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Rhode Island Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Rhode Island

category-iconPlumbing, RI

Table of Contentsundefined
  1. License Types and Requirements

  2. Who Issues Plumbing Licenses?

  3. Rhode Island Apprentice Plumber License

  4. Rhode Island Journeyman Plumber License

  5. Rhode Island Master Plumber License

  6. Underground Utility Contractors License

  7. National Plumbing Certifications

  8. How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbing License?

  9. What Is the Mean Salary for a Plumber?

  10. Training Programs and Trade Schools

  11. Does My License Work in Any Other States?

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.

Learning the art of plumbing takes years, but once you complete the necessary training, your skills will be in high demand across Rhode Island 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 steamfitters nationwide, and 1,290 work in Rhode Island. The BLS predicts employment to grow 5% by 2030 nationwide, and that growth rate is expected to be even higher in Rhode Island — projected at 12%, according to CareerOneStop, the U.S. Department of Labor’s job search website.

Licensing requirements for plumbers vary from state to state. In Rhode Island, plumbing candidates can pursue apprentice, journeyman, and master plumbing licenses. Read on to learn more about becoming a licensed plumber in the Ocean State.

Rhode Island Plumbing License Types and Requirements

Is a license required for plumbing professionals in Rhode Island? Yes.

Rhode Island requires a state-issued license for apprentices, journeymen, and master plumbers. Additionally, plumbing professionals who work on underground utility lines need to hold an underground utility contractor’s license.

Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in Rhode Island?

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s (DLT) Plumbers and Irrigators branch is responsible for issuing plumbing licenses across the state. 

Rhode Island Apprentice Plumber License

A plumbing apprenticeship 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. The apprentice license allows an individual to perform plumbing work under the direction of a licensed journeyman or master plumber.

To start the process, candidates need to apply directly to a company or sponsor that offers plumbing apprentice programs, and then register with the Rhode Island Office of Apprenticeship.

Apprentice plumbers in Rhode Island need to complete at least five years of on-the-job training as well as 576 hours of related classroom instruction approved by the DLT. There is no registration fee or required testing to become an apprentice plumber.

Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, sponsoring companies need to fill out the Apprenticeship Completion Form and submit it to the DLT within 45 days.

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Rhode Island Journeyman Plumber License

After completing the required work experience as an apprentice plumber, candidates become eligible to take the journeyman plumber examination, which consists of 50 multiple choice questions and covers the Rhode Island Edition of the BOCA International Plumbing Code 2006 and the Rhode Island Edition of State Building Code SBC-3.

The journeyman plumber exam includes terminology and calculations, materials and material standards, joints and connections, traps and cleanouts, plumbing fixtures, hangers and supports, indirect waste piping, water distribution systems, sanitary drainage systems, vents and venting systems, cross connections, storm drains, and more.

You must complete the plumbing exam in person at the following location:

RI Department of Labor and TrainingBuilding 73-1, Conference Room1511 Pontiac Ave., Cranston, RI 02920-0943(401) 462-8580, Option #4

There’s a non-refundable application filing fee of $75, as well as a $72 license fee. Journeyman licenses require renewal every two years at a cost of $72.

Rhode Island Master Plumber License

Master plumbers typically perform advanced plumbing work--such as installing and repairing water systems in residential and commercial buildings--and oversee apprentice and journeyman plumbers. Additionally, master plumbers need a strong understanding of local building and plumbing codes, safety regulations, and energy efficiency. 

To become eligible for the Rhode Island master plumber exam, candidates need a minimum of  five years of proven work experience and hold a journeyman plumber license for no less than one year.

The exam covers the same topics as the journeyman exam, and you must complete the exam in person at the following location:

RI Department of Labor and TrainingBuilding 73-1, Conference Room1511 Pontiac Ave., Cranston, RI 02920-0943(401) 462-8580, Option #4

There’s a non-refundable application filing fee of $75, as well as a $240 license fee. Master plumber licenses require renewal every two years at a cost of $240.

Rhode Island Underground Utility Contractors License

The State of Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board defines an underground utility contractor as an individual who performs the installation, repair, alteration, or replacement of underground utilities, sewer lines, storm drainage lines, or water lines.

While this license requires no previous work experience or training, candidates must complete the pre-license application, submit a $50 processing fee, and successfully pass the open-book licensing exam, administered by PSI Exams. Applicants must pay a $180 application fee and, after successful completion of the exam, pay an additional $200 to obtain the 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 Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, it takes five years of on-the-job experience and 576 hours of training in the classroom to earn a journeyman plumber license. After working for one full calendar year as a journeyman, candidates can apply to take the master plumber examination.

What Is the Mean Salary for a Plumber in Rhode Island?

The annual mean salary for plumbers, steamfitters, and pipefitting pros in Rhode Island is $60,520, according to the BLS. And according to ZipRecruiter.com, the average salaries for plumbing professionals in Rhode Island increase with experience and training.

  • Plumbing apprentice: The average base salary for an apprentice in Rhode Island is $33,839.

  • Journeyman Plumber: The average base salary for a journeyman in Rhode Island is $50,726.

  • Master Plumber: The average base salary for a master plumber in Rhode Island is $62,454.

Plumber salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and real-world experience.

Rhode Island Plumbing Training Programs and Trade Schools

Rhode Island 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:

For more information, visit the Rhode Island Office of Apprenticeship.

Does My Rhode Island Plumbing License Work in Any Other States?

Yes, Rhode Island allows license reciprocity if a plumber from another state completes training equal to or greater than its own licensing requirements. Candidates must show proof of out-of-state licensure as well as any required on-the-job and classroom training.

Additional Resources for Rhode Island Plumbers

You can stay up to date on all plumbing industry news several ways:

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