New Mexico Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in New Mexico
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As with other skilled trades, most states require training and professional licensing 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.
Learning the art of plumbing takes years, but once you complete the necessary training, your skills will be in high demand across New Mexico and beyond.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there are roughly 469,900 plumbers, pipefitters, and gasfitters nationwide, and 2,440 work in New Mexico. The BLS predicts employment to grow 5% by 2030 nationwide, and that growth rate is expected to be even higher in New Mexico — projected at 14%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.
Plumbing license requirements vary from state to state. In New Mexico, plumbing candidates can pursue apprentice, journeyman, and plumbing contractor licenses. Read on to learn more about becoming a licensed plumber in the "Land of Enchantment."
New Mexico Plumbing License Types and Requirements
Is a license required for plumbing professionals in New Mexico? Yes.
New Mexico requires a state-issued license for apprentice plumbers and journeyman plumbers. Unlike many other states, New Mexico doesn’t offer a master plumber license. Additionally, plumbing professionals who own their own plumbing business need to obtain a plumbing contractor license.
Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in New Mexico?
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) is responsible for issuing journeyman plumbing licenses across the state, while the Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division administers plumbing contractor licenses.
New Mexico Apprentice Plumber License
A plumbing apprenticeship is the first step to starting a career in the plumbing industry. Candidates typically need to be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, photo ID, and a valid driver’s license to be eligible. Many apprentice programs also require candidates to pass a drug test. The apprentice license allows an individual to perform plumbing work under the direction of a licensed journeyman or plumbing contractor.
To start the process, candidates need to apply directly to a plumbing company or sponsor that offers plumbing apprentice programs.
Apprentice plumbers in New Mexico must complete at least four years of on-the-job training as well as 144 hours of related classroom instruction via a plumber’s union, trade school, or community college.
Upon completion of the plumbing apprenticeship program, sponsoring companies need to submit a signed affidavit acknowledging the apprentice’s work experience.
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New Mexico Journeyman Plumber License
After successfully completing a plumbing apprenticeship program, candidates need to seek approval from PSI Exams to take the journeyman licensing exam. Candidates must fill out an application and submit the signed affidavit documenting their work experience and classroom training.
After approval, candidates may register online for the New Mexico Journeyman Licensing Exam or in person at a PSI examination center in Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Farmington, Albuquerque, or Roswell. The exam includes both written and practical sections, and candidates need to pay a combined $137.76 examination fee.
The written exam consists of 70 questions and candidates must score 75% or higher to pass. Permitted reference materials during the examination include the New Mexico Plumbing Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, the New Mexico Mechanical Code, and IPT’s Pipe Trades Handbook.
The written portion of the New Mexico Journeyman Plumbing Exam covers the following topics:
Drainage Waste and Vents
Water Supply Systems
Storm Drainage Systems
Plumbing Fixtures, Including Water
General Knowledge and General Regulations
Interceptors and Traps
Septic and Sewer
The practical exam consists of 50 questions, and candidates must score 75% or higher to pass. Permitted reference materials during the examination include the New Mexico Plumbing Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, the New Mexico Mechanical Code, and IPT’s Pipe Trades Handbook.
The practical exam covers the following topics:
Copper/PEX Water Piping Assembly
Properly solder copper piping and fittings
Properly assemble PEX and PEX fittings
Air test assembly
Assembly of tub drain
Water test of tub drain
Washer Box Assembly
Overall assembly of project
Island Vent Assembly
Measure, cut, and ream piping
Correct use of fittings
Drainage Pipe Project
Measure and calculate minimum rise
Set drain to minimum rise
After passing the journeyman exam, candidates must submit the journeyman license application to PSI and pay a $75 application fee.
Note: Journeyman plumbers in New Mexico need to demonstrate 16 hours of approved continuing education course work every three years to keep licenses active. Use this form to submit continuing education hours.
New Mexico Plumbing Contractor License
New Mexico plumbers who wish to run their own business also need to obtain a contractor license from the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department, Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division. The New Mexico classification for plumbing contractors is referred to as MM-1.
To obtain the New Mexico Contractor License, business owners need to hold a journeyman license or employ at least one licensed journeyman plumber. Additionally, candidates need to pass the contractor exam via PSI, a law exam and trade exam, and fulfill multiple other requirements. Click here for more details on obtaining a New Mexico Contractor License.
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 New Mexico?
In New Mexico, it takes four years of on-the-job experience and 144 hours of approved course work to earn a journeyman plumber license. After obtaining a journeyman certificate and meeting several other criteria, candidates become eligible to apply for a contractor license.
What Is the Mean Salary for a Plumber in New Mexico?
The annual mean salary for plumbers, steamfitters, natural gas, and pipefitting pros in New Mexico is $46,530, according to the BLS. And according to ZipRecruiter.com and salary.com, the average salaries for plumbing professionals in New Mexico increase with experience and training.
Plumbing apprentice: The average base salary for an apprentice plumber in New Mexico is $33,792.
Journeyman Plumber: The average base salary for a plumbing journeyman in New Mexico is $50,657.
Plumbing Contractor: The average base salary for a plumbing contractor in New Mexico is $66,736.
Plumber salaries can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience.
New Mexico Plumbing Training Programs and Trade Schools
New Mexico offers a wide variety of training opportunities across the state, including private companies, trade schools, and community colleges that offer plumbing programs and apprenticeships.
Some of the top training opportunities include:
Does My New Mexico Plumbing License Work in Any Other States?
No, while New Mexico allows reciprocity for electrical and a few other trades, the state currently doesn’t permit plumbing licenses from out of state.
Additional Resources for New Mexico Plumbers
You can stay up to date on all plumbing industry news several ways: