Indiana Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Indiana
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Being a plumber is a demanding but rewarding job. It takes serious knowledge to identify the correct remedy for a system failure or design a smart setup for residential or commercial properties. Most states insist plumbers meet minimum licensing requirements to protect consumers and ensure public safety. Indiana is one of them.
Indiana has rules in place from the very beginning of a plumber's training as an apprentice. It will take you at least four years as an apprentice plumber before you can apply for a journeyman license in Indiana.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there is a strong demand for this skill set. Employment of plumbers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. The Bureau also reports there are 490,200 plumbers nationwide, and Indiana employs 11,630 of them.
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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.
Licensing requirements for plumbers vary from state to state and municipalities can have additional regulations. It’s important to know what is required where you intend to work.
Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Indiana
Is a license required for plumbers in Indiana? Yes.
It is illegal to perform any plumbing services in Indiana without a state-issued license. To join this workforce legally, you must begin by registering as an apprentice. After four years as an apprenticeship working under a licensed plumber, you can apply through the approved program to get your own journeyman license.
The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency oversees the Indiana Plumbing Commission, which issues and renews the statewide plumbing licenses. You can read more about the Statutes and Rules governing plumbers in Indiana on the Commission’s website.
Types of Plumbers Licenses in Indiana
What are the different types of plumbers licenses in Indiana?
The Indiana Plumbing Commission issues registrations and licenses:
Apprentice Plumber Registration
Journeyman Plumber License
Plumbing Contractor License
The requirements for each level of licensing are very specific.
Apprentice: The only requirements to qualify to register as a plumbing apprentice is that you be an Indiana resident, at least 17 years old, and enrolled in a commission-approved apprenticeship program or have applied for acceptance into an approved program.
Journeyman Plumber: To qualify to take the Journeyman 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 or be a licensed plumber in another state.
Plumbing Contractor: 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.
Steps to Get a Plumber’s License in Indiana
You must be 17 years or older and registered in an approved program to qualify as an apprentice. However, a change to the law says that you may apply to be a registered apprentice plumber and may work under the direct and immediate personal supervision of a licensed plumbing contractor or journeyman plumber for one year so long as you have applied for acceptance to a commission-approved apprentice program.
Most apprenticeships require a high school diploma or GED.
To qualify for an examination, you must hold an apprentice license for a minimum of four years and complete a minimum of 576 hours of classroom instruction and 6,400 hours of on-the-job training.
If applying from out of state, you must demonstrate four years of experience with a signed Employer Affidavit of Experience and a copy of the out-of-state plumbing license.
Candidates must have their application for examination reviewed and approved for eligibility by the Plumbing Commission before the candidate may register for either the Journeyman Plumber examination or the Plumbing Contractor examination.
You must pass the comprehensive written examination and pay all applicable fees.
You may work indefinitely as a journeyman under the supervision of a licensed contractor or work independently with a contractor license.
If you answer “yes” to questions 1 through 4 on the background questions, you will need: The Final Court Order document of pending or finalized charges. If you were ever placed on probation or are still on probation, you will need to submit an order removing probation or setting terms of probation.
Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Indiana
There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your Indiana plumbing license:
Most importantly, it is required by law in Indiana 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 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.
It also increases your earning potential.
What Is the Median Salary for a Plumber in Indiana?
The annual mean wage for a plumber in Indiana is $61,480, 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 $17.11 per hour in Indiana and $5,429 overtime per year.
Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $25.69 per hour in Indiana and $10,331 overtime per year.
Salary can vary widely depending on the city where you work and other factors like 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 Indiana?
There are different fees associated with each license class in Indiana.
Registration Fee: $10
Renewal Fee: $10
License Fee Odd Year: $15
License Fee Even Year: $30
Exam Fee: $75
Renewal Fee: $30 every two years
License Fee Odd Year: $50
License Fee Even Year: $100
Exam Fee: $100
Renewal Fee: $100 every two years
How to Get a Plumbers License in Indiana
The first step in your Plumbing career path in Indiana is to register as an apprentice. The Plumbing Commission provides complete instructions on how to do this in its Plumbing Apprentice Application Checklist. You will need to download and fill out the Application for Registration as an Apprentice Plumber and mail it with the non-refundable $10 application fee and the Apprenticeship Agreement from the Commission-approved program. Mail it to:
Indiana Plumbing Commission Professional Licensing Agency 402 West Washington Street, Room W072 Indianapolis, IN 46204-2724
WORK EXPERIENCE: Once you have your apprentice registration, you may begin accruing the necessary work experience. Indiana requires you to hold your apprentice license for at least four years and complete 576 hours of classroom instruction and 6,400 hours of hands-on training under the direct supervision of a licensed journeyman plumber or plumbing contractor. Again, your apprenticeship must be with an approved sponsor.
APPLY TO TAKE EXAMINATION: The state of Indiana has contracted with Prov Exam Services to administer the exams. The Plumbing Commission will decide if you are eligible to register for the exam by meeting all of the educational and practical requirements listed on the Journeyman Application and will provide you with a Candidate ID to enter on the Prov registration site. Once again, the Commission provides a checklist for the Journeyman Plumber Application and another checklist for the Plumbing Contractor Application.
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: The exams are offered at Prov Testing Sites located throughout the state. They also offer them online from your home. There are more details on their website as to how to do that. Prov lists the Journeyman exam fee as $75 and Plumbing Contractor exam fee as $100. Once you successfully pass the exam you will pay $15 in an odd year or $30 in an even year for the issuance of your Journeyman license and $50 in an odd year or $100 in an even year for the issuance of your Plumbing Contractor license. Licenses need to be renewed every two years, for $30 and $100 respectively.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Indiana?
It takes four years to qualify to take either the Journeyman License Exam or the Plumbing Contractor's License Exam in an approved apprenticeship in Indiana. However, since the path begins with that apprenticeship, you will be working and earning money the whole time.
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Indiana 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 also know the plumbing code. The approved apprentice programs will prepare you for all aspects of the plumbing trade. They are offered through local unions in Muncie, Merrillville, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and elsewhere throughout the state as well as through the Associated Builders & Contractors of Indiana and the Indiana Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association. These are all programs that are approved by the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, a division of the United States Department of Labor.
You’ll learn about plumbing systems including:
Underground water supply
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.
Plumbing Colleges in Indiana: Though the apprenticeship is required in Indiana, you could choose to attend college and earn a degree in plumbing before pursuing the apprenticeship.
Here are three great lists of the best Plumbing Colleges and Universities in Indiana:
Prepler: Best Plumbing Colleges & Universities in Indiana
Universities.com: Best Plumbing Colleges in Indiana
Niche: 2021 Best Colleges with Plumbing Degrees in Indiana
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. You must also be physically able to perform required tasks and have access to transportation.
Expense: The educational cost of the apprenticeship will be about $2,000 but you will also be getting paid for your time in the field.
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.
Indiana Plumber Licensing Exam Details
The Indiana Plumbing commission has contracted with Prov to conduct its examination program. All the details of the exam, the process to apply, and the scheduling procedures are explained in the Candidate Information Bulletin. You must first complete the appropriate application with the Indiana Plumbing Commission. Applications are posted online. Once you have been approved, the IPC will notify you to contact Prov to schedule your examination. You may attempt to pass the exam up to seven times within a two-year period; however, you have one year from your approval date to take the exam for the first time. If you do not take the exam within a year, you must reapply.
The examination you will take is designed to test what qualified individuals should know as they begin operations in the plumbing field at the particular skill level being tested — either Contractor or Journeyman.
Exam Questions and Time Limits: The Journeyman Plumber exam is made up of 90 questions and you are given three hours to complete it. It will have questions about:
Water Supply and Distribution
Developed Length/Isometric Analysis
The Indiana Plumbing Contractor Exam is made up of 90 questions and you are given three hours to complete it. It will have questions about:
Water Supply and Distribution
Developed Length/Isometric Analysis
The exams are open book. There is a detailed list in the Candidate Information Bulletin of the references allowed in the testing room. Prov’s scoring system will grade your exam immediately upon completion of your test and will automatically forward the results to the state Commission.
Fees: The Indiana Journeyman Plumber Exam costs $75 and the Plumbing Contractor Exam costs $100.
Prov offers an online testing option from your home if your computer meets the minimum standards described in the Candidate Information Bulletin. There are also testing centers located throughout Indiana in:
Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Indiana?
The Indiana Plumbing Commission issues every level of plumbers license. All the information you need, including applications, can be found on the website.
You can contact the Commission at the address and phone number below:
Indiana Professional Licensing Agency Indiana Plumbing Commission 402 W. Washington Street, Room W072 Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2724
Staff phone number: 317-234-8800 Staff email: pla14@pla.IN.gov
Does My Indiana Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?
No. There is no reciprocity between Indiana and any other state. Instead, you must present an application to the Commission and pay the fee. Then the application goes before the board. If approved, you must take the exam and pass.
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 Indiana
All registrations and licenses issued by the Plumbing Commission must be renewed every two years. Renewal notices are sent approximately 90 days prior to the expiration date. License holders with valid email addresses on file will be emailed the renewal notice. Those who do not have valid email addresses on file will be mailed the renewal notice; this notice is mailed to the address of record with the Commission. The Commission has no way of knowing whether or not a notice reaches its destination; therefore, when a notice has been mailed to a valid email address or mailed, the duty of the Commission has been performed.
Online renewal is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for most license renewals. Online renewal takes only minutes, and your renewal will be processed and available for verification the next business day. Plumbing Apprentice Renewal costs $10, Journeyman Plumber Renewal costs $30, and Plumbing Contractor Renewal costs $100.
The State of Indiana does not require any continuing education to renew your license. However, keeping up with changing codes and technology is important. The Indiana Plumbing Commission recommends the following trade associations as pre-approved continuing education providers:
UA (United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry)
PHCC (Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association)
MCA (Mechanical Contractors Association)
ABC (Associated Building Contractors)
ABPA (American Backflow Prevention Association)
You can stay up to date on all Plumbing industry news in several ways: