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Arkansas Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Arkansas

category-iconPlumbing, AR

Table of Contents
  1. Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Arkansas

  2. Types of Plumbers Licenses in Arkansas

  3. Steps to Get a Plumbing License in Arkansas

  4. Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Arkansas

  5. What Is the Median Salary for a Plumber in Arkansas?

  6. How Much Does It Cost to Get a Plumbers License in Arkansas?

  7. How to Get a Plumbers License in Arkansas

  8. How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Arkansas?

  9. Arkansas Plumber Training Programs and Schools

  10. Arkansas Plumber Licensing Exam Details

  11. Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Arkansas?

  12. Does My Arkansas Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?

  13. Other Requirements Unique to Arkansas

Plumbers play a vital role in our society. They don’t have an easy job and they need a great deal of knowledge to perform the required tasks properly. Most states regulate this profession to ensure public safety and consumer protection—requiring a minimum amount of education and competency for all plumbers. Arkansas has strict standards to accomplish this, beginning at the apprentice level.

It will take you at least four years working as an apprentice plumber before you can apply for a journeyman plumbing license in Arkansas. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there is a strong demand for this skillset. Employment of plumbers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. The Bureau also reports there are 442,870 plumbers nationwide and Arkansas employs 3,030 of them.

And there’s more good news if you’re interested in this profession. The Associated General Contractors of America says contractors are hiring. In the 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. had unfilled hourly craft positions on June 30, 2020.

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Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Arkansas

Is a license required for plumbers in Arkansas? Yes!

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. After four years of documented work under a licensed plumber, you can apply to get your own journeyman license. Then after a year working with your journeyman license, you can apply to become a master plumber in Arkansas

The Arkansas Department of Health provides testing and certification of HVAC and plumbing licenses.

Under the Protective Health Codes Division, both the Arkansas Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, & Refrigeration (HVAC/R) Board and the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners established and administer the Arkansas Mechanical, Plumbing, and Fuel Gas Codes, which represents the minimum standards for installation, alteration, and repair of mechanical and plumbing equipment and systems within the State of Arkansas.

Types of Plumbers Licenses in Arkansas

What are the different types of plumbers licenses in Arkansas?

There are three levels of licensure in Arkansas:

  • Apprentice Registration

  • Journeyman License

  • Master License

If you plan to be a general contractor, you will need a contractor's license issued by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. If you will be doing the plumbing on the project, you will still need a trade license—either a journeyman plumber license or a master plumber license.

Steps to Get a Plumbing License in Arkansas

  1. You must be at least 16 years old.

  2. Register as an apprentice. The State of Arkansas defines an apprentice plumber as any person other than a journeyman or master plumber who is engaged in learning and assisting in the installation of plumbing and drainage and enrolled in a state-approved apprentice program.

  3. To establish a record of apprenticeship, every apprentice plumber must be registered with the local apprenticeship committee, the Department of Health, and US Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship within 30 days of beginning work.

  4. After accumulating four years of experience as a registered apprentice, you may apply for a Journeyman Plumbers license and pay the licensing and exam fees.

  5. Once approved by the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners, you must take and pass the Journeyman exam. The State of Arkansas defines a journeyman plumber as any person other than a master plumber who is engaged in the practical installation of plumbing.

  6. After working for a year with your Journeyman License and thereby having five years total of work experience, you may apply for a Master Plumbers License and pay the licensing and exam fees.

  7. Once approved by the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners, you must take and pass the Master exam. The State of Arkansas defines a master plumber as any person skilled in the planning, superintending, and practical installation of plumbing and familiar with the laws, rules, and regulations governing it.

  8. Upon successful completion, you will receive your Master Plumber License.

  9. You must renew each level of licensure annually on December 31. 

  10.  An individual is not eligible to receive or hold a license issued by the Board if that individual has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or been found guilty of serious criminal offenses.

Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Arkansas

There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your Arkansas plumbing license:

  • Most importantly, it is required by law in Arkansas to be licensed through the state to legally perform any plumbing work, even at an apprentice level.

  • A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.

  • Only licensed master plumbers can: operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance, pull building permits and pass inspections, bid on public and government projects.

  • Having a license protects your company and customers.

  • A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.

  • It also increases your earning potential.

What Is the Median Salary for a Plumber in Arkansas?

The annual mean wage for a plumber in Arkansas is $44,230, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That salary increases, as you might expect, as you acquire more experience, according to indeed.com.

Apprentice: The average salary for an apprentice plumber is $15.84 per hour in Arkansas and $5,429 overtime per year.

Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $21.16 per hour in Arkansas and $10,331 overtime per year.

The average licensed plumber salary in Arkansas is a little higher, according to Salary.com. They have it listed as $53,500 as of December 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $46,500 and $61,200. Salary can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Plumbers License in Arkansas?

According to the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners, which can be reached at 501-661-2642, the varying levels of registration/licensing cost different amounts in Arkansas.

  • Apprentice Registration:

○      No testing required

○      Initial Registration Fee: $25

○      Renewal Fee: $25

  • Journeyman License:

○      Examination Fee: $75

○      Initial License Fee: $75

○      Renewal Fee: $75

  • Master License:

○      Examination Fee: $125

○      Initial License Fee: $200

○      Renewal Fee: $200

How to Get a Plumbers License in Arkansas

WORK EXPERIENCE: Arkansas requires anyone doing any kind of plumbing work to register with the Arkansas Department of Health, Plumbing & Natural Gas Section as an apprentice. The Department provides Instructions on how to apply. To register, you must submit this application form and a $25 fee. There is no examination at this level. You may then begin accruing the four years of experience needed to apply to test for a Journeyman License. You gain that experience through an approved apprenticeship program under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master plumber. In 2017 authority over the apprentice plumber program transferred from the Arkansas Department of Health to the Career Education and Workforce Development Board. Under the Rules and Regulations for Plumbing Apprenticeship Programs, the term of apprenticeship must be at least 8,000 hours of practical work experience and 640 hours of related classroom instruction over the four years.

APPLY FOR JOURNEYMAN LICENSE: After you’ve completed an approved apprentice program or college degree program, you can apply to the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners for your journeyman license by submitting this application form, a $75 application fee, and a $75 exam fee. All plumber applications must be reviewed by the Committee of Plumbing Examiners at their regular monthly meetings. Applicants will be notified by mail as to the disposition of the Committee’s decisions. Approved applicants will receive a Notification of Examination. Denied applicants will receive a letter of explanation.

WORK EXPERIENCE: After you earn your journeyman license, if you wish to become a Master Plumber, you will need to repeat the process above. You will need a minimum of a year working as a Journeyman Plumber under a licensed Master Plumber before you can apply to take the Master Plumber Examination.

APPLY FOR MASTER LICENSE: You can apply to the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners for your master license by submitting this application form, a $200 application fee, and a $125 exam fee. All plumber applications must be reviewed by the Committee of Plumbing Examiners at their regular monthly meetings. Applicants will be notified by mail as to the disposition of the Committee’s decisions. Approved applicants will receive a Notification of Examination. Denied applicants will receive a letter of explanation.

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How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Arkansas?

It takes four years to qualify to take the Journeyman License Exam in Arkansas and five years total to qualify to take the Master License Exam. The path begins with an apprenticeship, so you will be working and earning money the whole time.

Arkansas Plumber Training Programs and Schools

Plumbers are responsible for a lot more than just fixing leaks or clogs. They design, install, and renovate systems that carry liquids or gasses, so they must know more than just the mechanics. 

They must know plumbing code. There are many programs to get the training you need to become a plumbing professional in Arkansas. You’ll need to find an opening with an approved apprenticeship program. There are several websites that can help:

You’ll learn about plumbing systems including:

  • Underground water supply

  • Stormwater

  • Sewer drainage

  • Fixture installation

  • Waste and vent piping both inside and outside of buildings

  • Residential and service plumbing

Any program should also cover OSHA safety training, detailed instruction in chemistry, mathematics, physics, blueprint reading and drafting, in-depth examination of state codes, and advanced training about water treatment systems, water heaters, plumbing appliances and plumbing fixtures.

You can also choose to attend college and earn a degree in plumbing. Here are three great lists of the best Plumbing Colleges and Universities in Arkansas:

  • Prepler: Best Plumbing Colleges & Universities in Arkansas

  • Universities.com: Best Plumbing Colleges in Arkansas

  • Niche: 2021 Best Colleges with Plumbing Degrees in Arkansas

You’ll see that many of the same colleges or programs appear on all these lists.

Tuition: The Cost of Tuition depends on the program you choose and varies widely. The good news is in many programs you’ll be earning while you’re learning. Tuition for a trade school can be as little as $1,250 to 3,000 for a certificate program, or an associate’s degree can run from $3,000 to $23,000, depending on the school, according to education.costhelper.com.

Program Prerequisites: Most programs require you to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) degree. Many require you to pass a physical and a drug test.

On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you will need to have good customer service skills, be detail-oriented, have mechanical capability, and be physically fit because the job can include some heavy lifting and hours of walking, standing, and working in tight spaces.

Arkansas Plumber Licensing Exam Details

The State Committee of Plumbing Examiners meets monthly to review applications and determine who will be allowed to sit for the licensing exams. The examinations for both the Journeyman License and the Master License are given monthly and the dates are published on the Department of Health, Plumbing & Natural Gas Section website.

Both exams are open-book and are made up of 100 questions with a 3-hour time limit. You must score a 70% or higher to pass each of the exams.

You will only need to take a business and law exam if you plan to apply for a general contractor's license.

Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Arkansas?

The Arkansas Department of Health, Plumbing and Natural Gas Section issues all plumbing licenses.

Applications for a plumbing license may be obtained from:

Arkansas Department of Health Plumbing & Natural Gas Section 4815 West Markham Street, Slot #24 Little Rock, AR 72205-3867 (501) 661-2642

Does My Arkansas Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?

No, Arkansas does not have any reciprocity agreements with any other states at this time. Plumbers from other states can apply on an individual basis with the State Committee of Plumbing Examiners.

Journeyman plumbers from out-of-state will use the same form as those applying from in-state. Page 3 of the application allows you to list your previous licensing and what agency can verify your work history in your previous state.

Master plumbers from out-of-state will use the same form as those applying from in-state. Again page 3 of that application allows you to list your previous licensing and what agency can verify your work history in your previous state.

Plumbing Certifications

Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. National Inspection Testing and Certification (NITC),  International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (ASSE Certifications), and other professional certifications are not required but may make you a more attractive hire to prospective employers or can increase your marketability to customers.

Other Requirements Unique to Arkansas

Journeyman and Master Plumber licenses, as well as Apprentice Registrations, all expire on December 31 of each year. The Department sends out invoices to all licensed and registered plumbers at the end of November or beginning of December to remind them to renew and pay the appropriate fee.

The renewal fees are:

  • Apprentice $25

  • Journeyman $75

  • Master $200

There is no online portal at this time to renew. You must mail it to:

Arkansas Department of Health Plumbing & Natural Gas Section 4815 West Markham Street, Slot #24 Little Rock, AR 72205-3867

Continuing Education

The State of Arkansas does not require any continuing education to renew your license.

Resources

You can stay up to date on all Plumbing industry news several ways: