Plumber License Requirements by State

State plumber licensing requirements

What are the Plumber License Requirements per State?

All plumbing contractors obviously need a license to operate, but the requirements for how to obtain a plumber's license differ for each state.

Below you'll learn how to get a plumbing contractor’s license in each of the 50 US states, including the name of the licensing body to contact, as well as a list of the different plumbing licenses you may need to get in each state.

Requirements for each type of license for a plumber also vary from state to state. Depending on the state and the license in question, qualifications may include:

  1. Meeting age requirements.
  2. Passing a plumber license test.
  3. Holding a prerequisite license for a minimum length of time.
  4. Working in the field under a licensed master plumber, state contractor or the equivalent.
  5. Taking contracts worth a certain amount.
  6. Paying a fee.

Check with your state's licensing body to find out the specific requirements for each type of license.

Alabama

State of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Two years of experience as an apprentice or completed a board-approved training program and pass the board exam.

  • Master Plumber: One year experience as a journeyman and pass the exam.

Alaska

Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development:

  • Journeyman Plumber: 8,000 hours of installation experience for commercial or residential plumbing. You can substitute 1,000 hours of education for work experience.

  • Plumber Gas License: 4,000 hours of experience with 2,000 hours being in installation of fuel gas pipes. You can substitute 500 hours of education for work experience.

  • Plumber Utility License: 1,000 hours of installation experience for water, sewer, or storm lines. You can substitute 125 hours of education for work experience.

Arizona

Arizona Registrar of Contractors:

  • Special Residential Contracting License, Plumbing R-37: Can install and repair water and gas piping systems, fire protection systems, and sewage treatment systems.

  • Special Residential Contracting License, Plumbing C-37: Can install, alter, and repair all plumbing within property lines.

Arkansas

Arkansas Department of Health, Plumbing, and Natural Gas Division:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Need to have a license for at least a year.

  • Master Plumber: Need proof of five years of experience.

California

California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board:

  • Plumbing Contractor license is a C-36: Need four years of experience as a journeyman or foreman, supervising employee, contractor, or owner-builder. Also need $15,000 bond and to pass the law and business exam and the trade exam.

Colorado

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies:

  • Residential Plumber: Two years of experience or 3,400 hours.

  • Journeyman Plumber: Four years of experience or 6,800 hours.

  • Master Plumber: Five years of experience or 9,780 hours.

Connecticut

Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection:

  • Journeyperson: Complete a registered apprenticeship program and pass exam.

  • Contractor: Two years as a journeyperson and pass the trade exam and the business and law exam.

Delaware

Delaware Division of Professional Regulation:

  • Journeyman Certificate: Complete apprentice program, two years of experience under a master plumber, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber License: Need to hold a journeyman certificate and have seven years of experience.

Florida

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation:

  • Certified Plumbing Contractor: Four years of experience, public liability, property damage, and workers’ compensation insurance, and pass exam.

Georgia

George State Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers

  • Journeyman Plumber: Three years of experience and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Five years of experience with two being a journeyman plumber, plumbing contractor, plumbing foreman, plumbing superintendent or military plumber. Also need to pass exam.

Hawaii

Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional & Vocational Licensing Division:

  • Journey Worker Plumber: Five years of experience and 10,000 hours of experience in plumbing work.

  • Master Plumber: Two years of experience working as a journey worker plumber.

Idaho

Idaho Division of Building Safety:

  • Plumbing Apprentice: Just need to register.

  • Plumbing Journeyman: Complete four year board-approved course and pass exam.

  • Plumbing Contractor: Two and a half years of experience as a journeyman and pass exam.

  • Specialty Plumbing Apprentice: Need to work under a licensed plumbing specialty contractor and be enrolled in an approved training course.

  • Specialty Plumbing Journeyman: 18 months of apprenticeship experience, complete 72 hours of approved training, and pass test.

  • Specialty Plumbing Contractor: Two and a half years of experience as a specialty plumbing journeyman and pass exam.

Illinois

Illinois Department of Public Health:

  • Apprentice Plumber: Need to be sponsored by a licensed plumber or an approved program and pass exam within a maximum apprenticeship period of six years.

  • Plumbing Contractor: Need to hold an apprentice license for four years, complete two years of high school and approved courses, and pass exam.

Indiana

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Plumbing Commission:

  • Apprentice Plumber: Just need to register.

  • Journeyman Plumber: Apply through an approved school, have four years of experience, and pass exam.

  • Plumbing Contractor: Apply through an approved school, have four years of experience, and pass exam.

Iowa

Iowa Department of Public Health, Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board:

  • Apprentice: Need to be enrolled in approved apprenticeship program, work under supervision of a journeyperson or master plumber, be at least 18 years old, and graduate high school.

  • Journeyperson Plumber: Need to work under supervision of a master plumber, four years of experience as an apprentice, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Need to hold journeyperson license for two years and pass exam.

  • Plumbing Contractor: Need a surety bond, liability insurance, and be registered as a contractor with Iowa Division of Labor.

Kansas

You do not need a state license to work as a plumber in Kansas. Be sure, however, to check whether any local requirements may impact your ability to work in a particular part of the state.

Kentucky

Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction, Plumbing Division:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Two years of experience and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Journeyman license and pass exam.

Louisiana

State Plumbing Board of Louisiana

  • Journeyman Plumber: Complete approved apprenticeship program, pass exam, and complete continuing education courses.

  • Master Plumber: Journeyman license, pass exam, and complete continuing education courses.

Maine

State of Maine Plumbers’ Examining Board:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Two years of experience and 4,000 hours of experience in installation.

  • Master Plumber: One year of experience and 2,000 hours of experience as a journeyman or four years of experience with 8,000 hours of experience as a trainee under a master plumber.

Maryland

Maryland Department of Labor:

  • Apprentice Plumber: Need to be at least 16 years old.

  • Journey Plumber: Four years of experience as an apprentice, 7,500 hours under a master plumber, 32 hours in backflow prevention, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Two years as journey plumber, 3,750 hours under master plumber, and pass exam.

Massachusetts

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters:

  • Apprentice Plumber: Need to be at least 16 years old.

  • Journeyman Plumber: 8,500 hours of experience under a master plumber, 550 hours of plumbing theory, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: One year with journeyman license, 100 hours of advanced plumbing theory, and pass exam.

Michigan

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs:

  • Journey Plumber: Need to be at least 18 years old, 6,000 hours of experience in three years, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Need to be at least 18 years old, 4,000 hours of experience as journey plumber in two years, and pass exam.

Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, Construction Codes and Licensing Division:

  • Plumber Journeyworker: 7,000 hours of experience with 2,000 hours in drain, waste and vent installation, 1,000 hours in fixture installation, and 2,000 hours in water distribution installation. You also need to pass the exam.

  • Plumber Master: 1,750 hours of experience, journeyworker license, 12 months of experience, and pass exam.

Mississippi

MS State Board of Contractors:

  • State Contractors License: This is necessary for residential work worth over $10,000 or commercial work worth over $50,000. For work under these amounts, no state licensing is required, though local licensing requirements may still apply.

Missouri

No state license is required to work as a plumber in Missouri. Before beginning any work, however, be aware of any local requirements that may apply.

Montana

Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Board of Plumbers:

  • Journeyman: Five years of experience, complete an apprentice program, and pass exam.

  • Master: Four years of experience as a journeyman with three of those years under a master plumber, nine years of notarized experience, and pass exam.

Nebraska

Nebraska Department of Labor:

While you don't need a license to work as a plumber in Nebraska, you do need to register with the Nebraska Department of Labor. Additionally, check into whether any local requirements apply to work you're planning on starting in any given part of the state.

Nevada

Nevada Board of Plumbing Examiners:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Four years of experience in an apprentice program or 8,000 hours of experience. You'll need to pass the exam as well.

  • Master Plumber: One year or 2,000 hours of experience as journeyman and pass exam.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Fire Safety:

  • Apprentice: Need to be at least 16 years old.

  • Journeyman: Need to be at least 18 years old, complete apprentice program, and pass exam.

  • Master: Need to have held journeyman license for at least six months and pass exam.

New Jersey

Division of Consumer Affairs, State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Need to be registered.

  • Master Plumber: Need to be at least 21 years old, complete apprentice program, one year of experience as a journeyman, and pass an exam with a trade section, a practical section, and a business and law section.

New Mexico

New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department:

  • Journeyman: Two years of experience or 4,00 hours of experience and pass exam.

New York

New York State has no plumbing licensing requirements, but certain cities and counties in New York have stringent requirements, so be sure to look into those before you start work in any New York jurisdiction.

North Carolina

North Carolina State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors:

  • Plumbing Contractor: Two years of experience, pass a trade exam, and pass a law and business exam.

North Dakota

North Dakota State Plumbing Board:

  • Apprentice Plumber: Need to be at least 18 years old.

  • Journeyman Plumber: Four years of experience, 7,600 hours working under a master plumber, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Need to be at least 21 years old, two years or 3,400 hours of experience, and pass exam.

Ohio

Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board:

Note: Individual plumbers do not need a license to work in Ohio, but commercial plumbing contractors do.

  • Commercial Plumbing Contractor: Five years of experience as a plumber, three years of experience in construction, liability insurance, and pass exam.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma Construction Industries Board:

  • Plumbing Apprentice: Just need to register.

  • Plumbing Journeyman: Need to be at least 18 years old and have three years of experience under a plumbing contractor.

  • Plumbing Contractor: Need to be at least 18 years old and have three years of experience being employed by a plumbing contractor.

Oregon

Department of Consumer and Business Services, Building Codes Division:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Four years of experience in an apprentice program or 576 hours in training, 3,850 hours of commercial and 3,850 hours of residential experience, and pass exam.

Pennsylvania

There is no state licensing needed for plumbers to work in Pennsylvania, although local jurisdictions within the state may have licensing requirements of their own. Therefore, be sure to check into the licensing requirements of any municipality where you plan to work before you begin.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, Division of Workforce Regulation and Safety, Professional Regulations Unit:

  • Plumber Journeyman: Four years of experience, 576 hours of education, and pass exam.

  • Plumber Master: Hold a journeyman license for a year, five years of experience, and pass exam.

South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, Residential Builders Commission:

  • Plumbing Specialty Contractor: One year of experience and pass exam.

South Dakota

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, Plumbing Commission

  • Plumber Apprentice: Two years or 3,800 hours of experience and pass exam.

  • Plumber Journeyman: Four years of experience as an apprentice with 1,900 hours of experience a year and pass exam.

  • Plumbing Contractor: Six years of experience in plumbing with two of those years working as a contractor or plumber, 1,900 hours per year working in plumbing, and pass exam.

Tennessee

TN Department of Commerce and Insurance, Board for Licensing Contractors:

  • Limited Licensed Plumber: Pass exam and work must not go over $25,000.

  • Plumbing Contractor (CMC or CMC-A classification): Three years of experience and pass exam to work on projects over $25,000.

Texas

Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners:

Note: If you are interested in becoming a plumber in Houston, Texas, or any other city in this state, you need to make certain that you are familiar with the specific requirements to enter this field.

  • Journeyman Plumber: Need high school diploma or equivalent, registered as an apprentice, 8,000 hours of experience, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Need high school diploma or equivalent, registered as a journeyman, four years of experience, and pass exam.

Utah

Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing:

  • Journeyman Plumber: 6,000 hours of experience to sit for the exam, 8,000 hours of experience as an apprentice in four years, and 2,000 hours of training or eight years of experience under a journeyman or master plumber.

  • Residential Journeyman Plumber: Complete apprentice program, 6,000 hours of training in three years or six years of experience under a licensed plumber, and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: Two years or experience as a journeyman, two years of experience as a supervisor, and pass exam.

  • Residential Master Plumber: Two years of experience as a residential journeyman plumber, two years of experience as a supervisor, and pass exam.

Vermont

Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Have a certificate of completion from Vermont State Apprenticeship Council or 12,000 hours of experience.

  • Master Plumber: Have had journeyman license for 12 months and 14,000 hours of experience.

Virginia

Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Four years of experience and 240 hours of training.

  • Master Plumber: One year of experience as a licensed journeyman or 10 years of experience.

Washington

Washington State Department of Labor and Industries:

  • Journeyman Plumber: 8,000 hours of experience, four years of experience as a trainee, 4,000 hours need to be in commercial or industrial installation.

  • Special Residential Plumber: 6,000 hours of experience, six years of experience under a certified plumber.

West Virginia

West Virginia Division of Labor:

  • Journeyman Plumber: 8,000 hours of experience and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: 12,000 hours of experience and pass exam.

Wisconsin

Department of Safety and Professional Services, Division of Professional Credentialing Processing:

  • Journeyman Plumber: Complete apprentice program and pass exam.

  • Master Plumber: 1,000 hours of experience as a journeyman per year for three years and pass exam.

Wyoming

Wyoming does not require plumbers to have a license to work in the state. Certain municipalities, however, may have their own local requirements for plumber licensing, so be sure to look into those before you work in any new Wyoming jurisdiction.

Grow Your Plumbing Business

Once you've met all the requirements for a plumber license in your state and locality where you plan to work, it's time to get the word out to potential clients of your availability for jobs and to grow your plumbing business.

By developing a slate of proven plumbing marketing strategies to implement, you can ensure that all that work you did to gain that license can get put to good, and profitable, use. Also make sure to keep abreast of all the most current plumbing technology in order to make sure you can stay competitive in your field and region.

Contact us today for more information.

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