The procedures for obtaining a plumbing license can vary widely depending on location. Our state-by-state look at the requirements helps demystify the process.
Plumbing work offers good job security, competitive pay, and opportunities to become your own boss.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median plumber salary in the U.S. is $56,330 per year, more than $13,000 higher than the average median wage for all workers. The plumbing trade also provides real job security, with the industry projected to add 23,400 jobs by 2029, according to the BLS.
In most states, prospective plumbers need only a high school diploma to start an apprenticeship program or join a trade school. After completing a plumbing apprenticeship (and earning a salary while you train), and paying an application fee, most states offer a journeyman plumber and master plumber license, and many provide specialty licenses for plumbers who work with natural gas or gas piping.
If you want to run your own business, you typically need a plumbing contractor license, which requires you to employ at least one master plumber, carry liability insurance, and provide workers’ compensation.
Regardless if you want to work in residential or commercial plumbing, laboring as a licensed plumber offers multiple benefits.
This helpful guide provides a state-by-state breakdown of plumber licensing requirements in all 50 states.
To work as a plumber in Alabama, apprentice, journeyman, and master plumbers need to obtain certification from the Alabama Plumbers & Gas Fitters Examining Board. After two years of experience as an apprentice, you can apply to test for a journeyman license. After working for a minimum of one year as a journeyman, you may apply to take a test to qualify for a master plumber’s license.
View the full Alabama Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
Alaska requires a license to legally perform plumbing work. The state licenses every level of the workforce, from trainees to journeymen to contractors. The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, specifically the Mechanical Inspection Section of the Labor Standards Division, verifies training, experience, and registration requirements for applicants, conducts testing, and issues Certificates of Fitness in both the plumbing and electrical trades for Alaska.
Alaska issues the following plumbing license types:
Plumber Gas (restricted)
Plumber Utility (restricted)
Plumber Utility Trainee
View the full Alaska Plumber License Requirements.
Arizona requires a contractor license to legally perform plumbing work valued at more than $1,000. Plumbing contractor licenses are issued through the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC).
Arizona does not license apprentices or issue journeyman licenses, but some of Arizona’s cities do license at the apprentice and journeyman level, so you always want to check with the jurisdiction where you intend to work.
View the full Arizona Plumbing License Requirements.
It is illegal to perform any plumbing contractor work, except on your own home or agricultural buildings, without a license in Arkansas. To join this workforce legally, you must begin by registering as an apprentice with the Arkansas Department of Health. After completing four years of documented work under a licensed plumber, you can apply for a journeyman license. Then, after a year working with your journeyman license, you become eligible to apply for a master plumbing license.
View the full Arkansas Plumbing License Requirements.
In California, a plumber's license is a classification of an original contractors license. It is a Class C Specialty Contractor License, specifically C-36 – Plumbing, issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board.
California requires anyone applying to take the plumbing contractor licensing exam to demonstrate four years of journeyman-level experience in the field. That experience can be entirely hands-on, or gained by up to three years in an approved college or vocational training program, but at least one year must be in the field.
View the full California Plumbing License Requirements.
The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Division of Professions and Occupations is responsible for issuing plumber licenses in the state of Colorado.
The first step to starting a plumbing career involves registering as an apprentice. After two years of documented work under a licensed plumber, you can apply to get your residential plumbers license. After four years of documented work under a licensed plumber, you can apply to get your journeyman license. After five years total, you can apply to become a master plumber in Colorado.
View the full Colorado Plumbing License Requirements.
Connecticut offers eight specific plumbing licenses based on the exact scope of the work. Each of the plumbing licenses has a distinct code, scope of work permitted, and specific requirements to qualify for licensure. Connecticut issues licenses at the contractor and journeyperson level.
To qualify to take the examination for any of the contractor level licenses, you will need to demonstrate two years of documented work as a licensed journeyperson. To qualify to take the examination for any of the journeyperson level licenses, you will need to complete a registered apprenticeship program or equivalent experience and training of a certain number of hours, depending on the complexity of the scope of work.
View the full Connecticut Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
The state of Delaware licenses plumbers at the state level through the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation. Specifically, the Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Examiners licenses and regulates the industry.
Plumbing candidates in Delaware can pursue apprentice plumber, journeyman plumber, master plumber, and plumbing contractor licenses, and each require varying levels of on-the-job training and classroom instruction.
View the full Delaware Plumber License Requirements.
To legally perform plumbing work in the state of Florida, you must be a licensed contractor or a technician apprentice working under a licensed contractor.
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations, a division of Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board, issues the licenses.
There are two plumbing licenses available in Florida.
Certified Plumbing Contractor
Registered Plumbing Contractor
A State Registered License allows you to work only in the locality where you passed that locality’s competency exam. Each county will have their own licensure requirements.
The Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board–Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers oversees licensing. Georgia offers three plumbing licenses:
Master License Class 1 Restricted
Master License Class 2 Unrestricted
Becoming a plumber begins with either an apprenticeship or trade school. There is no license or registration necessary to be an apprentice plumber. As an apprentice or in a trade school, you can begin accruing the required three years of work experience to apply for your journeyman plumber license under the supervision of a licensed master plumber. After an additional two years, you can apply to become a master plumber.
View the full Georgia Plumbing License Requirements.
Hawaii licenses plumbers at the state level as they do electricians through the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Professional & Vocational Licensing Division, which is responsible for 25 professional boards and commissions and 27 licensing programs, including for contractors, plumbers and electricians. Specifically, the Board of Electricians and Plumbers licenses and regulates both industries.
Hawaii offers the following plumber licenses:
Journey Worker Plumber
View the full Hawaii Plumber License Requirements.
To perform any plumbing work legally in Idaho, you must be licensed through the state. The state licenses every level of this workforce, including apprentices, journeymen, and contractors. The Idaho Division of Building Safety administers the exams for all plumbing licenses.
Apprentices need to successfully complete a board-approved four-year apprenticeship of at least 8,000 hours of work experience and 576 hours of classroom instruction to become eligible to apply for a journeyman license. To become a plumbing contractor, you need to work for a minimum of 30 months as a licensed journeyman plumber. Idaho also offers some specialty plumbing licenses that require additional training.
View the full Idaho Plumbing License Requirements.
The state issues five different types of licenses:
Apprentice plumber’s license
Plumbing contractor license
Irrigation contractor license
Retired plumber license
Apprentices need to work under a licensed plumber for at least four years and demonstrate 144 hours of classroom instruction before applying for licensure.
If you wish to own your own business, you must apply to be a plumbing contractor. Plumbing contractors must maintain minimum general liability insurance, bodily injury insurance, property damage insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance.
View the full Illinois Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
It is illegal to perform any plumbing services in Indiana without a state-issued license. The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency oversees the Indiana Plumbing Commission, which issues and renews the statewide plumbing licenses for apprentice, journeyman, and plumbing contractors.
To qualify to take the journeyman examination and become licensed, you must provide evidence of at least four years in an apprenticeship approved by the commission or be a licensed plumber in another state.
To qualify to take the contractor examination and become licensed, you must be an Indiana resident, at least 18 years old, and provide evidence that you have completed at least four years in an apprenticeship approved by the commission, be a licensed plumber in another state, or provide proof of four years in the plumbing business under the direction of a licensed plumbing contractor.
View the full Indiana Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
The state of Iowa requires a license to legally perform plumbing work of any kind. The state licenses every level of this workforce including apprentices, technicians, journeymen, masters, and contractors. The Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board (PMSB) is responsible for the licensing and regulation of plumbers, mechanical professionals, and contractors.
View the full Iowa Plumbing License Requirements.
Kansas doesn't offer plumbing licensing at the state level, and instead issues licenses at the local level. Typically, Kansas cities license plumbing apprentices, journeyman, and master plumbers.
The Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD) is the licensing board responsible for issuing journeyman and master plumber licenses, as well as plumbing contractor licenses in Wichita. Wichita plumbers who wish to operate their own businesses need to obtain a Trade Contractors License from the MABCD board of plumbing examiners.
The City of Topeka Development Services Division (DSD) is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses, including apprentice, journeyman, and master plumber licenses. Topeka plumbers who wish to operate their own businesses need to obtain a Trade Contractors License.
View the full Kansas Plumber License Requirements.
Kentucky licenses plumbers at the state level. It is illegal to do any plumbing work without a license in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. However, Kentucky does not require you to have a license to begin working and learning as a plumber’s apprentice, as long as you are directly supervised by a licensed journeyman plumber and generally supervised by a licensed master plumber.
The Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction — Division of Plumbing issues and renews all plumber licenses in the Commonwealth.
View the full Kentucky Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
The State Plumbing Board of Louisiana (SPBLA) is responsible for licensing plumbers in the state. The Board issues two kinds of plumber licenses — journeyman and master — and also requires all plumbing apprentices to register.
To legally perform plumbing work valued at more than $10,000 in labor and materials in the state of Louisiana, you must also be licensed as a commercial contractor.
Commercial contractor licenses are issued through the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC).
View the full Louisiana Plumbing License Requirements.
The state of Maine requires a license to legally perform plumbing work of any kind. The state licenses every level of this workforce from trainee to master. The Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation in Maine oversees the Plumbers’ Examining Board and issues the licenses. Maine issues four plumber licenses: trainee plumber, journeyman-in-training plumber, journeyman plumber, and master plumber. Each classification has specific license requirements.
View the full Maine Plumbing License Requirements.
It is illegal to perform any plumbing services in Maryland without a state-issued license. To join this workforce legally, you must begin by registering as an apprentice. After four years of documented work under a licensed plumber, you can apply to get your own journeyman license. Then, after two more years working with your journeyman license, you can apply to become a master plumber in Maryland. There are serious penalties if you defy this state law.
Plumbing licenses are issued by the Maryland Board of Plumbing, one of 21 licensing boards that fall under the Maryland Department of Labor — Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
View the full Maryland Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
In the state of Massachusetts, you must be licensed to legally perform plumbing work. The state licenses every level of this workforce — apprentice, journeyman, and master. The Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure issues all the professional licenses in the commonwealth, while the state regulates plumbers through the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters.
View the full Massachusetts Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
To perform any plumbing work legally in Michigan, you must be licensed through the state. You begin by registering as an apprentice. After three years (6,000 hours) of documented work under a licensed authorized master plumber, you can apply to get your journey plumber license. After holding your journey license for two years (4,000 hours) of documented work, you can apply to get your master plumber license. Each license is a building block that leads to the next. If you want a plumbing contractor license, you either need to hold a master plumber license yourself or employ someone who is licensed as a master plumber.
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) oversees all of the professional licensing in the state. The Bureau of Construction Codes is responsible for all the skilled trades including electricians, mechanical contractors, and plumbers who are licensed through the Plumbing Division.
View the full Michigan Plumbing License Requirements.
It is illegal to perform any plumbing work without a license in Minnesota. To join this workforce legally, you must begin by registering as an unlicensed individual (formerly known as an apprentice). After four years of documented work under a licensed journeyworker (the term used instead of journeyman in Minnesota) or licensed master plumber, you can apply to take the journeyworker plumber examination to earn your license. After working as a licensed journeyworker plumber for another year, you can apply to take the master plumber examination.
Statewide regulations for electricians and plumbers are set by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
Minneapolis Construction Code Service and the St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspection issue certificates of competency, or Comp Cards, at the journey and master level. The two cities have reciprocal agreements, so if you’re certified in one you can get your certification in the other without having to retest. Always be sure to check with the municipality for local requirements where you intend to work.
View the full Minnesota Plumbing License Requirements.
The state of Mississippi does not license plumbing contractors who work on projects valuing less than $10,000. Instead, it falls to the local jurisdictions. The state does require a commercial license for plumbing, HVAC, or electrical work of $10,000 or more.
The Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) issues both residential licenses and commercial contractor licenses. A commercial license is required for commercial work over $50,000. Residential building work over $50,000 requires a residential builder license from MSBOC.
View the full Mississippi Plumbing License Requirements.
Missouri does not issue plumbing licenses at the state level, but most cities or counties have local license requirements.
Most jurisdictions require apprentices to be registered and then certify competency at the journeyman level, and then the master level.
Kansas City and St. Louis are the most populous cities in the state. Both require apprentice plumbers to work under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or licensed master plumber to gain the knowledge needed to pass examination and the work experience required to apply for a certificate of qualification as a journeyman.
The Kansas City Department of Planning & Development and the St. Louis County Department of Public Works issue certificates of qualification at the journey and master level, as well as license contractors.
View the full Missouri Plumbing License Requirements.
Montana licenses plumbers at the state level through the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Business Standards Division. Specifically, the Montana Board of Plumbers licenses and regulates the industry.
Montana requires licensure at the journeyman and master levels. While there is no contractor license, plumbing contractors and apprentices need to register with the state.
View the full Montana Plumber License Requirements.
Nebraska requires licenses for apprentices, journeymen, and master plumbers. However, individual cities issue plumbing licenses. Additionally, plumbing contractors and subcontractors doing business in the state must register with the Nebraska Department of Labor.
The City of Omaha Planning Department issues apprentice plumber certificates, journeyman plumber licenses, and master plumber licenses.
The City of Lincoln's Building and Safety Department issues licenses for master plumber contractors, master plumbers, journeyman plumbers, and plumber's apprentices. The city also issues other plumbing-related licenses, including water conditioning contractor and installer, and master, journeyman, and apprentice gas fitter licenses.
View the full Nebraska Plumber License Requirements.
Nevada requires a state license for journeyman and master plumbers, issued by the Nevada Board of Plumbing Examiners. Additionally, plumbing professionals who pull permits or own their own businesses need to hold a contractor license from the Nevada State Contractors Board.
View the full Nevada Plumber License Requirements.
The New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC) is responsible for issuing mechanical licensing, including plumbing licenses.
New Hampshire offers an apprentice, journeyman, and master plumber license, and each requires varying levels of classroom training and on-the-job experience.
View the full New Hampshire Plumber License Requirements.
You must possess a New Jersey master plumber license or be registered as an apprentice or journeyman training under direct supervision of a licensed master plumber to legally perform any plumbing services in the state.
View the full New Jersey Plumber License Requirements.
New Mexico requires a state-issued license for apprentice plumbers and journeyman plumbers, issued by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. However, New Mexico doesn’t offer a master plumber license. Additionally, plumbing professionals who own their own plumbing business need to obtain a plumbing contractor license, via the Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division.
View the full New Mexico Plumber License Requirements.
New York does not license plumbing professionals at the state level. Instead, state law requires city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing for plumbers. Licensing requirements vary widely from city to city, so make sure to check local regulations.
New York City:
To perform plumbing work unsupervised in NYC you must have a master plumber’s license, issued by the NYC Department of Buildings. NYC also offers both an apprentice and journeyman plumber license.
View the full New York Plumber License Requirements.
In the state of North Carolina, to legally perform plumbing work of any kind, you must be a licensed contractor or work under someone who is a licensed contractor. Licenses are issued by the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors, which falls under the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
North Carolina does not license at the journey or master plumber level. There are three main plumbers licenses for contractors in North Carolina and a sublicense for plumbing technicians.
P-I (Plumbing -Class I) contractor
P-II (Plumbing-Class II) contractor
RLP (Restricted Limited Plumbing) contractor
View the full North Carolina Plumbing License Requirements.
North Dakota requires a license to work as an apprentice plumber, journeyman plumber, or master plumber, issued by the North Dakota State Plumbing Board. Additionally, plumbers need to obtain a state-issued general contractor’s license from the North Dakota Secretary of State's office.
View the full North Dakota Plumber License Requirements.
To legally perform plumbing work in the state of Ohio, you must be a licensed commercial contractor or an apprentice working under a licensed plumber. There is no state-level license for either a journeyman or master plumber level.
The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) issues state licenses to plumbing contractors who perform commercial work. After extensive work experience, apprentice plumbers in the state of Ohio can become a contractor and build their own businesses.
Many cities, such as Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo, as well as other local jurisdictions, have additional licensing or registration requirements of their own for journeyman plumbers, so be sure to check where you plan to work.
View the full Ohio Plumbing License Requirements.
To legally perform plumbing work in the state of Oklahoma, you must be licensed or registered as an apprentice working under a licensed contractor. Plumbing journeyman and plumbing contractor licenses are issued through the Oklahoma Constructions Industries Board.
Some of Oklahoma’s cities still retain the authority to require state-licensed tradesmen to register with their own governing agencies, so you always want to check with the jurisdiction where you intend to work to make sure you are following local requirements. In Oklahoma City, for example, plumbing contractors must pay a fee to register their state licenses with the city before they can begin work.
View the full Oklahoma Plumbing License Requirements.
The Oregon Building Codes Division Office (BCD) issues non-contracting plumbing licenses, while the Oregon Construction Contractors Board issues contracting plumbing licenses. Oregon plumbing license types include journeyman plumber, solar heating and cooling installer, water-treatment installer, residential water-heater installer, and plumbing business contractor.
View the full Oregon Plumbing License Requirements.
Pennsylvania requires a license for apprentices, journeymen, and master plumbers. However, localities issue plumbing licenses, not the state. Each license type requires varying levels of experience.
The City of Philadelphia Business Services Department is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses in Philadelphia.
The Allegheny County Health Department is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses in Pittsburgh and greater Allegheny County.
View the full Pennsylvania Plumbing License Requirements.
Rhode Island requires a state-issued license for apprentices, journeymen, and master plumbers. Additionally, plumbing professionals who work on underground utility lines need to hold an underground utility contractor’s license.
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s (DLT) Plumbers and Irrigators branch is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses across the state.
View the full Rhode Island Plumbing Licensing Requirements.
To be a commercial plumbing contractor in South Carolina or a residential plumbing contractor, you must be licensed through the state. However, when you start out as an entry-level plumber’s helper, you do not need a license. You just need to work for someone who is.
Plumbing contractor licenses are issued on a statewide level through two different entities. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation oversees both the Contractor’s Licensing Board, which licenses commercial contractors, and the Residential Builders Commission, which licenses residential plumbers.
View the full South Carolina Plumbing License Requirements.
South Dakota requires a state-issued license for apprentices, journeymen, and plumbing contractors. Additionally, state-level licensing is required for sewer and water contractors, appliance installers, water conditioning installers, mobile home installers, and underground irrigation installers.
The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulations Plumbing Commission is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses across the state. Applicants can fill out online applications, pay for licenses, register for exams, order publications, and purchase certificates through the South Dakota Plumbing Commission's Online Licensing and Payment System.
View the full South Dakota Plumbing License Requirements.
To be a plumber in Tennessee, you must be licensed. Licenses are issued at both the state and local level. Cities and counties throughout the state issue traditional journeyman or master contractor local licenses while the state issues a contractor license with a Plumber Classification (CMC or CMC-A) and a Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP) license.
In many cases, you need a minimum of 8,000 hours (or four years) of work experience and anywhere from 576 to 900 hours of classroom-based instruction to be eligible to apply for your local journeyman plumbers license. This can be done through completing a degree at a technical college and then working for a licensed plumber, or through a registered apprenticeship.
View the full Tennessee Plumbing License Requirements.
The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is the state agency responsible for licensing plumbers in Texas and has the authority to issue licenses, endorsements, and registrations.
There are four types of plumbing licenses in Texas — tradesman plumber-limited, journeyman plumber, master plumber, and plumbing inspector — and each requires that you first register as an apprentice. Each license classification requires different training requirements.
View the full Texas Plumbing License Requirements.
In the state of Utah, you must be licensed to legally perform plumbing work of any kind. Utah issues plumbing licenses at every level — apprentice, journeyman, master, and contractor — and each requires varying levels of training. All Utah plumbers’ licenses are issued through the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL).
View the full Utah Plumbing License Requirements.
Vermont requires a state-issued license for journeymen and master plumbers. Additionally, licensees may apply for special limited licenses to work with water heaters, heating systems, and water treatment systems.
The Vermont Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses across the state. The licensing board is also responsible for the suspension and revocation of plumbers' licenses, adopting plumbing rules, and establishing inspection and permit fees. Applicants can find license applications, state plumbing code information, continuing education resources, and plumbing and heating inspector contact information on the agency’s website.
View the full Vermont Plumbing License Requirements.
The Board for Contractors regulates and licenses plumbers in Virginia. There are three basic levels of plumbing licenses in Virginia, and each requires a combination of formal education and practical experience. You’ll begin as an apprentice to gain the practical experience required to get a license while taking classes to learn the theoretical or conceptual parts of the trade. Virginia plumbing licenses include journeyman, master, and three classifications of contractor licenses, Class A, Class B, and Class C.
View the full Virginia Plumbing License Requirements.
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries licenses plumbers, electricians, contractors, and several other professions. The Plumbing Certification Program certifies every level of the plumbing workforce, including trainees, journeymen, and contractors.
Washington enacted new plumbing licensing requirements effective July 1, 2021. The changes address certified plumber shortages, expands plumber training opportunities, increases consumer protection, and provides for the creation of a new plumbing contractor license.
View the full Washington Plumber License Requirements.
The state of West Virginia requires licensure to legally perform plumbing work of any kind. The state licenses every level of this workforce — plumber in training, journeyman, master, and contractor. The West Virginia Division of Labor is responsible for the licensing and regulation of plumbers, HVAC technicians, and contractors.
View the full West Virginia Plumbing License Requirements.
In Wisconsin, you must be licensed to legally perform plumbing work of any kind. Wisconsin refers to its licenses and certifications as credentials and issues them at every level of this workforce, including apprentice, journeyman, master, and contractor.
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) — Trades Credentialing Division requires individuals to complete an approved apprenticeship program and demonstrate a specified number of hours of classroom education and work experience. With additional experience, Wisconsin offers a master plumber license. To own a plumbing business in Wisconsin, you'll also need to obtain a dwelling contractor certification.
View the full Wisconsin Plumbing License Requirements.
Wyoming requires a license for apprentices, journeymen, and master plumbers. However, Wyoming does not offer a state license, since plumbing licenses are issued at the local level.
Cheyenne Plumbing License Types and Requirements: The City of Cheyenne Contractor Licensing Board issues plumbing licenses for contractors working in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Candidates can pursue three types of plumbing licenses: apprentice, journeyman, and master. Cheyenne also issues contractor licensing for plumbing businesses.
Casper Plumbing License Types and Requirements: The City of Casper Contractor’s Board of License and Appeals issues plumbing licenses in Casper, Wyoming. Candidates can pursue three types of plumbing licenses: apprentice, journeyman, and master. The city of Casper also issues contractor licensing for plumbing businesses.
View the full Wyoming Plumbing License Requirements.