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.

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:

  1. High school diploma (4 years)
  2. Apprenticeship (4-5 years)
  3. Journeyperson (anywhere from 2-5 years)
  4. 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.

StatePlumbing Licensing Organization
AlabamaState of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examination Board
AlaskaAlaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development
ArizonaArizona Registrar of Contractors
ArkansasArkansas Department of Health’s Plumbing and Natural Gas Section
CaliforniaContractors State License Board
ColoradoDivision of Professions & Occupations - Licensing Requirements
ConnecticuitDepartment of Consumer Protection
DelawareBoard of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners
District of ColumbiaBoard of Industrial Trades
FloridaFlorida Construction Industries Licensing Board
GeorgiaGeorgia Board of Construction Industry
HawaiiDepartment of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing
IdahoDivision of Building Safety
IllinoisIllinois Department of Public Health
IndianaIndiana Plumbing Commission
IowaIowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board
KansasState-wide licensing not required.
KentuckyKentucky Division of Plumbing of the State Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
LouisianaState Plumbing Board of Louisiana
MaineME Department of Professional & Financial Regulations - Plumbers’ Examining Board
MarylandThe MD State Board of Plumbing
MassachusettsBoard of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters
Michigan The Plumbing Division
MinnesotaDepartment of Labor & Industry
MississippiState Board of Contractors
MissouriLicensing is regulated at the city/county level.
MontanaMontana Department of Labor & Industry - Board of Plumbers
NebraskaNo state license required. Register as a contactor with the Department of Labor
NevadaNevada Board of Plumbing Examiners
New HampshireNew Hampshire Department of Safety
New JerseyA license is not required to work as a journeyperson plumber, but you’re required to have state registration.
New MexicoNew Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department
New YorkSecretary of State
North CarolinaState of North Carolina
North DakotaSecretary of State
Ohio Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board
OklahomaConstruction Industries Board
OregonConstruction Contractors Board
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry
Rhode IslandState of Rhode Island
South CarolinaLabor Licensing Regulation
South DakotaPlumbing Commission
TenneseeBoard for Licensing Contractors
TexasBoard of Plumbing Examiners
UtahDivision of Occupational and Professional Licensing
Vermont Depart of Fire Safety.
VirginiaDepartment of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Board for Contractors
WashingtonDepartment of Labor & Industries
West VirginiaDivision of Labor
WisconsinDepartment of Safety and Professional Services
WyomingState-wide licensing occurs at a local level.

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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