Kansas Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Kansas
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As with other skilled trades, most states require training and licensure before you can legally install, repair, and maintain plumbing systems. While the plumbing trade has been around since the 1800s, today’s plumbers need a wide range of skills to work in residential and commercial settings. Depending on the nature of the job, plumbers often work alongside electricians, HVAC techs, general contractors and other professionals in the construction industry.
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Learning the art of plumbing takes years, but once you complete the necessary training and work experience, your skills will be in high demand across Kansas and beyond.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there are roughly 469,000 plumbers, pipefitters, and gasfitters nationwide, and 3,900 work in Kansas. The national number is projected to grow 2% from 2021 to 2031. In Kansas, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website, the projected growth rate is slightly higher at 3% for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.
Contractors are struggling to find skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVACR professionals. In fact, 60% of firms in the United States and 68% of firms in Kansas had unfilled hourly craft positions, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey. So, if you get the training you need you should have a variety of jobs to choose from when you’re ready.
Licensing requirements for plumbers vary from state to state and in some cases, like Kansas, from municipality to municipality.
Kansas Plumbing License Types and Requirements
Is a state license required for plumbing work in Kansas? No. 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. Those who wish to own their own plumbing business need to obtain a Plumbing Contractor License, but there is no state contractors licensing board. Read on to learn more about professional licensing in Wichita and Topeka, Kansas.
Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in Wichita?
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 Apprentice Plumber Program
An apprenticeship program is the first step to starting a career in the plumbing industry. Candidates typically need a high school diploma or GED, photo ID, and a valid driver’s license to be eligible. Candidates can join an apprenticeship program offered by a local company or trade union, or through the Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training of Kansas.
Apprentice plumbers in Wichita need to complete one year of field experience and one year of plumbing trade school, or two years of experience and score 75% or better on an approved International Code Council or IAPMO Exam. There is no registration fee or required testing to become an apprentice plumber.
Wichita Journeyman Plumber License
After completing the required apprenticeship training, candidates become eligible to take the journeyman licensing exam. The open book exam consists of 100 questions and requires a score of 75% or higher to pass. Candidates also need to pay a $125 application fee.
After successfully passing the exam, journeyman candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $35 license fee.
To renew a journeyman license, Wichita plumbers need to pay a $35 renewal fee and complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.
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Wichita Master Plumber License
To work as a licensed master plumber, candidates must demonstrate at least two years of verifiable work experience as a licensed journeyman plumber, or four years of experience and score 75% or better on an approved International Code Council or IAPMO Exam.
After successfully passing the exam, master candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $35 license fee.
To renew a master license, Wichita plumbers need to pay a $35 renewal fee and complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years.
Wichita Trade Contractor License
Wichita plumbers who wish to operate their own businesses need to obtain a Trade Contractors License from the MABCD board of plumbing examiners. To be eligible, candidates need to submit the following:
Trade Contractors Application along with $360 license fee
Trade Certificate showing at least one licensed Master Plumber
Certificate of liability insurance (at least $300,000 in general liability) showing MABCD as the certificate holder.
Certificate of workers’ compensation insurance
Auto certificate of insurance
Certificate of Good Standing from the Secretary of the State of Kansas
Wichita contractors must renew their trade licenses every two years on odd years at a fee of $360.
Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in Topeka?
The City of Topeka Development Services Division (DSD) is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses, including Apprentice Plumber Licenses.
Topeka Apprentice Plumber License
To start the process, candidates need to fill out a license application with the DSD and pay a $33 fee.
Topeka apprentice candidates can join an apprenticeship program offered by a local company or trade union, or through the Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training of Kansas. Apprentices need to complete two years of work experience and a minimum of 930 hours of classroom training to become eligible for the journeyman exam.
Topeka Journeyman Plumber License
After completing the required apprentice training, candidates become eligible to take the journeyman licensing exam via the International Code Council or Pearson VUE. The exam requires a score of 75% or higher to pass. Candidates also need to pay a $50 application fee.
After successfully passing the exam, journeyman candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $53 license fee.
Topeka journeyman plumbing license holders must complete six hours of continuing education every year, with at least three hours covering the local plumbing code.
Topeka Master Plumber License
To become eligible for a Master Plumbing License, candidates need to hold a valid journeyman plumber license for a minimum of two years, or provide proof of four years of work experience under a licensed master plumber.
After passing the exam, master candidates need to complete the license application and pay a $103 license fee.
Topeka master license holders must complete six hours of continuing education every year, with at least three hours covering the local plumbing code.
Topeka Plumbing Contractor License
Topeka plumbers who wish to operate their own businesses need to obtain a Trade Contractors License from the DSD. To be eligible, candidates need to be a licensed master Plumber or employ at least one master plumber.
Click here for the full contractor license details and application.
National Plumbing Certifications
Other certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency to potential employers and clients. The National Inspection Testing and Certification (NITC), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (American Society of Sanitary Engineers, or ASSE, Certifications) and other professional certifications can add to your marketability and increase your opportunity to make more money.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbing License in Kansas?
The length of required training in Kansas varies by the type of license and municipality, but it typically takes two years of apprentice training to become a journeyman plumber, and an additional two years to become a master plumber.
Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Kansas
There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your Kansas plumbing license:
Most importantly, it is required by law in many places in Kansas to be licensed to legally perform plumbing work.
You will earn as you learn 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.
You can own your own business and be your own boss.
What Is the Mean Wage for a Plumber in Kansas?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean wage for plumbers in Kansas at $55,050. The salary for plumbers increases as you acquire more experience according to Indeed.com.
Apprentice: The average salary for an apprentice plumber is $17.98 per hour in Kansas and $5,500 overtime per year.
Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $54,840 per hour in Kansas.
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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Required forms that ensure every job is done right, driving consistency.
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Sales presentations that make conversations with customers easier and drive average ticket.
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Kansas Plumbing Training Programs and Trade Schools
Kansas offers a wide variety of training opportunities across the state, including trade schools and community colleges that offer plumbing programs.
Some of the top training schools include:
Does My Kansas Plumbing License Work in Any Other States?
No, Kansas doesn't offer state-level reciprocal agreements with other states, even nearby states like Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, or Nebraska. Make sure to check local regulations on license reciprocity.
Additional Resources for Kansas Plumbers
You can stay up to date on all plumbing industry news several ways: