Mississippi Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Mississippi
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Plumbing is serious business. To protect the health and safety of the public, almost every state in the nation regulates those performing this essential trade. Those who do the job need not only the technical know-how but to stay current on ever-changing laws. Mississippi requires plumbers to demonstrate that knowledge through related work experience and testing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 469,000 plumbers nationwide and Mississippi employs 3,320 of them. That number nationwide is expected to grow 2% from 2021 to 2031 the growth rate in Mississippi is expected to be four times that at 8% according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
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If you’re interested in getting into the field, there’s more good news. 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 — like plumbers, carpenters, HVAC technicians and electricians.
Licensing requirements for plumbers vary from state to state, and municipalities can have additional regulations. Mississippi has statewide licensing for projects that exceed certain monetary thresholds and local licensing for less costly projects.
It’s important to know what is required where you intend to work before you get started.
Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Mississippi
Is a license required for plumbing contractors and plumbers in Mississippi? Yes and no.
The state of Mississippi does not license plumbing contractors that work on projects valuing less than $10,000. That falls to the local jurisdictions. The state does require a commercial license for plumbing, HVAC, or electrical work of $10,000 or more.
The Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) issues both residential licenses and commercial contractor licenses. A commercial license is required for commercial work over $50,000. Residential building over $50,000 requires a Residential Builder license from MSBOC. For smaller projects, you don’t need a license at the state level. You also don’t need a license if you do electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work valuing less than $10,000. However, many local jurisdictions — cities, towns, and counties— in Mississippi require you to get a local license. Be sure to find out what the local laws are before you bid on a project and begin work. For instance, the city of Gulfport issues a Master Plumber license through its Building Code Services office, and so does the Building Department of Ocean Springs. Many cities and counties do not have any license requirements.
That means if you want to get started in the plumbing field in Mississippi you just need to meet employer expectations and local licensing requirements. Eventually if you want the freedom to work on larger residential or commercial projects, you’ll need your Mississippi contractor licensing.
Types of Plumbers Licenses in Mississippi
What are the different types of plumbers licenses in Mississippi?
Mississippi does not license journeyman or master plumbers at the state level but does require a Mechanical Contractor License or Plumbing Contractor License for bigger commercial jobs. The state breaks commercial licenses down into major and specialty classifications.
The Major Classification for commercial plumbing work is:
There are 16 specialty classifications that fall under that Major License. Among them are:
Boiler Installation and Repair
If you plan to perform commercial work in several of these specialties it makes sense to pursue the broader Mechanical Contractor license. If your focus is more specialized and you plan to do only plumbing work, you may want to get only a plumbing license or only the specialties that apply. The financial obligations are substantially different as are the scopes of the examinations you must pass. For the major classification of Mechanical Contractor, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have a net worth of at least $50,000. For the specialty licenses, that number is much lower at $20,000. The mechanical contractor examination is more rigorous as well, requiring knowledge of more subject areas than plumbing alone.
Steps to Get a Plumbers License in Mississippi
Typically you must be at least 18 years of age and have earned a high school diploma or GED equivalent to meet employer requirements although some employers will hire entry level workers as young as 16 years old.
You must get the proper training. Either attend community or technical college (usually two years) or trade school (usually six to nine months) to prepare for certification exams and be a good candidate for hire; or
Be accepted into an apprentice program offered through unions, trade organizations or a company; or
Find entry-level work with a plumbing company and get on-the-job training. Most employers will place you with a licensed journeyman in the local jurisdiction to learn from and may also require classroom instruction until you are capable of passing the examination.
You can earn additional certifications to improve your marketability and pay.
If you want to be able to work on bigger commercial or residential projects valued at $10,000 or more you need a license from MSCOB.
If you’re applying as a corporation or LLC, you must be registered with the Mississippi Secretary of State and provide proof of good standing.
Furnish a Mississippi sales tax number or a Mississippi use tax number and a Mississippi Income Tax I.D. Number or Federal Income Tax I.D. number.
You must obtain general liability insurance with a minimum of $300,000 coverage for each incident and $600,000 in total.
You must provide a certificate of insurance showing current workers’ compensation coverage if you have five or more employees.
You must provide three reference letters. One must be from the bank; the other two can be from anyone you’ve worked with or for on construction-related projects.
You must show experience in the classification(s) of work requested. List at least three jobs completed in the requested classification.
You must provide a reviewed or audited financial statement prepared and signed by a certified public accountant completed within the last 12 months. Applicants for a major classification must demonstrate a net worth of at least $50,000. All other applicants must demonstrate a net worth of at least $20,000.
Pay the application fee of $400, which includes one classification. Add $100 for each additional classification requested.
Apply for your commercial contractor license by submitting a completed and notarized application and, once approved, take and pass the exam.
Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Mississippi
There are many benefits to getting your Mississippi plumbing license:
You will earn as you learn with a guarantee of pay increases as you develop new skills.
Though there is no state-issued license for HVAC in Mississippi for jobs of less than $10,000, the certifications and local licenses you earn are proof of your knowledge, experience, and expertise.
A trade license is proof of your experience and skill.
You will receive industry-recognized credentials that can go with you anywhere.
Being a skilled tradesman gives you a competitive advantage in the job market and job security.
You will be embarking on a career, not just doing a job.
You can eventually own your own business and be your own boss.
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.
What Is the Mean Salary for a Plumber in Mississippi?
The annual mean wage for a plumber in Mississippi is $47,430 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 $14.08 per hour in Mississippi and $5,500 overtime per year.
Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $21.18 per hour in Mississippi and $6,750 overtime per year.
Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and 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 Mississippi?
The cost associated with the training to be a plumber or plumbing contractor varies widely. If you start as an entry-level employee, you can earn while you learn and have no up-front costs, but you will likely make a lower wage. However, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical companies are looking for people interested in learning those skills and often are willing to pay for your schooling. You could also choose to enroll in an apprenticeship program where you will be earning a percentage of a journeyman wage while you train. Or you can attend classes at a community or technical college to prepare for eventual licensing, which of course means paying tuition.
There are also application and testing fees. The application fee for a commercial contractor license is $400; for a residential contractor, it’s $50. Holding a major classification entitles the commercial license holder to perform the specialty classifications noted beneath each major classification category. Applicants who do not want a major classification may choose an unlimited number of specialty classifications. One selection is included with the application fee, but each additional selection requires an additional $100. Each portion of the PSI exam costs $120, so taking both the trade and law and business exam will cost $240.
How to Get a Plumbers License in Mississippi
Plumbers in Mississippi begin as either an entry-level worker, an apprentice or a student and must work toward a local journeyman’s license. Because there is no statewide licensing for journeyman or master plumbers in Mississippi, there is no state-mandated minimum age to get started. However, most employers seem to expect job candidates to be at least 18 years old and have earned either a high school diploma or GED and often prefer some post-secondary education in the field or the willingness to get that training through the employer.
DRIVER’S LICENSE: A valid driver’s license is a must. A clean driving record is important for a job in plumbing because you’ll be driving to the customers. Many job listings specify no major or frequent traffic violations or DUI in the previous five years and require a drug test.
EDUCATION/ WORK EXPERIENCE: Either attend community college and earn an Associate Degree in Applied Science or complete a shorter certificate program at a technical college to get the foundational knowledge you need to get started. Employers often state a preference for job candidates who have graduated from a relevant trade school or technical college because they have been educated in key skills needed for the job. Alternatively, you can opt for on-the-job training. You would need to become an Apprentice/Entry Level worker for a plumbing company or contractor to begin learning on the job and complete the requisite classroom instruction your employer prefers. The other way to get the training you need is through a formal apprenticeship, which is sometimes referred to as “The Other Four-Year Degree,” because it’s like college for the trades. The United Association Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders & Service Techs operates in three Mississippi locations, including Local 568 in Gulfport, Local 436 in Pascagoula, and Local 619 in Vicksburg. Apprenticeships through UA nationally are highly competitive programs that typically last about five years. Apprentices get on-the-job training and must attend classes too.
GET CERTIFIED/LICENSED: As part of your training on any of those paths, you will need to prepare for and pass plumber licensing tests. Many local governments require them for licensure to work within those jurisdictions. You can also acquire other certifications from professional organizations to demonstrate your value as an employee and justify higher pay. If you want the freedom to work on industrial, commercial, or larger home projects of more than $10,000, you will need a commercial license in either the major classification of Mechanical Contractor or in one of the plumbing-related specialties from the licensing board. There is a helpful video on the state website about the application process explaining “How to Apply for a Contractor’s License.” It offers detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to apply. There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions page that may help.
The Commercial Contractor Application must be filled out exactly as described. For instance, do not leave any questions blank even if you don’t think they apply to you. You must write N/A where not applicable. The application forms can be found at this link.
You will need to submit the completed, notarized application, fee, and required documentation to:
P.O. Box 320279
Jackson, MS 39232-0279
The required documents you’ll need are:
Corporation or LLC registration with the Mississippi Secretary of State and proof of being in good standing
A Mississippi sales tax number or a Mississippi use tax number and a Mississippi Income Tax I.D. Number or Federal Income Tax I.D. number
General liability insurance with a minimum of $300,000 coverage for each incident and $600,000 in total
Certificate of insurance showing current workers’ compensation insurance coverage if you have five or more employees
Three reference letters — one from the bank; two from anyone worked with on construction-related projects
Proof of experience in the classification(s) of work requested — list at least three jobs completed in the requested classification
Reviewed or audited financial statement prepared and signed by a certified public accountant completed within the last 12 months — major classification requires net worth of at least $50,000; all others, at least $20,000
You will need to pay the fee of $400, which includes one classification. Add $100 for each additional classification requested. If you apply for additional classifications at a separate time, this is the form you use.
EXAMINATION: All applicants are required to take a Law and Business Management exam and all Plumbing and HVAC licenses also require a trade exam. Exams are administered by PSI testing services. The MSBOC will notify PSI of your eligibility after receiving your completed application, and PSI will email you a confirmation notice. The Candidate Information Bulletin explains how to schedule the exam. Once you pass, your license will be approved and will be mailed to you.
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How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Mississippi?
It typically takes four to five years to complete a plumbing apprenticeship or get enough work experience to be a proficient journeyman. Most people need additional time working as a journeyman to be prepared to pass a master level exam. However, even if part of that time is dedicated to classes, you will likely be working and earning money the whole time.
Mississippi 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. For the most part there are two ways to get the practical experience and the formal education you need to qualify to take the journeyman plumber license exam. You can either go to college or technical school and get an entry-level job to gain practical experience or you can join an approved apprenticeship program.
Hinds Community College in Rankin, MS, offers 70 career or technical programs including a Plumbing and Construction Program that prepares students to be residential plumbers, among other options. Tuition is $1,500 for full-time in-state students.
You’ll learn about plumbing systems including:
Underground water supply 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.
Here are three great lists to plumbing schools in Mississippi:
Apprenticeship: The alternative to a formal education program is to look for an apprenticeship. The Mississippi Apprenticeship Program maintains a list of registered apprenticeships that meet national standards for registration with the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprenticeships through the Department of Labor are recognized nationwide, so your credentials will move with you. The Building Trades Alliance is another place where you can learn more about apprenticeships in Alabama and Mississippi. There’s also the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF) — a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote careers, recruit capable individuals, and train a quality workforce for the construction industry in Mississippi. A coalition of construction associations formed MCEF in 1996, and the organization offers National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) accredited training programs in high schools, community colleges and industry including approved Department of Labor (DOL) registered plumbing apprenticeships. Or you can simply look for an entry-level position on Indeed or Zip Recruiter or another job board. As stated earlier, many employers follow an apprentice model — pairing new employees with others who are licensed in the local jurisdiction to begin hands-on training while requiring the beginner to attend classes. Employers will often pay for the instruction if you maintain a certain grade point average.
Tuition: Apprenticeships usually have some up-front costs of tuition and book fees but are often paid by the employer or contractors paying into the sponsoring organization. Also apprentices will be paid a percentage of the journeyman wage rate and will receive periodic wage increases as they meet program requirements. The cost of tuition at a vocational school or college depends on the program you choose but can range from $3,000 at a community college to $40,000 at a state or private school for an associate degree or bachelor degree in engineering.
Program Prerequisites: You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or a GED for many formal apprenticeships of college programs.
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.
Mississippi HVAC Licensing Exam Details
Both the trade and Law and Business examinations are administered by PSI testing services. To prepare, PSI suggests that you start with a current copy of the Candidate Information Bulletin and use the examination content outline 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.
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 center in Jackson.
The Mississippi Law and Business Management Exam has 50 questions and a two-hour time limit. It covers:
Estimating and Bidding
Environmental and Safety
The Plumbing exam is made up of 70 questions, and you are given three hours to complete them. It's based on the International Plumbing Code and the following subject areas are covered:
General Plumbing Regulations
Fixtures and Equipment
Piping, valves, controls
Hangers and Supports
Drain, Waste, and Vent
Traps and Interceptors
Joints and Connections
The Mechanical Contractor exam, which is the major classification over the plumbing specialty, is made up of 100 questions, and you are given four hours to complete them. The following subject areas are covered:
Boilers and Hydronics
Plumbing Fixtures and Equipment
Piping, valves, controls
Sheet Metal and Ducts
Hangers and Supports
Drain, Waste, and Vent
Traps and Interceptors
Joints and Connections
General Plumbing Regulations
Refrigerants and Refrigeration
Heating and Cooling Principles
Testing, Adjusting and Balancing
The exams are open book, and a 70% is required to pass.
Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Mississippi?
There are no licenses issued at the state level for plumbers who work on projects valuing less than $10,000 in Mississippi. For those less costly jobs, licensing falls to the local jurisdictions. However, the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) issues commercial licenses for HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors for jobs of $10,000 or more.
Does My Mississippi Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?
Every state has different licensing requirements. Some will have minimum work experience thresholds, and many will require that you document that experience and pass an exam before becoming a licensed contractor. Mississippi's reciprocity agreements apply to waiver of the trade exam requirement only. It does not waive any of the other state license application requirements or review by the Board. The State of Mississippi has several reciprocal agreements with neighboring states like Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Those agreements state that if you have held a license in one of the states listed for one year, the Board will waive the trade exam only, but many do not include plumbing. Even if your state does include plumbing you will still be required to take the Mississippi business and law exam.
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.
At this time, Mississippi does not require continuing education to renew a plumbing or Mechanical license. You must renew your license annually and may do so online or by mail. There’s a short video explaining all the details of renewal on the MSBOC website. The cost to renew is $400 for a commercial license.
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