The Ultimate Guide to State Plumbing License Requirements

Updated on February 25, 2020

State Plumbing License

Are you interested in becoming a plumber? A career in plumbing can be rewarding. It gives you a chance to work with your hands each day. It also allows you to provide an important service to homeowners. Working as a plumber provides job security and satisfaction.

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To become a plumber, you must fulfill some criteria. One requirement is to get a plumbing license. This process varies from state to state. In this post, we’ll outline state-specific guidelines. Consider this your comprehensive guide to getting a plumbing license.

Are you required to have a license in each state?

First, here’s an answer to a common question. Does every state require licensing for plumbers?

Currently, a few states do not require plumbers to be licensed. These states include Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. All other states require plumbers to be licensed.

Even if your state does not require a license, getting one is beneficial. It can help you earn the trust of customers. It may also help you win more jobs. And even if the state does not require a license, local communities might.

For this reason, we recommend licensing. Look into both state level and city level criteria.

How much does a plumbing license cost?

Here is another common question. How much does it cost to get a plumbing license?

In most states, there are small application fees. You can learn more in our state-by-state guidelines. The important thing to note is that these fees are an investment. They make it possible for you to launch a successful career in plumbing.

What are the plumbing requirements by state?

Here is our rundown of plumbing license requirements by state.

Alabama Flag Variant

Alabama

To work as a plumber in Alabama, you’ll need a license. To begin, contact the State of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board.

  • The first step is becoming a Journeyman Plumber. You will need two years of experience as a plumbing apprentice. Alternatively, you can pass a plumbing apprentice training program. This program must be approved by the Board. You also need to pass an exam.
  • The next step is becoming a Master Plumber. This requires one year of Journeyman experience. You must also pass an exam.
Alaska Flag

Alaska

In Alaska, plumbers require a state license. Licenses are regulated by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

  • The first step is becoming a Journeyman Plumber. This requires 8,000 hours of experience. This may be residential or commercial experience. You may substitute up to 1,000 hours of relevant education or training.
  • You may also seek a Plumber Gas License. This requires 4,000 hours of work experience. At least 2,000 of those hours must involve fuel gas piping. You can substitute up to 500 hours of relevant education.
  • You may also seek a Plumber Utility License. This requires 1,000 hours of experience. The plumbing experience must involve installation of water, sewer, or storm lines. You can substitute up to 125 hours of relevant education.

Each Alaska license requires the completion of an exam.

 

Arizona

Arizona Flag

Arizona plumbers must hold a state contractor license. These are awarded by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Plumbers must choose between Residential and Commercial licenses. Dual licenses allow for plumbing work in both fields.

Both licenses have a similar set of requirements:

  • At least four years of experience
  • Successful completion of a business exam
  • Successful completion of a trade exam
  • Proof of bonding

 

Arkansas

Arkansas Flag

To do plumbing work in Arkansas, you must have a state license. The Arkansas Department of Health, Plumbing and Natural Gas Division awards these licenses. One option is to begin with a Journeyman license. After working as a Journeyman Plumber for one year, you may apply for a Master license. Or, you can skip the Journeyman stage if you have five years of work experience. Both licenses require you to pass an exam.

California

California Flag

You must have a state contractor license to do plumbing work in California. The Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board awards licenses. These are the requirements for getting a state license in California:

  • You must have four years of experience as a Journeyman, foreman, or supervisor
  • You must be bonded for $15,000 or more
  • You must pass a Law and Business exam
  • You must pass a trade exam

A separate license is required in order to work with hazardous materials. This includes an additional exam.

Colorado

Colorado Flag

Colorado requires all plumbers to have a state license. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, State Plumbing Board handles all licenses. There are three types of plumbing license. Each one has its own exam. The three types of plumbing license are:

  • Residential plumber (two years or 3,400 hours of experience required)
  • Journeyman plumber (four years or 6,800 hours of experience required)
  • Master plumber (five years or 9,780 hours of experience required)

 

Connecticut

Connecticut Flag

 

A state license is required to do plumbing work in Connecticut. Each license is awarded by the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection. There are two types of plumbing license available in the state. These state level licenses include:

  • Journeyman Plumber (pass an apprenticeship program or comparable training)
  • Plumbing Contractor (prove two years of plumbing work as a licensed journeyman)

For the Journeyman license, you must pass a trade exam. To become a Plumbing Contractor, you must pass a trade exam, a business exam, and a law exam.

Delaware

Delaware Flag

The State of Delaware offers a Master Plumber license. This license is required for most types of plumbing work. These types of plumbing work include:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • Construction
  • Replacement
  • Repair
  • Modification
  • Any other type of work involving pipes or fixtures

The state level license is awarded by the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation. There are two ways to qualify for this state license. They include:

  • Start as a Journeyman. This means completing an apprenticeship program. It also requires two years of plumbing work with a licensed plumber.
  • Skip the Journeyman certificate. This requires seven years of work experience under a licensed plumber.

In either case, you must pass a state level exam. Then, you may obtain your plumbing license.

 

Florida

Florida Flag

A state license is required to be a plumber in Florida. This state level license is awarded by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. You must prove four years of work experience to get this license. Or, you can prove a mixture of work experience and relevant education. Various types of insurance are required. These include public liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage. You must pass an exam.

Georgia

Georgia Flag

You will need a state license to be a plumber in Georgia. This plumber license is awarded by the Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers. There are several requirements. These requirements include:

  • Journeyman Plumber (prove three years of experience, pass an exam)
  • Licensed Master Plumber (prove five years of experience, including two as a journeyman, and pass an exam)

Hawaii

Hawaii Flag

To become a plumber in Hawaii, you’ll need a state license. State level licenses are handled by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing, Board of Electricians and Plumbers. You must pass an exam to get a plumber license. There are a few requirements before you can take the exam. These requirements to sit for a state license exam are:

  • Journey Worker Plumber (prove five years or 10,000 hours of plumbing work)
  • Licensed Master Plumber (prove two years of work at the Journeyman level)

One way to prepare for your Hawaii plumber license is to review the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC).

 

Idaho Flag

Idaho

To do plumbing work in Idaho, you must have a state license. This plumber license is awarded by the Idaho Division of Building Safety. There are many plumber license options in Idaho. Each one has its own unique requirements. Here is an outline:

  • Apprentice. You do not need a state license to be a plumbing apprentice. You must be registered.
  • Plumbing Journeyman. You must complete a four-year training course. This course is created and administered by the state plumbing board. You must also pass a trade exam. You must prove four years of experience as an apprentice. This must be done under a licensed journeyman.
  • Plumbing Contractor. You must prove two and a half years of experience at the Journeyman level. You must pass an exam.
  • Specialty Plumbing Apprentice. You must be employed by a licensed plumber working in the same specialty. You must work under a licensed Journeyman working in the same specialty. And, you must enroll in an approved training course.
  • Specialty Plumbing Journeyman. You must prove 18 months of experience as an apprentice. You must pass 72 hours of approved training. You must pass an exam.

 

Illinois Flag

Illinois

To do plumbing in Illinois, you must have a state license. This plumber license is awarded by the state Department of Public Health. There are two levels of state license in Illinois. Each has unique licensing requirements. These licensing requirements include:

  • Apprentice Plumber License. Prove that you are sponsored by a plumber with an Illinois state license. Or, prove enrollment in an approved apprenticeship program. You have a maximum apprenticeship period of six years. During that time, you must pass the state license exam.
  • Plumbing Contractor License. Prove that you’ve had an Apprentice License for four years. Prove that you’ve completed at least two years of high school. You must take an additional approved course. You must pass an exam.

 

Indiana Flag

Indiana

To get plumbing work in Indiana, you will need a plumber license. The licensing requirements are set by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Plumbing Commission. These licensing requirements include:

  • Apprentice Plumber. You don’t need a license, but must be registered.
  • Journeyman Plumber. You must enroll in an apprenticeship program. You can only apply for licensing through your apprenticeship program. You must have four years of experience. You must pass a practical exam. There are also some options for transferring an out-of-state license.
  • Plumbing Contractor. To get a plumbing contractor license, you must apply through an apprenticeship program. You must prove four years of training. You must also pass a practical exam. There are also some options for transferring an out-of-state license.

 

Iowa Flag

Iowa

A plumbing license is required to do plumbing work in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Public Health, Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board awards each plumber license. There are different types of plumber license available. These include:

  • Apprentice Plumber. You must enroll in an apprenticeship training program. You can work under the supervision of a Journeyman or licensed Master Plumber. You must be 18 years or older. You must be a high school graduate.
  • Journeyperson Plumber. You must work under the supervision of a licensed Master Plumber. You must have four years of experience in a plumbing apprentice school. You must pass an exam. Or, you can transfer your master-level license from another state.
  • Master Plumber. To become a Master Plumber, you must hold a Journeyperson license for two years. You may also transfer a master-level license from another state. You must pass a plumber exam administered by the state board.
  • Plumbing Contractor. Plumbing Contractors must prove that they have a surety bond. Liability insurance is also required. You must register as a contractor with the state Division of Labor.

 

Kansas Flag

Kansas

To work in the plumbing business in Kansas, you do not need plumbing licenses. However, individual communities have their own standards. Check with local plumbers before you begin work in the State of Kansas.

Kentucky Flag

Kentucky

Plumbers in Kentucky must have plumbing licenses. These plumbing licenses are required to do any kind of plumbing work. They are administered by the state. There are two types of license available from the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction, Plumbing Division. These two plumber licenses include:

  • Journeyman Plumber (prove two years of experience doing plumbing work)
  • Master Plumber (have a valid Journeyman Plumber license)

Both of these plumber licenses require you to pass an exam.

Louisiana Flag

Louisiana

You need a license to work in plumbing in Louisiana. The State Plumbing Board awards licenses to plumbers. There are two levels of license for plumbers in the area. These types of plumbing license include:

  • Journeyman Plumber. Complete an apprentice training program approved by the state. You must pass an exam, too. Continuing education is required to renew your plumbing license. Plumbers must renew their licenses annually.
  • Licensed Master Plumber. Have a valid Journeyman Plumber license from the State of Louisiana. You must pass an exam, too. Continuing education is required to renew your plumbing license. Plumbers must renew their licenses annually.

For work exceeding $10,000, a commercial plumber license is required. These licenses are awarded by the State Licensing Board for Contractors. You must pass trade, business, and law exams.

 

Maine Flag

Maine

In Maine, a plumber must be licensed to do any work. The Plumbers’ Examining Board awards these licenses. To get into the plumbing business in Maine, there are two options:

  • Journeyman Plumber. You must prove two years or 4,000 hours of plumber experience. This experience must be supervised by a Master Plumber. Or, prove 2,000 hours of work in a licensed journeyman-in-training program. You must pass an exam.
  • Master Plumber. You will need one year or 2,000 hours of experience doing plumber work. This work must be done under a Journeyman license. Or, prove four years and 8,000 hours of experience as a licensed trainee plumber. This work must be supervised by someone with a Master Plumber license.

 

Maryland Flag

Maryland

To do plumbing in Maryland, you must have a license. There are different levels of plumber licenses. Each one comes with unique licensing requirements. These licensing requirements include:

  • Apprentice Plumber. You must be a minimum of 16 years old.
  • Journey Plumber. You must be a licensed Apprentice for four years. You must prove 7,500 hours of work under a Master. You must train for 32 hours in backflow prevention. You must pass an exam.
  • Master Plumber. You must hold a Journey license for a minimum of two years. You must prove 3,750 hours of training under another Master. You must pass an exam.

 

Massachusetts Flag

Massachusetts

You must hold a state license to get into the plumbing business. The Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters awards licenses. The licensing requirements are as follows:

  • Apprentice Plumber. You must be 16 years or older.
  • Journeyman Plumber. Journeyman plumbers must work 8,500 hours as apprentices. This work must be supervised by a licensed Master. Journeyman plumbers must also complete 500 hours of plumbing theory. You must also pass an exam.
  • Master Plumber. You must hold a Journeyman license for a full year. You must complete an accredited course of advanced plumbing theory. This must total at least 100 hours. You must also pass an exam.

 

Michigan Flag

Michigan

In Michigan, plumbers must be licensed in order to work. The state’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs handles these licenses. Here is a quick rundown of licensing requirements:

  • Journey Plumber License. You have to be at least 18 years old. You must have at least three years and 6,000 hours of work experience. This must be under an apprentice training program. You have to pass an exam.
  • Master Plumber License. You have to be at least 18 years old. You must have two years of journey experience, totaling 4,000 hours. You must pass an exam.

 

Minnesota Flag

Minnesota

In Minnesota, plumbers must be licensed in order to work. Licenses are given by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Construction Codes and Licensing Division. The licensing requirements for plumbers are as follows:

  • Plumber Journeyworker. You must prove at least 7,000 hours of work. 2,000 hours must be in drain and vent installation. 2,000 hours must be in water distribution installation. And 1,000 hours must be in fixture installation. You have to pass an exam.
  • Plumber Master. Plumbers seeking Master status must prove 1,750 hours of experience. They must have a Journeyworker license. They must hold this license for at least one year. There is also an exam.

 

Mississippi Flag

Mississippi

To work as a plumber in Mississippi, you need a state contractor license. The State Board of Contractors issues these licenses. Licensing is required for residential work exceeding $10,000 in value. It is also needed for commercial work exceeding $50,000 in value. You have to pass an exam to get a license.

For projects that don’t meet these totals, there’s no state license needed. However, there may be local license requirements. Check with experienced plumbers in the area to learn more.

 

Missouri Flag

Missouri

To work in the plumbing business in Missouri, you do not need plumbing licenses. However, individual communities have their own standards. Check with local plumbers before you begin work in the State of Missouri.

Montana Flag

Montana

State licensing is required for all plumbers in Montana. The Department of Labor handles these licenses. Here are the licensing requirements in Montana:

  • Journeyman Plumber. You must pass an apprentice program. You must have at least five years of experience. You must pass an exam.
  • Master. You must have four years of experience at the Journeyman level. Three of those years must be under supervision of a Master. You must prove nine years of total experience. This work experience must be notarized. You need to pass an exam.

Nebraska

To find work as a plumber in Nebraska, no license is needed. If you’re considered a contractor, you must register with the Department of Labor. Verify any local licensing needs before you begin working in the plumbing business.

Nevada Flag

Nevada

To work as a plumber in Nevada, you will need a license. The Nevada Board of Plumbing Examiners issues licenses. Licensing requirements include:

  • Journeyman Plumber. You must complete four years in an accredited apprentice program. Or, prove 8,000 hours of experience. You are required to pass an exam.
  • Master Plumber. You have to work as a Journeyman for at least one year or 2,000 hours. You are required to pass an exam.
New Hampshire Flag

New Hampshire

New Hampshire requires all plumbers to be licensed. There are three different levels. These levels include:

  • Apprentice. You have to be 16 or older. You have to be registered in an approved apprentice program.
  • Journeyman. You have to be 16 or older. You have to complete your apprenticeship. You have to pass an exam.
  • Master. You must hold your Journeyman status for at least six months and pass an exam.

 

New Jersey Flag

New Jersey

New Jersey requires Master-level plumbers to be licensed. Licenses are issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs. To qualify, you must:

  • Be 21 or older
  • Complete an approved four-year apprenticeship
  • Have a year of experience at the Journeyman level
  • Pass multiple exams

You can bypass some of these stipulations by completing a relevant engineering degree.

New Mexico Flag

New Mexico

New Mexico requires a plumbing license before you can work. The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department handles these. You must have two years (4,000 hours) of experience. You are required to pass an exam.

New York Flag

New York

New York does not have any statewide stipulations for plumbers. Many cities and counties have their own standards for qualification. These standards are often strict. Be sure to check with local plumbers in your area. They can tell you more about the local plumbing business.

North Carolina Flag

North Carolina

North Carolina requires plumbers to be licensed. This process is overseen by the North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. You must prove a couple years of experience. Half of this experience can be waived if you have accredited training. You are required to pass exams.

North Dakota Flag

North Dakota

The North Dakota State Plumbing Board issues licenses. These are required to do plumbing in the state. There are three levels of licensing. They include:

  • Apprentice. You must be 18 years or older.
  • Journeyman. You must have four years (7,600 hours) of experience. This must be supervised by a Master. You are required to pass an exam.
  • Master. The licensing requirements for a Master include 3,400 hours of Journeyman experience. You also have to be 21. You have to pass an exam.
Ohio Flag

Ohio

Ohio does not ask individual plumbers to get licensed. Commercial plumbing contractors may need to register with the Construction Industry Licensing Board.

Oklahoma Flag

Oklahoma

Oklahoma requires plumbers to have a plumbing license. These are issued by the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board.

  • Apprentice. You don’t need a license, but do need to register. You must work under the supervision of a licensed plumber.
  • Journeyman. You must be 18 or older. You must have three years of experience working with a contractor. You must complete an exam.
  • Plumbing Contractor. To get a contractor license, you must be 18 or older. You must have three years of experience working with a contractor. You must complete an exam.
Oregon Flag

Oregon

You must have a state license to work as a plumber in Oregon. Licenses are issued by the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Building Codes Division. You must pass a four-year accredited apprentice program. Or, you must prove that you have the right experience. This involves:

  • 576 hours in the classroom
  • 3,850 hours of residential experience
  • 3,850 hours of commercial experience

Additionally, you have to pass an exam.

 

Pennsylvania Flag

Pennsylvania

To work in the plumbing business in Pennsylvania, you do not need plumbing licenses. However, individual communities have their own standards. Check with local plumbers before you begin work in Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island Flag

Rhode Island

Rhode Island requires plumbers to be licensed. The Department of Labor handles licensing needs. There are a pair of options:

  • Journeyman Plumber License. Prove that you have four years of experience and 576 hours of approved education. Pass an exam.
  • Master License. You must be a Journeyman for one year or more. You must have five years of total experience. You must pass an exam.
South Carolina Flag

South Carolina

South Carolina requires plumbers to have a license. The Department of Labor handles licenses. You will need a single year or work experience. You have to pass an exam.

South Dakota Flag

South Dakota

In South Dakota, plumbers must be licensed. Licenses are handled by the Department of Labor. There are three levels of plumbing license in this state. They include:

  • Apprentice. You must have a couple years (3,800 hours) of experience. Most of this must be under the supervision of a licensed plumber. If you enter a third year of apprenticeship, you can do some jobs unsupervised. This includes plumbing installations in single-family homes.
  • Journeyman. You must have four years of experience as an apprentice. You can substitute military plumbing experience. There is also an exam.
  • Contractor. You must have six years of experience in the plumbing business. You must pass an exam.
Tennessee Flag

Tennessee

In Tennessee, licensing is complicated. You may need a state license, or just a local certification. It depends on the type of projects you plan to do. Here is information about the state licenses:

  • Limited License Plumber. This is required for smaller projects, if you do not have local requirements. You must pass an exam.
  • Plumbing Contractor. This is required for projects exceeding $25,000. You need at least three years of experience. And, you must pass an exam.

 

Texas Flag

Texas

In Texas, the state requires a plumbing license.

  • Journeyman Plumber. To become a Journeyman, you need a high school diploma or equivalent. You must be an apprentice or tradesman. Or, you could have a license from out of state. You need 8,000 hours of experience. You must complete 48 hours of approved training and an exam.
  • Master. You need a high school diploma or equivalent. You must be a Journeyman in the state. Or, you could have a license from a different state. You must pass an approved training course and an exam.

 

Utah Flag

Utah

In Utah, plumbers require a state plumbing license. Licenses are handled by the Department of Commerce in the state. Some stipulations include:

  • Journeyman. Complete 6,000 hours of approved training as an apprentice. This entitles you to sit for the exam. You will need an additional 2,000 hours to get your license. You can also prove eight years of experience under a Journeyman or Master plumber.
  • Residential Journeyman. Complete an apprenticeship program, including 6,000 hours of training. Or, get six years of experience under a Journeyman or Master Plumber. Pass an exam.
  • Master Plumber. Get a couple years of experience as a Journeyman. Get an additional couple years of experience in a supervisory role. Complete an applied science degree. Pass an exam.
  • Residential Master Plumber. Get a couple years of Journeyman experience. Get a couple years of experience in a supervisory role. Pass an exam.

 

Vermont Flag

Vermont

To do plumbing installations in Vermont, you’ll need a license. These are issued by the Department of Public Safety. Each license requires you to pass an exam.

  • Journeyman. To be a Journeyman, you need to complete a Vermont state apprenticeship. Or, you can complete a comparable program in another state. Or, you can prove 12,000 hours of instruction and experience.
  • Master. To be a Master, you need to have a Journeyman license for 12 months. Or, you can prove 14,000 hours of instruction and experience.

 

Virginia Flag

Virginia

Plumbers in Virginia must be licensed by the state. This requires you to pass an exam.

  • Journeyman. Prove four years of experience plus 240 hours of formal training. Or, prove a couple years of training, plus an Associate’s degree. Or, prove a single year of experience plus a relevant Bachelor’s degree. Or, prove 10 years of experience.
  • Master. Have 12 months experience at the Journeyman level.

 

Washington Flag

Washington

In the State of Washington, plumbers must be licensed. Licensing involves the following:

  • Journeyman. Prove 8,000 hours of experience as a trainee. This experience must be supervised by a plumber licensed in the state. Half of this experience must be in commercial plumbing installations.
  • Specialty Residential Plumber. Prove 6,000 hours of experience as a residential plumber. This experience must be supervised by a plumber who is licensed.

 

West Virginia Flag

West Virginia

Plumbers in West Virginia must be licensed by the state. Journeyman plumbers must have 8,000 hours of experience. Master plumbers need 12,000 hours. Both require the completion of an exam.

Wisconsin Flag

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is another state that requires plumbers to be licensed. There are a pair of options:

  • Journeyman Plumber. Complete an apprentice program that is approved by the state. Pass an exam. There may be additional stipulations for those applying from out of state.
  • Master Plumber. Get 1,000 hours of experience as a Journeyman. This must include at least three years in the field. You can bypass some of these needs with a relevant engineering degree. You must pass an exam.
Wyoming Flag

Wyoming

Wyoming is a state that does not require licensing. However, to do plumbing installations in this state, check with local communities. There is no state requirement, but many cities and counties have stipulations. Talk with local plumbers about what you need to do to be approved as a plumber.

Verify the Guidelines in Your Home State

Remember, a state may change its criteria from time to time. The information here is current, but it’s always wise to speak with plumbers from your home state.

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