Connecticut Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Connecticut
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Learning how to be a journeyman plumber or master plumber takes years. Almost every state in the nation licenses this group of essential workers to protect everyone’s health and safety. Connecticut requires classroom education, hands-on training, and demonstrating through testing that individuals are competent to be licensed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 490,200 plumbers nationwide and Connecticut employs 4,220 of them. That number is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029 across the country. In Connecticut, that projected growth rate is four times higher at 16% according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website. That growth is projected for Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters and for their helpers in Connecticut.
Contractors are struggling to find skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC professionals. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. had unfilled hourly craft positions.
Licensing requirements for plumbers vary from state to state and, in some cases, from locality to locality. In Connecticut, licensing is uniform statewide and begins at the apprentice level.
Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Connecticut
Is a license required for plumbers in Connecticut? Yes, and it is mandated from the very beginning.
In the state of Connecticut, to legally perform plumbing work you must be licensed. The state licenses every level of this workforce — apprentice, journeyperson, and contractor. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) based in Hartford issues all professional licenses and oversees the Plumbing and Piping Work Examining Board.
Types of Plumbers Licenses in Connecticut
What are the different types of plumbing licenses in Connecticut?
Connecticut has eight specific plumbing licenses issued based on the exact type of work being performed. Each of the Plumbing Licenses has a distinct code, scope of work permitted, and specific requirements to qualify for licensure and are issued at the contractor and journeyperson level. To qualify to take the examination for any of the contractor level licenses you will need two years of documented work as a properly licensed journeyperson or equivalent experience. 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. Apprentices are registered in each of these specific areas of expertise depending on the license held by the contractor for whom they work.
The Unlimited Plumbing Licenses (P-1 and P-2) are the broadest, covering all plumbing and piping work.
P-1 UNLIMITED PLUMBING CONTRACTOR
P-2 UNLIMITED PLUMBING JOURNEYPERSON: Requires 8,000 hours (4 years)
There are four kinds of Limited “P” Designation Licenses. The Limited Sewer, Storm, and Water Licenses (P-6 and P-7) cover work limited to the installation, repair, replacement, alteration or maintenance of piping limited to water, sewer and storm lines from the point of utility responsibility to a point immediately inside a structure.
P-7 LIMITED SEWER, STORM, AND WATER CONTRACTOR
P-6 LIMITED SEWER, STORM, AND WATER JOURNEYPERSON: Requires 2,000 hours (one year)
The Limited Gasoline Tank, Piping, and Pump Licenses (P-8 and P-9) cover work limited to the installation, repair, replacement, alteration or maintenance of piping for petroleum tanks and related pumping equipment only.
P-8 LIMITED GASOLINE TANK, PIPING, AND PUMP JOURNEYPERSON: Requires 2,000 hours (one year)
The Limited Well Pumps and Piping Licenses (J-1 and J-2) cover work limited to domestic water pumps and water conditioning only.
P-9 LIMITED GASOLINE TANK, PIPING, AND PUMP CONTRACTOR
J-1 LIMITED CONTRACTOR
J-2 LIMITED WELL PUMPS AND PIPING JOURNEYPERSON: Requires 4,000 hours (two years)
Steps to Getting a Plumber’s License in Connecticut
Complete a registered apprenticeship.
Apply for licensure and pay the application fee.
Once approved, take, and pass the license exam.
Pay initial license fee and receive license.
Work indefinitely as a licensed journeyperson for a licensed contractor; OR
If you want to become a contractor yourself, you must work for two years as a licensed journeyperson to qualify to take the contractor license examination.
Pass the exam, apply for a license and pay a fee.
All license types must be renewed annually.
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Benefits of Becoming a Plumbing Professional in Connecticut
There are many benefits to getting your plumber’s license in Connecticut:
Most important, it is required by law in Connecticut to be licensed through the state to perform plumbing work at every level, beginning with being registered as an apprentice.
You will earn as you learn during your apprenticeship with a guarantee of pay increases as you develop new skills.
A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed plumbing contractors 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 and increases your earning potential as you acquire more experience.
What Is the Mean Salary for a Plumber in Connecticut?
The annual mean salary for a plumber in Connecticut is $67,240, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That salary increases as you acquire more experience, according to Indeed.com.
Apprentice: The average wage for an apprentice plumber is $16.57 per hour in Connecticut and $5,429 overtime per year.
Journeyperson: The average wage for a journeyperson plumber is $30.11 per hour in Connecticut and $10,331 overtime per year.
Pay can vary widely, depending on the city where you work and other factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Plumbers License in Connecticut?
Since Connecticut requires all plumbing and piping professionals to begin their career path with a registered apprenticeship, it’s possible to get started with very little expense. Apprenticeships are sometimes referred to as “The Other Four-Year Degree,” because it’s like college for the trades. If you get one of the coveted apprentice openings through your local Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, it’s like getting a full-ride scholarship to college. If you begin your plumbing education through the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, you’ll pay $325 per in-person course, $345 for online course, and a non-refundable registration and technology fee of $50. You may also be able to receive tuition reimbursement under the Apprentice State Expansion (ASE) federal grant awarded to the Connecticut Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training. The details can be found at this link. Other colleges and universities have different rates.
The application fee for any of the journeyperson licenses is $90. The examinations cost $65. The journeyperson initial license fee of $120 will be due after successful completion of the exam. The application fee for any of the contractor licenses is $150. The examinations cost $65 per portion; at the contractor level you will need to take both the trade and the Business and Law exam, so that will be $130. The contractor initial license fee of $150 will be due after successful completion of the exam. All plumbing and piping licenses expire on Oct. 31. Renewal fees are $150 for contractors and $120 for journeypersons.
How to Get a Plumbers License in Connecticut
To qualify for any kind of plumbing or piping license in Connecticut, you need to learn and begin gaining the necessary work experience. Connecticut doesn’t have predetermined steps but does have uniform requirements for licensure. You can choose the order as is explained in this Apprenticeship & Educational Pathways Map. You’ll need to acquire classroom training and get hands-on work experience. These two elements combine to make an apprenticeship, but the state allows you to decide whether you first get your education or get it while you’re working as a registered apprentice. So, the first few steps can be reordered to suit your preferences. All the details of these requirements can be found on the Office of Apprenticeship Training website. They’ve even published “A Career in the Trades” guide and a message to current and prospective apprentices.
APPRENTICESHIP (EDUCATION & WORK EXPERIENCE): In Connecticut, you can get a jump on completing a registered apprenticeship program at one of the technical high schools in the state. The Connecticut Technical Education and Career System website is: www.cttech.org. That’s the state’s technical high school system website and also serves adults through its extension program in the evenings. If you accumulate the classroom instruction requirements for testing for your journeyperson license as a high school student, then when you graduate you’ll just need to find a job in the industry to get the paid on-the-job training that’s required to complete a registered apprenticeship. That’s just one option though.
Alternatively, you can enroll in a plumbing program through the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System or another college after graduating from high school to complete your required formal education before accumulating the necessary work experience. Again, you would then need to find a job in the field, and your employer must register you as an apprentice. Make sure you receive a copy of your approved registered apprenticeship agreement from your sponsor (employer). This is your record of registration and lists important information such as your wage progression, trade registration category and any credit for previous registered experience.
If you’d rather earn while you learn, you can apply for an apprentice position with a local union or trade organization or a sponsoring employer. You will be required to attend classes at night or on weekends to get the requisite theoretical training, but you’ll be getting your academic instruction in tandem with your practical experience, and you probably won’t be paying for all of it. Often your employer or union will pick up some or all of those costs.
At whichever point you begin working for a licensed plumbing contractor, make sure your employer registers you as an apprentice to get your work experience documented. Unregistered work hours will not count toward completion of your apprenticeship program. Also make sure you obtain your apprentice identification card from your sponsor after your registration is approved. You must carry a valid apprentice identification card at all times while on the job and to register for the related instruction. Your apprentice identification card is valid only for the sponsor with whom you are registered and carries an expiration date. If you leave a sponsor and go to work for another sponsor, you must be re-registered. The Office of Apprenticeship Training makes it easy for you to navigate the process and keep track of your hours. They’ve put an Apprentice Handbook up on line with all of the pertinent information you’ll need as well as a place to record the hours you’ve worked.
APPLY FOR LICENSE: Once you’ve completed an approved apprenticeship program, you’ll need to apply for whichever of the unlimited or limited license designations in which you’ve acquired your experience. You’ll send your completed license application, $90 journeyperson application fee, and the original copy of the Letter of Apprenticeship Completion Certificate to:
PSI Licensure Certification
3210 East Tropicana Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89121
If everything is in order, you will be issued an Examination Eligibility postcard with instructions for scheduling and paying for the examination.
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: The Department of Consumer Protection has contracted with PSI Exams to administer all of the professional licensing exams. Each exam portion costs $65. More details on the exams below. Once you have successfully passed the journeyperson exam, you’ll need to pay your initial license fee of $120 and you will receive your license.
CONSIDER BECOMING A PLUMBING CONTRACTOR: You may work indefinitely as a licensed journeyperson, OR if you choose to apply for your contractor's license rather than work for a licensed contractor you will need to work as a licensed journeyperson for two years and then once again send your completed application, $150 contractor application fee, and any required documents to PSI at the address above.
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: For contractor licenses, you must take both the appropriate trade exam and the Connecticut Business and Law Examination. Each portion costs $65 for a total of $130. Once you have passed both exams, you’ll need to pay your initial contractor license fee of $150 and you will receive your license.
All licenses must be renewed annually, which can be done through an online portal on the Department of Consumer Protection website. There is continuing education required for both of the unlimited licenses (P-1 and P-2). P-1 license holders need to show proof of continuing education at the time of renewal in even-numbered years. P-2 license holders need to show proof of continuing education at the time of renewal in odd-numbered years.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Connecticut?
The length of time it takes to become licensed depends on the type of license being sought. Each of the designations has different requirements for the number of hours worked to complete the apprenticeship. All of those requirements are listed here. The plumbing and piping related licenses with the fewest on-the-job training hours only require 2,000 hours or about one year. The rest all require 4,000 to 8,000 hours, or two to four years.
Connecticut 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 involved. They must know plumbing code. There are many programs to get the training you need to become a plumbing professional in Connecticut, and they are located all over the state.
Getting a plumbing or piping license in Connecticut requires you to complete an approved apprenticeship. The Department of Consumer Protection lists the Education, Exam, and Training requirements on its website. As part of that you will need academic training but can get it from many approved sources. Training can begin during high school. As mentioned above, the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTECS) offers plumbing programs for high school students that counts toward the required education of licensed plumbers and as part of the extension program for adults offered from 5 to 9 p.m. The Connecticut Technical Educational and Career System Apprenticeship Related Instruction program is fully approved by the state Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training in the Licensed Occupational Construction trades. Students in grades 11 and 12 are eligible to participate. They receive up to 720 hours of instruction upon successful completion of the program. Students may be able to receive 1,500 hours toward a career-affiliated apprenticeship upon graduation upon employer acceptance. This program allows companies to hire students during the school day to work as a pre-apprentice in the plumbing and heating industry.
There are some other well-respected options statewide. The Connecticut Department of Labor provides a list. On that list you’ll find the Porter and Chester Institute. That program is about a year long and costs roughly $25,000. You’ll also find the Construction Education Center in Plainville on the Department of Labor list. The Plumbing -P2 program is four years and costs about $8,000. The Industrial Management & Training Institute, serving Waterbury and the surrounding area, offers a plumbing program that is 926 total hours and costs about $22,000. The website says that graduates of the Plumbing Technician program will have learned the necessary skills for an entry-level apprenticeship position in residential, commercial, and industrial plumbing applications. Many IMTI graduates complete the program to pursue self-employment as a plumbing contractor.
You might be lucky enough to get one of the coveted apprentice spots with United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders, & Service Techs Local 777 based out of Meriden. The apprenticeship program is five years long and meets all requirements of the state as well as the U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship standards. Apprentices will be paid a percentage of the journeyman wage and will receive periodic wage increases as they meet program requirements.
Program Prerequisites: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED.
On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you will need good customer service skills, be detail-oriented, have some mechanical capability, and be physically fit because the job can include some heavy lifting and hours of walking, standing and working in tight spaces.
Connecticut Plumbing Licensing Exam Details
Both the trade and law and business examinations are administered by PSI testing services. Once you are eligible to take the examination(s), you will need to mail the original license application (which can be found in the Candidate Information Bulletin), application fee, and any required documents to PSI licensure: certification. If all application requirements are met, PSI will issue you an Examination Eligibility postcard with instructions for scheduling and paying for the examination(s). It is your responsibility to contact PSI. You may go online at www.psiexams.com or call (855) 746-8171. Each portion of the exam is $65. If you are taking a contractor level exam, which requires both the trade portion and the Business and Law exam, the total is $130.
To prepare, PSI suggests that you start with a current copy of the Candidate Information Bulletin and use the examination content outlines as the basis of your study. Read/study materials that cover all the topics in the content outline and take practice tests. Take notes on what you study. Putting information in writing helps you commit it to memory, and it is also an excellent business practice. Also, discuss new terms or concepts as frequently as you can with colleagues. This will test your understanding and reinforce ideas. Your studies will be most effective if you study frequently, for periods of about 45 to 60 minutes. Concentration tends to wander when you study for longer periods of time.
On the day of testing, you must bring two forms of identification that bear your signature, and one must also have your photograph. Your name as shown on the application form must exactly match the name on the photo I.D. used at the testing site.
Each of the exams is described in detail in the bulletin, including the number of questions and the time limit to complete it as well as which reference materials you may use and what items are not allowed in the testing centers. There are six locations listed. Two are in Connecticut — one in West Hartford and the other in Milford. There are four others in Massachusetts in Auburn, Boston, Fall River, and Springfield.
The Business and Law Examination is required for all contractor licenses. It is made up of 50 questions and has a two-hour time limit. It covers:
Estimating and Bidding
Environmental and Safety
All of the plumbing, gas piping, and pipefitting exams have different numbers of questions and time limits depending upon the scope of the material. The unlimited contractor license has the most, with 80 questions and three hours to complete them. Check the Candidate Information Bulletin for details of what’s covered in each and what reference materials you should be studying to prepare. Most require knowledge of the International Plumbing Code and cover subjects like backflow, water heaters, and other such work.
All of the exams are open book and require a 70% to pass.
After passing your examination(s), you’ll need to submit the licensing fee indicated on the passing score report for your trade examination with all passing score reports to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and you will be issued your plumber license.
Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in Connecticut?
The Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection issues all professional licenses including for plumbers, HVAC professionals, and electricians.
Does My Connecticut Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?
No, the state of Connecticut does not have reciprocity with any other states for Plumbing/Gas fitters or HVAC/R.
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.
Connecticut law does require continuing education for electricians and plumbers. The Connecticut general statutes says that continuing education "is designed to maintain professional competence in the pursuit, practice and standards of electrical work or plumbing and piping work," and it must be provided by an organization, institution or agency that is approved by the commissioner. The website says there is no continuing education available at this time for P-8, P-9, therefore these license holders are not obligated to obtain continuing education credits. However, Unlimited Plumbing Contractors (P-1) must provide proof of seven hours of continuing education at the time of renewal in even-numbered years and Unlimited Journeyperson Plumbers (P-2) must provide proof of five hours of continuing education at the time of renewal in odd-numbered years.
All plumbing licenses expire every year on Oct. 31. To renew a journeyperson level license you must pay the $120 renewal fee. It can be done online using this link. The cost to renew a contractor license is $150.
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