All You Need to Know About Becoming a Licensed Plumber

Plumbing Business Tips

A license is perhaps not the first thing you think about when you’re thinking of running a plumbing business. But it just might be the most important thing to begin with. Not only does getting a license give you credibility but it’s also mandatory!
Here is a list of everything you need to know about becoming a licensed plumber.

Licensing is also mandatory, since there are some people who will wonder “is it illegal to do plumbing without a license?” That will definitely get you into hot water.

If you’re interested in branching out into your own plumbing business, or want to switch trades into plumbing, we can give you the steps you’ll need to go through from journeyman to a licensed plumber.

Getting into an apprenticeship or trade school

Before you start your education at a trade school or work under a licensed plumber as an apprentice, you will need a basic GED or high school education.

But if you’re wanting to get into a competitive apprentice program and a plumbing apprentice license, then you should look into getting some additional experience through coursework at your local community college. That’s what shows trade schools and plumbing companies that you’re serious about making this your full-time trade.

Acquiring the apprenticeship

If you’re wondering how long does it take to get a plumbing license, a Plumber’s apprenticeship typically lasts around 4-5 years, depending on which state you’re studying from. Although this can sound like a long time, the good news is that you can expect to earn money during the time you’re in plumbing license school. Earning a license for a specific state, such as a Florida plumbing license, will depend on you having a proper foundation.

Although you can earn money as an apprentice, that doesn’t discount you from taking a full course of classes at your trade school. This means that you can expect your schedule to be fully packed for the duration of your apprenticeship.

Your trade school may sometimes help you in finding an apprenticeship, but there are some other schools that will consider it part of your job to find an apprenticeship on your own. When looking for an apprenticeship, you should want to study under a master plumber who has many years of experience under their belt. Once you get into an apprenticeship, your master plumber will make you learn on the job, while also providing opportunities to grow your network and career opportunities.

As an apprentice plumber, it’s also important to note that your particular state may demand that you register as one to recognize your apprenticeship. If you’re not sure, check with your trade school or master, they will be able to help you out.

Qualifying for the license exam

Completing your apprenticeship isn’t a guarantee that you will qualify for the Plumber’s License exam. The requirements will vary from state to state, with some states having an online plumbing license. This basically means that you should plan ahead and consider which state you’re going to work in before you go ahead and register for the license exam.

Some states will require character testimonies and professional recommendations, while some others may also require insurance for your trade before you are allowed to register for the licensing exam.

If you’re happy to work in your own state, and want to consider it only in the future, a license you acquire in a particular state makes you eligible to sit and write the plumbing exam in another state. This can be helpful if you work near a state border and want to pick up clients from across the border.

Clearing the license exam

After you apply for the license exam, the state will verify whether or not you meet all of the requirements. Once they have verified your credentials, the state will contact you and schedule a time to take the exam.

Usually, exams are scheduled on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. You are also given the option of taking the location in various locations across the state, so you can choose the location that’s most convenient to you. If you’ve studied hard at trade school and worked well during your apprenticeship, the licensing exam isn’t going to be much of a challenge, since you’ll already be prepared for anything they may throw at you.

On the night before, get a solid eight hours of sleep at least. Arrive at the test center at least an hour before the scheduled time for the exam so you can beat traffic and any unexpected delays. Once you start the exam, answer the questions that you’re most comfortable with, so you have enough time to go back to questions that may be a little more challenging. Don’t rush through the exam, you will have plenty of time for all the questions.

Once you pass the exam

Once the state evaluates your exam and considers you to have passed, you will receive a notification that you’ve successfully passed your Journeyman’s Plumber’s exam, after which you will receive a license with an ID number unique to you.

This license will be unique to each state, such as a California plumbing license or Texas plumbing license, and will also show how much experience you have as a plumber, with different tiers such as the journeyman license, master plumber license, and so on. Using the internet, plumbing license lookup features can be used to find out who’s licensed in the state and who’s not, so you can partner with plumbers for bigger jobs.

With this license, plumbers are free to continue to work with their master plumber without needing supervision. If you feel confident enough to start your own business, you also have that option. This can broaden your career opportunities, as well as improve how much you can earn on your own.

But earning your license isn’t the completion of your licensing journey. Every year, you will need to go through the plumbing license renewal process. If you are interested in becoming a master plumber, you will need to sit through an additional exam. Check your state’s requirements for what you will need to qualify before you can sit for the Master plumber’s exam.


There is a lot of money to be made in plying a trade, especially one as perennially popular as plumbing. But lucrative career opportunities are only available to those who are ready to dedicate their time and energy into proving they’re serious about plumbing.

Although there are a few hurdles to cross, the path is well worth it and can offer a stable and satisfying career to anyone who is willing to stick with it and get themselves trained and licensed. If you’ve been wondering how to get a plumbing license and start making a name for yourself, then this might be just the push you need to get started.

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