain price range do not require a license, but plumbers will need a contractor’s license for commercial jobs. You will need five years of experience as a plumber and about three years of experience in the construction industry.

ohio

Oregon

Like many states in the US, you will first need a state license to work in Oregon. The Department of Consumer and Business Services, Building Codes Division, distributes licenses to plumbers looking to work in Oregon. In order to get a journeyman license, you will have to complete an apprenticeship program and have a total of 576 hours of classroom training as well as 3,850 hours of commercial and 3850 hours of residential experience.

Pennsylvania

Plumbers looking to work in Pennsylvania will not have to get a state license to work, as there is no state license. That said, there are still requirements that plumbers will have to meet in specific cities. So it is always best for plumbers to check their local requirements before starting their work.

Rhode Island

In order to work as a plumber in Rhode Island, you will need a statewide license. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Division of Workforce Regulation and Safety, Professional Regulations Unit awards these licenses to plumbers.

  • Journeyman license: To become a journeyman plumber, you will first need to apply for an apprenticeship program and must have over 570 hours of approved education. You will also need four years of supervised training.
  • Master License: For a master license, you will need at least five years of experience and should hold a journey license for over a year. You will also have to pass an exam.

South Carolina

Plumbers willing to work in South Carolina will first have to get a license to work either a residential or a commercial job. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, Residential Builders Commission provides these licenses to plumbers. To qualify for a plumbing specialty contractor, you will need at least a year of experience, and you will have to pass an exam.

South Dakota

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, the Plumbing Commission, offers statewide licenses to plumbers in South Dakota. Similar to other states, South Dakota also has different licenses for plumbers, each with its requirements.

  • Plumber Apprentice: In a four-year apprenticeship program, if you have two years of experience under a plumbing contractor, you can then perform smaller odd plumbing jobs unsupervised. You will have to pass an exam to qualify for this.
  • Journeyman Plumber: After getting an apprentice license, you can get the journeyman license. You should be an apprentice for at least four years, with 1900 hours of experience every year. You can even exchange two years of military plumbing experience for a year of work experience. Finally, you will also have to pass an exam to qualify for this license.
  • Plumbing Contractor: In order to get a plumbing contractor license, you will need to be a plumber for at least six years and have two years of experience as a plumber. Throughout the six years, you must have worked at least 1900 hours.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, plumbers need to have a statewide plumbing license in order to work throughout the state. Depending on the type of license that you are getting, the requirements can differ greatly. Moreover, the TN Department of Commerce and Insurance, Board for Licensing Contractors, provides licenses to plumbers.

  • Limited Licensed Plumber: You will get this license if you are working on projects smaller than $25,000. This license will allow you to work in any city or county, and you will have to pass an exam.
  • Plumbing Contractor: This is a license that you will require if you are working on projects as expensive as $25,000 or more. You will need three years of experience to qualify for this, and you will need to pass an exam.

Texas

Plumbers require a license, awarded by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners, in order to work in Texas. The requirements for each license are as follows.

texas
  • Journeyman license: you will need a high school diploma, 8000 hours of experience, and pass an exam. You must also be registered for an approved apprenticeship. If you are a plumber from a different state, you will have to complete an approved training course of 48 hours.
  • Master’s License: You will need to have held a Journeyman license for over four years. Or you can have held the license for over a year and have completed a specific training program. You will also have to pass an exam to qualify.

Utah

Utah, similar to most states, also requires plumbers to hold a statewide license to work. The Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing provides these licenses, but the requirements for each license are very different.

  • Journeyman License: To qualify for this license, you will first have to sign up for an apprenticeship and complete the recommended 6000 hours out of 8000 hours. You can also qualify for this license if you have eight years of supervised experience as a plumber.
  • Journeyman License (residential): Your work will be limited to residential work and you can get this by completing your apprenticeship program. You can also qualify for this license after having six years of experience.
  • Master Plumber: You will need two years of experience as a Journeyman plumber as well as two years of experience supervising. You will also have to complete a dedicated course, which you can substitute for a year of supervisory experience.
  • Master License (Residential): To qualify you to need two years of experience as a journeyman plumber as well as two years of supervisory experience.

Vermont

Plumbers looking to work in Vermont will need a proper license provided by the State’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety. Each license has a test that you must first pass.

  • Journeyman Plumber: To qualify, you will have to show a completion certificate from the State Apprenticeship Council of Vermont. You can also show a certificate for 12,000 hours of training.
  • Master License: You can only qualify for this license if you have had a Journeyman license for at least 12 months. Or you can simply show over 14,000 hours of training and experience.

Virginia

Virginia also offers state licenses to plumbers willing to work there. Plumbers receive their licenses from the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and each license has an exam that you will first have to pass.

  • Journeyman License: In order to qualify for one, you will need four years of experience and 240 hours of dedicated training. Over four years of experience can also substitute for formal training, with an extra year of training substituting 80 hours of training.
  • Master’s license: Ten years of experience on the field or a year worth of experience as a journeyman is what you need to qualify for this license.

Washington

To work here, you will need a State license awarded by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. For a journeyman license, you will need over 8000 hours of experience over four years under supervision. Four thousand of those hours should be in industrial or commercial plumbing. A Special residential license requires over 6,000 hours over the course of six years of experience as a residential plumber.

West Virginia

Plumbers in West Virginia need to hold state licenses in order to work there. These plumbers receive their license from the West Virginia Division of Labor, and the different licenses have different requirements. Journeyman Licenses require you to pass an exam and at least 8,000 hours of experience. For the Master’s license, you will need to pass an exam and at least 12,000 hours of experience.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, similar to other states, plumbers need a license to work there. They receive statewide license Department of Safety and Professional Services, Division of Professional Credentialing Processing.

  • Journeyman license: for this license, you will need to complete a recognized apprenticeship program and pass an exam. You may also have to get five years of experience under professionals if you are coming from a different state.
  • Master Plumber: You must have 3000 hours of experience over three years, or you will need a degree from an accredited and approved engineering curriculum and university.

Wyoming

Plumbers in Wyoming can work without having a statewide license seeing how there is none. Although there is no state requirement for plumbers, there are still local requirements that plumbers may have to meet before you can operate in that city or county. So it is best to check local requirements before working in your city.

PHCEid

This information that we have provided is to be used as a service, and should not be taken as legal advice. Instead, you should always refer to professionals about the rules and regulations about each state and where you should work. Furthermore, this information is up-to-date and has not seen substantial changes.

Advocate for Licensed Plumbers

PHCEid.org is an advocate for the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, and Electrical contractor to properly identify their licensed status for public awareness. Professional Contractors have the license or certification to work in homes and businesses. Without the proper certification and licensing to become a skilled trades professional, it compromises the integrity of the trade industry.

The contractors listed on the PHCEid.org website are licensed or certified according to the codes and laws set forth by each governing state and/or entity. Licensed Contractors work in compliance with local and state codes set forth by their governing trade industry board. Get more information at PHCEid.org or call 844-954-2367 today!

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