Maryland Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Maryland
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Water and gas leaks are a hassle and they can be downright dangerous! It’s important that we have professionals who have been fully trained to tackle these complex plumbing systems safely. Most states insist plumbers meet minimum licensing requirements to protect consumers and ensure public safety.
Maryland has strict regulations for plumbers of every level from apprentice to master.
It will take you at least four years working as an apprentice plumber before you can apply for a journeyman license in Maryland. 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 Maryland employs 8,490 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.
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.
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Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Maryland
Is a license required for plumbers in Maryland? Yes!
It is illegal to perform any plumbing services in Maryland without a state-issued license. 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 two more years working with your journey license, you can apply to become a master plumber in Maryland. There are serious penalties if you defy this state law.
Plumbing licenses are issued by the Maryland Board of Plumbing, one of 21 licensing boards that falls under the Maryland Department of Labor — Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. The licensing requirements are posted on the Board’s website.
Types of Plumbers Licenses in Maryland
What are the different types of plumbers licenses in Maryland?
The Maryland Board of Plumbing issues three Plumber/Gas Fitter licenses:
Apprentice Plumber/Gas Fitter
Journeyman Plumber/Gas Fitter
Master Plumber/Gas Fitter
The requirements for each level of licensing are very specific.
Apprentice: The only requirement to qualify for an Apprentice license is that you be at least 16 years old.
Journeyman Plumber/Gas Fitter: To qualify for a Journeyman license, you must have held an apprentice license for at least four years, have completed 7,500 hours of training under the control and direction of a licensed master plumber, have completed 32 hours of training in backflow prevention device testing, and pass a comprehensive written examination.
Master Plumber/Gas Fitter: To qualify for a Master license, you must have held a Journeyman license for at least two years, have completed 3,750 hours of training under the direction and control of a licensed master plumber, and pass a comprehensive written examination.
The board is also responsible for the licensing of Natural Gas Fitters.
Steps to Get a Plumber’s License in Maryland
You must be at least 16 years old and in some cases 18 years old to qualify for certain apprenticeships.
Most but not all apprenticeships require a high school diploma or GED.
You must hold an apprentice license for a minimum of four years and complete 7,500 hours of training under the control and direction of a licensed master plumber.
You must complete 32 hours of approved training in backflow prevention device testing.
You must pass a comprehensive written examination.
At this point, you may apply for your Journeyman level license.
You may work indefinitely with a Journeyman license as long as you work under the direction and control of a Master plumber.
If you choose to pursue a Master plumber license, you must gain an additional two years of experience and complete 3,750 hours of training while holding a Journeyman license and being supervised by a Master plumber.
Then you must take and pass another comprehensive written examination.
At this point, you may apply for your Master Plumber license.
By law, all Master plumbers must have a minimum of $400,000 in insurance coverage consisting of $300,000 in General Liability Insurance and $100,000 in Property Damage Insurance through a company approved by the Maryland State Insurance Administration.
Every Plumbers License Application requires the applicant to disclose if he/she has ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in any State or Federal Court or if this type of license has ever been denied, suspended or revoked. A felony or misdemeanor conviction does not automatically disqualify an individual from licensure. The Board encourages everyone to apply for a license. Each conviction is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and the Board is required to consider certain factors, including the nature of the crime, length of time since the conviction, and what the applicant has done since the conviction.
Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Maryland
There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your Maryland plumbing license:
Most importantly, it is required by law in Maryland 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 Maryland?
The annual mean wage for a plumber in Maryland is $61,300 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 $17.15 per hour in Maryland and $5,429 overtime per year.
Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $28.06 per hour in Maryland and $10,331 overtime per year.
The average licensed plumber salary in Maryland, according to Salary.com is listed as $59,800 as of December 28, 2020, but the range typically falls between $52,000 and $68,400. Salary ranges 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 Maryland?
There are different fees associated with each license class in Maryland.
License Fee: $15
License Fee: $35
Exam Fee: $65
License Fee: $70
Exam Fee: $65
How to Get a Plumbers License in Maryland
The first step in your Plumbing career path in Maryland is to apply for your Plumbers Apprentice License. You don’t need to be enrolled in an apprentice program to get your license, but you will need your license before you are allowed to start your training.
WORK EXPERIENCE: Once you have your apprentice license, you may begin accruing the necessary work experience. Maryland requires you to hold your apprentice license for at least four years and complete 7,500 hours of training under the control and direction of a licensed master plumber. Your apprenticeship must be with an approved sponsor. The Maryland Apprentice and Training Program website lists approved programs and employers. As part of this training, you must complete 32 hours of training in backflow prevention device testing through one of the approved courses.
APPLY TO TAKE EXAMINATION: The state of Maryland has contracted with PSI Testing Services to administer the exams. Once you’ve fulfilled the work experience requirements, you may apply to take the license exam. The MD Journey Plumber/Gas Fitter exam costs $65.
There is a second version of it listed on the PSI Testing site. It is labeled MD Journey Plumber/Gas Fitter (IPC and IFGC version). IPC stands for International Plumbing Code and IFGC stands for International Fuel Gas Code. Applicants who intend to work in Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, or Montgomery County may be required to submit to this or an additional examination by the local jurisdiction. You may wish to contact the Baltimore County Plumbing Board or the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (“WSSC”) before completion of the application.
Baltimore County: 410-887-3620
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: To be eligible to register for an examination, you have to satisfactorily complete the required work experience. PSI will review the application to determine that an applicant is eligible by meeting all license requirements. The Candidate Information Bulletin provides all the information about the tests, the requirements, and the process. Every test requires a minimum passing grade of 70%.
APPLY FOR LICENSE: Applicants who pass the examination will NOT receive any additional notices from PSI. They will receive a registration card that is used in conjunction with electronic filing for the actual license from DLLR. You can apply for your license online through Maryland’s Department of Labor Electronic Licensing online platform. This is a link to the Plumbers License Application. Questions regarding the license application should be directed to the State Board of Plumbing at 410-230-6231.
ADDITIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE: If you choose to pursue any of the Master licenses, you will need to accrue additional work experience. The state says to apply for the Master Plumber/Gas Fitter License you must have been licensed as a journeyman for at least two years and have completed 3,750 hours of training under the direction and control of a licensed master plumber.
APPLY TO TAKE EXAMINATION: Once you’ve fulfilled the work experience requirements, you may apply to take the license exam through PSI. The MD Master Plumber/Gas Fitter exam costs $65. There is a second version of it listed on the PSI Testing site. It is labeled MD Master Plumber/Gas Fitter (IPC and IFGC version). As stated above, IPC stands for International Plumbing Code and IFGC stands for International Fuel Gas Code. Applicants who intend to work in Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, or Montgomery County may be required to submit to this or an additional examination by the local jurisdiction. Again, you may wish to contact the Baltimore County Plumbing Board or the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (“WSSC”) before completion of the application.
Baltimore County: 410-887-3620
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: The Candidate Information Bulletin provides all the information about the tests, the requirements, and the process. Every test requires a minimum passing grade of 70%.
PSI can be reached at:
PSI Examination Services (PSI) 3210 E Tropicana Las Vegas, NV 89121 855-746-8173
ACQUIRE APPROPRIATE INSURANCE: All Master applicants are required to carry general liability and property damage insurance through a company approved by the Maryland State Insurance Administration. Applicants are required to provide this form to their insurance agent.
The following are also required:
Your name and permanent registration/certificate number must appear on the certificate of insurance.
Your general liability insurance coverage must be at least $300,000.
Your property damage liability insurance coverage must be at least $100,000.
The combined amount of the general liability and property damage insurance must be at least $400,000.
Any umbrella policy coverage is not acceptable for compliance with this requirement.
THE CERTIFICATE HOLDER SHALL BE:
Maryland State Board of Plumbing 500 N. Calvert Street, Rm 201 Baltimore, MD 21202
Only insured master plumbers can enter into contracts to perform plumbing or gas services. Each master plumber must display the master plumber license and the license number conspicuously in the principal place of business of the master plumber; and the license number of the master plumber license on each vehicle used on the job for providing plumbing services.
APPLY FOR LICENSE: Those who pass the examination will NOT receive any additional notices from PSI. They will receive a registration card that is used in conjunction with electronic filing for the actual license from DLLR. You can apply for your license online through Maryland’s Department of Labor Electronic Licensing online platform. This is a link to the Plumbers License Application. Questions regarding the license application should be directed to the State Board of Plumbing at 410-230-6231.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Maryland?
It takes four years to qualify to take the Journeyman License Exam in Maryland and an additional two years total to qualify to take the Master License Exam. However, since the path begins with an apprenticeship, you will be working and earning money the whole time.
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Maryland 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. The apprenticeships offered through the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training program will prepare you for all aspects of the plumbing trade.
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.
Though MATP guides you through the process, the Maryland Department of Labor does not place individuals into apprenticeship programs. Sponsor and/or employers hire apprentices directly. An apprenticeship program sponsor may not be hiring at the time of your search. You must contact the apprenticeship program sponsors directly to find out the application requirements. MATP offers personal assistance to guide you through it. You can call 410-767-2246 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with an apprenticeship navigator who will direct you to available apprenticeship opportunities.
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. However, some programs allow individuals 16 years and older with parental permission. 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: There is often an application fee for apprenticeships, but is typically less than $100. If selected for training, you will receive an Apprentice Scholarship for your training. You will, however, be responsible to pay for your books and tools. These materials are approximately $500 for the first year and about $350 on average for the next four years. If it is a union apprenticeship, you are required to pay union dues of about $30 a month once you are actively working on a job site. However, you’ll be earning as you learn. You’ll be paid a percentage of a journeyman wage and that percentage will increase every year of your apprenticeship.
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.
Maryland Plumber Licensing Exam Details
The Maryland State Board of Plumbing has contracted with PSI licensure/certification (PSI) 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. The application to register for the exam begins on page 14 of the Bulletin. To apply to take an exam you must mail the completed application — including documentation of your work history — and the $65 fee to:
PSI Examination Services Attn: MD Plumber/Gas Fitter Examinations 3210 E. Tropicana Las Vegas, NV 89121
You may also contact PSI at 855-746-8173 with any questions. You should receive notice of your eligibility to test within 10 business days from the day you mail your application.
Exam Questions and Time Limits: The Master Plumber/Gas Fitter and the Journeyman Plumber/Gas Fitter examinations are each made up of 100 questions and have a time limit of 240 minutes. They will cover:
Plumbing Fundamentals and Safety
Materials, Uses, and Specifications
Traps, Interceptors, and Backwater Valves
Plumbing Fixtures, Fixture Fittings, and Plumbing Appliances
Water Supply Systems
Drain, Waste, and Vent Systems
Gas Appliances and Piping
The exams are open book. There is a detailed list in the Candidate Information Bulletin of the references allowed in the testing room. You must receive at least a 70% to pass the exam.
Fees: Each exam costs $65. Payment can be made by money order, certified check, cashier’s check, personal check, or company check made payable to PSI. Cash is not accepted. Include your name and/or Social Security Number on your money order or check to ensure that your fee is properly assigned.
Applicants who intend to work in Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, or Montgomery County may be required to submit to an additional examination by the local jurisdiction. You may wish to contact the Baltimore County Plumbing Board or the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (“WSSC”) before completion of this application.
Baltimore County: 410-887-3620
Exam Dates: Examinations for master and journey plumbing/gas fitter are given at least weekly at PSI's computerized testing centers that are located in Baltimore, College Park, Salisbury, Lanham, Crofton, and Hagerstown.
Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Maryland?
You can contact the Board at the address and phone number below:
Maryland Board of Plumbing 500 N. Calvert Street, Room 481 Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651 410-230-6231 (Baltimore area) or 1-888-218-5925 (toll free)
Does My Maryland Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?
Yes, the State Plumbing Board reciprocates with the State of Delaware, but only for the Master Plumber/Gas Fitter License. You can apply online. They also have a reciprocity agreement with Baltimore County and the WSSC.
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 Maryland
All licenses and certificates issued by the State Board of Plumbing expire two years from the date of issue. The Board automatically mails an electronic renewal notice and instructions on completing the renewal. This notice is mailed to licensees approximately 60 days prior to the expiration date of the current license. The notice is mailed to the individual's last address of record with the Board. If a licensee does not receive a renewal notice within a month of the expiration of the current license, the licensee must fax a written request to 410-333-6763 or call 410-230-6231 or 1-888-218-5925 to request a renewal application.
You may renew your license online by using this application.
Special Note: If an individual licensee allows his or her license/certificate to lapse and fails to renew it for more than four years, the individual must file a new application and pass the appropriate examination.
The State of Maryland does not require any continuing education to renew your Master or Journeyman Plumber/Gas Fitter License. However, the Maryland State Board of Plumbing requires eight hours of continuing education credits each calendar year to maintain a plumbing inspector identification card.
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