Oklahoma Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Oklahoma
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Learning a trade can be empowering and lead to a long, fulfilling, and stable career. You can be certain that you’ll be helping others while you learn and grow into the position and may even own your own business someday.
You can’t rush the process of becoming a licensed plumber but, in Oklahoma, at least it’s pretty straightforward. Almost every state requires plumbers to be licensed because it’s complicated work that protects the health and safety of everyone. Oklahoma has strict standards for working in the plumbing business beginning at the apprentice level.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are 490,200 plumbers nationwide and Oklahoma employs 5,920 of them. That number is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029 across the country, but in Oklahoma, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website, the projected growth rate is higher at 11%.
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That statistic is supported by how many contractors are trying to find skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 2020 AGC-Autodesk Workforce Survey, 60% of firms in the U.S. and 67% of firms in Oklahoma had unfilled hourly craft positions on June 30, 2020.
Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Oklahoma
Is a license required for plumbers in Oklahoma? Yes.
To legally perform plumbing work in the state of Oklahoma, you must be licensed or registered as an apprentice working under someone who is a licensed contractor. Plumbing Journeyman and Plumbing Contractor licenses are issued through the Oklahoma Constructions Industries Board.
Some of Oklahoma’s cities still retain the authority to require state-licensed tradesmen to register with their own governing agencies, so you always want to check with the jurisdiction where you intend to work to make sure you’re following any local requirements. In Oklahoma City, for example, plumbing contractors must pay a fee to register their state licenses with the city so they can practice there.
Types of Plumbers Licenses in Oklahoma
What are the different types of plumbers licenses in Oklahoma?
According to the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board website, its mission is to protect life and property by licensing and inspection of the related trades for the health, safety, and welfare of the public. This includes the Plumbing Industry.
The state requires apprentices to be registered and issues two levels of state licensure.
Apprentices and Journeymen must work for an active, licensed Plumbing Contractor.
Steps to Getting a Plumber’s License in Oklahoma
You must be at least 16 years old.
Work for an active, licensed Plumbing Contractor who will provide direct on-the-job supervision, and apply for an Apprentice Registration card to document your work hours officially. You need three years of experience to qualify to test for your Journeyman license. Some formal plumbing education may substitute for partial experience requirements. You must renew your registration every year while you gain that required work experience.
Apply for your Plumbing Journeyman License through the Oklahoma CIB including an affidavit of citizenship and pay the $75 application fee.
Applicants for a journeyman license must be at least 18 years of age.
Once your application is approved and you are eligible for examination, contact the third-party testing agency to schedule your exam.
Successfully pass all parts of the exam and receive the Journeyman license.
Work for an additional year as a licensed Journeyman.
Apply for your Plumbing Contractor License through the Oklahoma CIB including an affidavit of citizenship and pay the $330 fee.
Applicants for a contractor license must be 19 years of age and meet the same requirements as a journeyman with an additional one year of experience in the plumbing trade.
Successfully pass all parts of the exam, show proof of a $5,000 Corporate Surety Bond payable to the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board and have a minimum of $50,000 commercial general liability insurance, then receive the Plumbing Contractor license.
Take six hours of continuing education classes and renew your license every three years. The Contractor renewal fee is $200. The Journeyman renewal fee is $75.
Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Oklahoma
There are many benefits you’ll see from getting your Oklahoma plumbing license:
Most importantly, it is required by law in Oklahoma to be licensed through the state to legally perform any plumbing work.
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.
What Is the Median Salary for a Plumber in Oklahoma?
The annual mean wage for a plumber in Oklahoma is $53,790, 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 $15.77 per hour in Oklahoma and $5,429 overtime per year.
Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $25.89 per hour in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma?
It can cost absolutely nothing to get started in the plumbing field in Oklahoma. If you begin as a plumber’s helper— an entry-level apprentice position— you just need to work for a licensed contractor, register with the state and keep track of your work hours. Your employer will need to verify those hours each year to satisfy the work experience requirement to test for your Journeyman license.
If you want to attend a vocational school or technical or community college for a certificate program or Associate of Applied Science degree, that’s another great way to get started. You will have that expense of schooling upfront, but employers often state a preference for job candidates with some knowledge of the field.
If you decide to go after an apprenticeship, you may encounter some fees but, usually, your employer covers the cost. You’ll also be paid a portion of a journeyman-level wage and that salary will increase as you learn.
The cost to register as an apprentice with any of these paths is $25 made payable to the CIB. The Oklahoma Plumbing Contractor application license fee is $330 and the Journeyman application is $75. The cost to take the PSI test for either license is $100.
How to Get a Plumbers License in Oklahoma
To get started on your plumbing career in Oklahoma, you can choose from a couple of paths. You can 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. That typically involves math, like algebra and geometry, some basic science, and blueprint reading or drafting. Employers often state a preference for candidates who have graduated from a relevant trade school or technical college because they have been educated in key skills needed for the job.
Alternately, you could begin with an apprenticeship that will combine hands-on training with classroom instruction and usually takes four to five years. The bottom line is that you need to learn and begin gaining the necessary work experience required for licensure.
REGISTER AS AN APPRENTICE: No matter whether you take an entry-level job or enroll in a formal apprenticeship, you need to be at least 16 years old and register with the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board using this application. Included in the application is an affidavit verifying your lawful presence in the United States. You’ll also need to pay a $25 fee. You must renew your apprentice registration every year.
WORK EXPERIENCE: Oklahoma requires anyone applying for the Plumbing Journeyman License to be 18 years of age and demonstrate three years of relevant work experience. There are a few ways to satisfy that requirement:
Three years of experience in the plumbing trade while employed by a licensed Plumbing contractor, or
Equivalent verifiable three years of experience in the plumbing trade while serving in the U.S. military, or
A verifiable out-of-state plumbing license that is current, and in good standing, or
The following may be substituted for a portion of the experience requirement:
An associate degree or Career Tech diploma certifying completion of a plumbing educational program consisting of a minimum of 1,000 classroom hours from a school, approved by the Committee, may be substituted for two years of experience.
A Career Tech diploma certifying completion of an educational program consisting of a minimum of 500 classroom hours from a school, approved by the Committee, may be substituted for one year of experience.
You must also sign an affidavit verifying your lawful presence in the United States. You can apply using this form and pay the $75 fee. The mailing address is:
Oklahoma Construction Industries Board 2401 NW 23rd, Suite 2F Oklahoma City, OK 73107
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: Once your application is approved and you are eligible for examination, you will be provided the contact information of the third-party testing vendor that you will contact to set the date, time, and location of the examination. More on that is listed below under exam details. If you pass, you will receive your journeyman license.
WORK EXPERIENCE: Oklahoma requires anyone applying for the Contractor License to be 19 years of age and meet the same requirements as a journeyman with an additional one year of experience in the plumbing trade. When a licensed plumbing journeyman performs plumbing work, it must be work performed under a licensed plumbing contractor. Generally, one works for a contractor as a registered apprentice to gain verifiable experience requirements to become a Journeyman, who also works for a contractor.
A journeyman can supervise up to three Apprentices and work projects, both small and very large, and act as the job foreman. Journeyman work experience under a contractor can count as verifiable experience toward requirements to become a contractor.
You must also sign an affidavit verifying your lawful presence in the United States. You can apply using this form and pay the $330 fee. For the Contractor license, you are also required to carry a $5,000 Corporate Surety Bond payable to the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board and have a minimum of $50,000 commercial general liability insurance.
TAKE LICENSING EXAM: Once your license application is approved and you are eligible for examination, you will be provided the contact information of the third-party testing vendor who you will contact to set the date, time, and location of the examination. You will need to take both a business and law exam and trade exam. There are financial requirements, too. If you pass your exam and show proof of a $5,000 Corporate Surety Bond payable to the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board and have a minimum of $50,000 commercial general liability insurance, you will receive your contractor license.
DISPLAY OF LICENSE: All Vehicles must display the firm name and the license number bearing the initials “OK” preceding that number. Signs and license numbers shall be printed in letters and numerals at least 2 inches high in conspicuous places on both sides of each vehicle in contrasting color. Contractors must display this number on all advertising, contracts, and bids.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Oklahoma?
It will take a minimum of three years to qualify to take the Plumbing Journeyman license exam in Oklahoma, but you will have most likely spent some time taking classes first or an apprenticeship will take four to five years. As an apprentice, you will be earning a wage as you learn what you need to pass the state licensing exam. Likewise, if you take classes first as part of a certificate program or earn an Associate degree, you’ll still need to acquire the required three years of experience, and you’ll be getting paid while you do.
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Oklahoma 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. There are quite a few colleges in Oklahoma that offer plumbing programs as well as many other training programs to get the training you need to become a plumbing professional. You can choose to attend a technical college and earn a certificate.
Mid-Del Technology Center in Midwest City, OK, offers a certificate program in plumbing technology. The Oklahoma Construction Industries Board also provides a list of schools approved by the Plumbing Committee. Mid-Del Technology Center is on it along with Autry Technology Center in Enid, Associated Builders and Contractors in Tulsa, Lexington Careertech Skills Center in Lexington and Alva, and Tulsa Technology in Tulsa. They also break down exactly how much experience different certificate or diploma programs cunt toward your experience requirement.
Completion of a formal plumbing educational program approved by the Committee, consisting of a minimum of 1,000 classroom hours equaling two years of experience.
Completion of a formal plumbing educational program approved by the Committee, consisting of a minimum of 500 classroom hours equaling one year of experience.
Completion of a formal plumbing educational program approved by the Committee, consisting of a minimum of 375 classroom hours equaling nine months of experience.
Completion of a formal plumbing educational program approved by the Committee, consisting of a minimum of 334 classroom hours equaling eight months of experience.
Completion of a formal plumbing educational program approved by the Committee, consisting of a minimum of 250 classroom hours equaling six months of experience.
However, the path most often taken in Oklahoma is a plumbing apprenticeship. As stated earlier, many employers hiring entry-level plumbers helpers follow an apprentice model — pairing new employees with others who are licensed 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. There are many jobs like this listed for plumbing apprentices on zip recruiter and indeed.
Oklahoma’s Department of Labor maintains a website of Apprenticeship Programs 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.
Or you can look for formal apprenticeships through union and non-union organizations. Local 344 serves Oklahoma City. Local 430 and Local 798 are in Tulsa. In Oklahoma though, all you need is to be registered as an apprentice with the Construction Industries Board and work for a licensed Plumbing Contractor who can attest to your hours of work.
Most apprenticeships have the following requirements:
You must be 18 years of age.
You must be a high school graduate or have a GED.
You must have a valid driver’s license.
You must be drug-free.
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, drainage systems, water heaters, plumbing appliances, and plumbing fixtures.
On-the-Job Experience: While on the job, you will need to have 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.
Oklahoma Plumber Licensing Exam Details
The examinations are administered by PSI testing services. The Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) provides you with information about the examination and application process. Every exam costs $100 and is to be paid directly to PSI.
The CIB suggests you prepare by doing the following:
Start with a current copy of this 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.
Take notes on what you study. Putting information in writing helps you commit it to memory, and it is also an excellent business practice. 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 exam is broken down by content, number of questions, and time allowed:
Plumbing Business and Law: 50 questions, 120 minutes
Bidding and estimating
Project Management and Supervision
Labor and Personnel
Payroll and Payroll Taxes
Plumbing Contractor and Natural Gas: 85 questions, 180 minutes
Plumbing Journeyman and Natural Gas: 85 questions, 180 minutes
Each trade exam covers:
General Plumbing Knowledge and Regulations
Piping, Valves, and Control Valves
Fixtures and Equipment
Drains and Sewers
Traps, Interceptors, Indirect, and Special Waste
Exams are administered in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, McAlester, Woodward, and Lawton. To pass the exam, you need at least a 75%.
Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Oklahoma?
Plumbing Journeyman and Contractor licenses are issued through the Oklahoma Department of Health, Construction Industries Board. Be sure to check with local governments where you intend to work to make sure you meet any additional licensing or permitting requirements.
Does My Oklahoma Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?
Oklahoma does not have specific reciprocity agreements with any other states. Rather, if you apply by reciprocity, the Board will determine if the state where you are licensed has substantially similar licensing requirements, testing, codes, continuing education, etc., to its own and may still require that you take the trade exam before receiving a journeyman license. For contractor applicants, even if you meet the requirement for journeyman licensure, you will need to successfully pass the Oklahoma Plumbing Contractor Business and Law portion of the full contractor examination and satisfy the bonding and insurance requirements before being issued a contractor license.
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.
You must complete six hours of continuing education every 36 months through an approved provider. Renew your license every three years using this application. The Contractor renewal fee is $200. The Journeyman renewal fee is $75.
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