Georgia Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Georgia
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You can’t rush the process of learning to be a plumber. It takes years to learn how to do this very important job well. Most states regulate this profession to ensure public safety and consumer protection—requiring a minimum amount of education and competency for all plumbers. Georgia insists on a requisite number of years practicing the art and science of plumbing before awarding a license in the state.
It will take you at least three years working as an apprentice plumber under the direction of a master plumber before you can apply for a journeyman plumbing license in Georgia. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 469,000 plumbers nationwide and Georgia employs 8,050 of them. The national number is projected to grow 2 percent from 2021 to 2031 adding 9,100 of these skilled workers to the ranks. In California, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website, the projected growth rate is four times that at 8% for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
The Associated General Contractors of America, says contractors are struggling to find skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVACR professionals.. In the 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and 63% of firms in Georgia had unfilled hourly craft positions. So, if you get the training you need you should have a variety of jobs to choose from when you’re ready.
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Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Georgia
Is a license required for plumbers in Georgia? Yes!
It is illegal to perform any type of plumbing work without a license in Georgia. The process of 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, and eventually, after an additional two years, you can apply to be a master plumber yourself.
An easy way to understand the practical difference between the two license levels in Georgia is to think of a journeyman as an employee and a master as an employer. A journeyman can provide plumbing services, but must work for a master plumber. Only a master plumber can bid on plumbing jobs because they have the license to contract out services as a plumber. So, if you want to own your own company, you must earn your master plumbers license.
The Licensing Division of the Georgia Secretary of State's Office oversees all of the Georgia Licensing Boards including the Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers which is one of 42 licensing boards.
Types of Plumbers Licenses in Georgia
What are the different types of plumbers licenses in Georgia?
There are three types of plumbing licenses in Georgia:
Journeyman License: Applicant must document at least three years of qualifying experience.
Master License Class 1 Restricted: Applicant must document at least five years of qualifying experience with at least two of those years as a licensed journeyman plumber, plumbing contractor, plumbing foreman, plumbing superintendent, or military plumber. Class I master plumber licenses are restricted to single-family buildings or buildings designed for no more than two families, or commercial structures not exceeding 10,000 square feet.
Master License Class 2 Unrestricted: Non-restricted applicants must document at least five years of qualifying experience with at least two of those years as a licensed journeyman plumber, plumbing contractor, plumbing foreman, plumbing superintendent, or military plumber, but must also describe experience with commercial or industrial plumbing.
Steps to Get a Plumber’s License in Georgia
You must be at least 18 years of age.
You must have a high school diploma or GED.
You must possess the physical ability to perform plumbing jobs.
You must have three years of work experience to apply for a Journeyman license; or
You must have five years of work experience two of which as a licensed journeyman to apply for a Master license Class 1, and experience with commercial or industrial plumbing to apply for a Class 2.
The experience is classified as Primary or Secondary experience—Primary being working experience gained through the direct installation of plumbing systems of a type which would be covered by the Georgia State Plumbing Code and/or under supervision of a licensed master plumber and directly related activity. Secondary Experience means work experience gained while engaged in work or training related to the installation of plumbing which would be covered by the Georgia State Plumbing Code like vocational school.
Education may be applied toward the experience requirement. Completion of a diploma program of a technical school in engineering technology may be credited for up to two years of secondary experience. Completion of a certificate program of a vocational-technical school may be credited for up to one year of secondary experience.
You must submit a completed application.
Take the licensing examination and pass with a score of at least 70%.
Pay the application fee and the examination fee.
An applicant must provide three persons who are currently licensed as plumbers who can attest to the applicant's good character and plumbing experience to the satisfaction of the Division. At least one reference must be a licensed master plumber.
Before bidding on jobs or offering your services independently, you will need to secure a surety bond to be deposited with a probate court judge in the county where you work primarily.
Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Georgia
There are many benefits to getting your Georgia plumbing license:
Most important, it is required by law in Georgia to be licensed through the state to legally perform any plumbing work.
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 Mean Salary for a Plumber in Georgia?
The annual mean wage for a plumber in Georgia is $57,200 according to the 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 $17.31 per hour in Georgia and $5,500 overtime per year.
Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $24.97 per hour in Georgia and $6,750 overtime per year.
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.
What Business Owners Need to Know
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How Much Does It Cost to Get a Plumbers License in Georgia?
There are a few different fees associated with getting a plumbers license in Georgia.
$30 application fee
$223 exam fee
$75 renewal fee every two years
Master Plumber Class 1 or 2
$30 application fee
$267 exam fee
$75 renewal fee every two years
How to Get a Plumbers License in Georgia
The process of getting your Journeyman, Class 1 or Class 2 Master Plumbers License in Georgia is very rigorous and specific. There is a How-to-Guide online that explains it in detail. You can also contact the Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers at:
237 Coliseum Drive Macon, GA 31217-3858 478-207-2440
WORK EXPERIENCE: Before you can apply for a license, you must gain the necessary years of experience. You will need three years of experience before you can apply for a Journeyman Plumbers license and five years of experience to apply for a Class 1 Restricted Master Plumbers License or a Class 2 Unrestricted Master Plumbers License. The state is very specific about how to accumulate that experience and what roles you need to document to be eligible for a license.
Journeyman Plumbers: Applicants must document a minimum of 3 years of experience in Primary or Secondary experience.
Primary Experience is experience that would be gained through the installation of plumbing systems under supervision.
Secondary Experience is experience that would be gained while engaged in work or training related to the installation like formal education programs.
Master License Class 1 Restricted: Applicants must document at least five years of qualifying experience with at least two of those years as a licensed journeyman plumber. Class I master plumber licenses are restricted to single-family buildings or buildings designed for no more than two families, or commercial structures not exceeding 10,000 square feet.
Master License Class 2 Unrestricted: Non-restricted applicants must document at least five years of qualifying experience with at least two of those years as a licensed journeyman plumber, but must also describe experience with commercial or industrial plumbing.
EDUCATION: Some of that work experience can be satisfied through formal education.
Completing a diploma program of a technical school in engineering technology may be credited for up to two years of secondary experience.
Completing a certificate program vocational-technical school may be credited for up to one year of secondary experience.
APPLY FOR LICENSE: Once you’ve fulfilled the work experience requirements, you may apply for your license with the board. The application process is explained in detail on the website. In addition to filing out the application, all applicants must also fill out an affidavit regarding citizenship.
As part of the application for examination, you will need to provide three notarized original reference forms from Licensed Plumbers who have knowledge of your work. At least one reference must be from a licensed Master Plumber. No copies will be accepted, as the form must include the notarized original signatures. A copy of a cover letter that can be provided to references is included in the Application for Examination along with the reference forms. Each reference should return the Reference Form directly back to you, in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap to ensure against tampering, and include all envelopes with your application. You may make additional copies of the form as needed.
All applicants should submit a background check with the application. This can be obtained by going to your local law enforcement office or through a private background check agency. If you answer “yes” on the conviction question, you must submit the requested certified documentation.
Every applicant will need to pay a $30 application fee. You may apply online or by mail. If applying by mail it should all be mailed together in a 9x12 envelope to:
Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers 237 Coliseum Drive Macon, GA 31217-3858
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: The state of Georgia has contracted with PSI/AMP testing services to administer the exam. Once you have been approved for testing, the Board will notify you that you are eligible to schedule either your Journeyman Plumber Examination, your Master Plumber Restricted Examination, or your Master Plumber Unrestricted Examination. If approved, PSI/AMP will provide you with a Candidate Information Bulletin, which includes an outline of topics covered in the examination like general knowledge and business and law as well as protocols for applying. In October 2022 the Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board and PSI announced the introduction of continuous testing rather than scheduled testing dates. PSI says continuous testing greatly reduces the time for exam-approved applicants to obtain an exam appointment. The Board will send a list of applicants who are approved to sit for an exam to PSI, and PSI will import the information into its system. PSI will then email each exam candidate a confirmation and instructions on how to schedule their exam appointment. Candidates should allow 7 business days from notice of the Board's approval to receive the email from PSI. If you achieve a passing grade of 70% you will receive your license.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Georgia?
It takes three years to qualify to take the Journeyman License Exam in Georgia and five years total to qualify to take the Master License Exam. However, you will be working on accumulating the necessary experience and earning money the whole time.
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Georgia 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 Georgia. A certificate program can take a matter of months or you can get a two-year degree at a technical or community college. There are also many more options for online training.
You may also choose to gain the necessary experience through a formal apprenticeship like the one offered by the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association of Georgia (PHCC). You could also simply look for an entry-level position with a master plumber and begin learning there.
There are several websites that can help.
Indeed.com lists plumber apprentice jobs.
ZipRecruiter.com has plumber apprentice jobs listed too.
Plumbers, Pipefitters, & HVACR Technicians Local Union 72 offers apprenticeships in the Atlanta area.
And there are many more opportunities that can be found doing a simple computer search.
As part of each of these programs, you’ll learn about plumbing systems including:
Underground water supply
Sewer drainage systems
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 two great lists of the best Plumbing Colleges and Universities in Georgia:
Prepler: Best Plumbing Colleges & Universities in Georgia
Niche: 2022 Best Colleges with Plumbing Degrees in Georgia
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. Apprenticeships can cost $0 to $1,000. 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.
Georgia Plumber Licensing Exam Details
The Georgia Journeyman and Master Plumber Examinations are administered by PSI Testing Services after it acquired AMP testing Services.
Each exam has Pre-test questions and Test questions as follows:
Journeyman Plumber Exam: 20 Pre-test questions + 100 Test questions = 120 Total
Master Plumber Class 1 Restricted Exam: 24 Pre-test questions + 120 Test questions = 144 Total
The Master Plumber Class 2 Unrestricted Exam: 28 Pre-test questions + 140 Test questions = 168 Total
Each exam is administered in two parts. You will have five hours to complete the Journeyman exam — 2 ½ hours for Part 1 then a break and 2 ½ hours for Part 2.
You will have seven hours to complete either the Class 1 or Class 2 Master Plumber exam — 3 ½ hours for Part 1 then a break and 3 ½ hours for Part 2.
The Candidate Information Bulletin describes the exam and how to apply to take it. If you are paying for the exam by credit card, you can complete the application online. If you are paying by company check or money order, you must complete this application and mail it to:
PSI 18000 W.105th St. Olathe, KS 66061-7543
The main subject areas on the Georgia Plumbers exams are:
Comply with General Laws
Comply with Regulations
Perform Pipe Cutting and Joining Activities
Perform Plumbing Systems Installation Activities
Perform System Testing Activities
Perform Maintenance and Repair Activities
Both of the Master Plumber License Exams include a Georgia Business and Law exam and a section on Administrative Requirements and Plumbing System Design.
The candidate bulletin breaks it down for each license class. You must earn a 70% or higher on each test to pass.
The cost of the Journeyman exam is $223. The Master Plumber exam costs $267.
Exams are given by computer at PSI Test Centers located throughout Georgia; in Jacksonville and Tallahassee, Florida; and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Georgia testing centers are located in:
Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Georgia?
The Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board – Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers oversees the licensing.
Applications for a plumbing license may be completed online or obtained from:
Georgia Construction Industry Licensing board Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers 237 Coliseum Drive Macon, GA 31217
Does My Georgia Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?
No, Georgia does not have any reciprocity agreements for plumbers with any other states at this time.
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 Georgia
To keep your state-issued license current, Georgia requires you to renew it every two years. You must apply for renewal prior to the expiration date. A renewal email reminder is sent to all current licensees approximately 8 weeks prior to renewal. Plumbers licenses expire on November 30 of even-numbered years. The renewal fee for a two-year period is $75.00. To qualify for renewal, plumbers must have completed continuing education.
Georgia licensed plumbers must complete at least 4 hours per year of instruction related to their profession to be eligible to renew their license. Courses must be conducted by a college, vocational-technical school, or trade association. To determine when courses are held, you must contact one of these agencies directly. You can find a list of providers here.
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