Plumbers really do save lives, and there’s a reason why this trade is highly regulated.
In most, if not all U.S. states, getting a plumbing certification and license is a requirement if you want to start a plumbing business or work in the industry. Before you become a master plumber, you’ll have to get your hands dirty working as an apprentice first.
Becoming a certified plumber helps you master your craft, understand the intricacies of plumbing, and it signals to your customers that you’re serious about what you do. It’s one of the best plumbing tools you can have.
Let’s help you get started on getting your plumbing certification and license.
In this plumbing licensing guide you’ll learn:
Do I need to become a licensed plumber?
Yes, plumbing professionals require a state license to perform plumbing duties in the U.S. Then, aspiring plumbers must get on the job apprenticeship experience. In most states, you still need to pass a state-approved exam in order to get your certification before you can become a fully licensed plumber. The type of plumbing certification needed varies by location.
Being a Master Plumber has its perks. Besides legally allowing you to perform plumbing duties, a license makes you more appealing and trustworthy to potential customers. When it comes to plumbing, apprenticeship experience and a certificate shows that you know your stuff.
How long does it take to get a plumbing license?
The amount of time it takes for you to get your plumbing license depends on your location. On average, it can take 4-5 years of an apprenticeship before you can sit for your exam.
The plumbing career path timeline typically looks like this:
- High school diploma (4 years)
- Apprenticeship (4-5 years)
- Journeyperson (anywhere from 2-5 years)
- Master Plumber (7-10 years)
Once you’ve received your Master Plumber certificate, you can get your license and move on to running your own plumbing business. That means you can now act as a supervisor and teacher to an apprentice or Journeyperson.
Keep in mind that these timelines vary by country, state, and area. But you can use these as rough estimates to determine how long it’ll take you to get your plumbing license.
How much does it cost to get a plumbing certification and license?
Like the plumbing career path, the cost to get a plumbing certification and license vary by location and requirements.
Here’s a breakdown of what it typically costs:
- Online training program can cost $800 – $1,000
- Certificate programs can cost $1,250 – $3,000
- An plumbing technology associate’s degree can cost $3,000-$23,000
- An apprenticeship ranges from $0-$1,000
- A yearly or biannual plumbing license fee is priced at $30 -$200
- The total cost overtime to get a plumbing certificate and license can be from $5,000 to $28,000
The beauty of an apprenticeship program is that although you’re technically in school, you’re also getting a paycheck.
Whatever you end up spending on your plumbing certificate and license, it’ll pay off in the end once you’re a working plumber.
Plumber license requirements by state
See the list below for journeyperson and master plumbing license requirements by state from USA Plumbing. If your state does not have any state-wide license requirements, remember that requirements can be made at a local level. Always be sure to double-check with the governing body for regulations.
What states do not require a plumbing license?
All states require plumbers to have some type of license or certification in order to work as a plumber.
There are a few states with slightly different requirements:
- Colorado: A state license is required for plumbing but there is no state license for general contracting.
- Kansas: State-wide licensing is not required but licensing may be required on a local-level.
- Nebraska: No state-wide license required. Register as a contractor with the Department of Labor.
- New Jersey: A license is not required to work as a journeyperson plumber, but you’re required to have a state registration.
- Tennessee: For all projects over $25,000 a plumbing license is required. For smaller projects under that amount, plumbers must obtain a limited plumber license.
- Wyoming: State licensing occurs at a local level.
Getting a plumbing license in Canada
Similar to the U.S., Canada’s plumbing certification is mandated on a provincial level. Licensing is then given on a regional level.
In Ontario for example, plumbing is trade regulated by the Ontario College of Trades. Plumbing students complete an apprenticeship program which consists of on-the-job and in school training.
Aspiring plumbers in Alberta must be a registered apprentice for 4 years recognized by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
Another option to get plumbing certified in Canada is to complete your Red Seal examination, which is the national standard for trade across Canada. This means certifications are transferable from province to province.
Here are some resources you can use to get your plumbing license in Canada:
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