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Licensing Guides

Texas Plumbing License: How to Become a Plumber in Texas

category-iconPlumbing, TX

Table of Contents
  1. Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Texas

  2. Types of Plumbing Licenses in Texas

  3. Steps for Each Type of Plumbers License in Texas

  4. Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Texas

  5. What Is the Median Salary for a Plumber in Texas?

  6. How Much Does It Cost to Get a Plumbers License in Texas?

  7. How to Get a Plumbers License in Texas

  8. How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Texas?

  9. Texas Plumbing Training Programs and Schools

  10. Texas Plumbing Licensing Exam Details

  11. Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Texas?

  12. Does My Texas Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?

  13. Extra Plumbing Endorsements in Texas

  14. Plumbing Certifications in Texas

  15. Other Requirements Unique to Texas

Getting your plumber’s license in Texas is a multi-step process that will take four to five years. You’ll begin as a plumber’s apprentice. Then you can progress to higher-ranking licenses as you acquire more on-the-job experience, training and successfully pass progressively more rigorous license exams.

You don’t need a high school diploma or a license to begin as an apprentice but you must register with the state. You will need your high school diploma or a General Educational Development certificate to eventually become a licensed master plumber.

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Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in Texas

Is a license required to be a plumber in Texas? Yes.

The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is the state agency responsible for licensing plumbers in Texas and has the authority to issue licenses, endorsements, and registrations.

It is illegal to do plumbing work in Texas without a license.

Types of Plumbing Licenses in Texas

There are four types of plumbing licenses in Texas. Each requires that you first register as an apprentice as mentioned above and each allows different scopes of work.

A Plumbers Apprentice may learn about and assist with the installation of plumbing under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber. If a licensed plumber is not present, an apprentice may only perform manual tasks such as digging trenches.

Tradesman Plumber Limited

Scope of work:

  • May construct, install, repair, service, or renovate plumbing for one and two-family dwellings under the supervision of a Responsible Master Plumber.

  • May also directly supervise a Plumbers Apprentice on job sites of one or two-family dwellings.

  • May work on job sites other than a one or two-family dwelling under the direct supervision of a licensed Journeyman or Master Plumber.

Journeyman

Scope of work:

  • May install, change, repair, service, or renovate plumbing under the supervision of a Responsible Master Plumber.

  • May also directly supervise a Plumbers Apprentice on all job sites or a Tradesman Plumber-Limited on job sites for structures other than one or two-family dwellings.

Master

Scope of work:

  • May install, change, repair, service, or renovate plumbing under the supervision of a Responsible Master Plumber.

  • May also directly supervise a Plumbers Apprentice on all job sites or a Tradesman Plumber-Limited on job sites for structures other than one or two-family dwellings.

Plumbing Inspector

Scope of work:

  • May inspect plumbing work performed within the jurisdiction with which the inspector is affiliated.

Steps for Each Type of Plumbers License in Texas

For each license, you must meet all eligibility requirements, take and pass an examination, and pay a fee.

APPRENTICE REGISTRATION

Eligibility: You may register if you are at least 16 years old.

Steps to register:

  1. Submit a completed Plumbers Apprentice Registration Application Form

  2. Pay $15 fee

  3. If you have been convicted of a felony submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form

TRADESMAN PLUMBER-LIMITED

Eligibility: You may take the exam if:

  • You are registered as an apprentice in Texas or hold a Journeyman Plumber or Master Plumber license issued in another state

  • You have at least 4,000 hours of documented plumbing work experience

  • You have completed an approved 24-hour training course

Steps to apply for an exam:

  1. Submit completed Tradesman Plumber-Limited Examination application with all documentation

  2. Submit Employer Certification Form

  3. Pay $36 fee

  4. If you have been convicted of a felony submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form

JOURNEYMAN PLUMBER

Eligibility: You may take the exam if:

  • You are registered as a Plumbers Apprentice or licensed as a Tradesman Plumber-Limited in Texas or hold a Journeyman Plumber or Master Plumber license issued in another state

  • You have at least 8,000 hours of documented plumbing work experience

  • You have completed an approved 48-hour training course

Steps to apply for an exam:

  1. Submit completed Journeyman Plumber Examination application with all documentation

  2. Submit Employer Certification Form

  3. Pay $40 fee

  4. If you have been convicted of a felony submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form

MASTER PLUMBER

Eligibility: You may take the exam if:

  • You have a high school diploma or GED

  • You are licensed as a Journeyman Plumber in Texas or another state and have held that license for at least four years

  • You are licensed as a Journeyman Plumber in Texas or another state, have held that license for at least one year, and have successfully completed an approved training program

  • You are licensed as a Master Plumber in another state and previously held a Journeyman Plumber license for at least four years

  • You are licensed as a Master Plumber in another state, previously held a Journeyman Plumber license for at least one year, and have successfully completed an approved training program

Steps to apply for an exam:

  1. Submit completed Master Plumber Examination Application with all documentation

  2. Pay $175 fee

  3. If you have been convicted of a felony submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form

There is also a Responsible Master Plumber Designation that can be added to a Master Plumber license. You may apply for the Responsible Master Plumber Designation if:

  • You are currently licensed as a Master Plumber in Texas

  • You are in good standing with the TSBPE

  • You have completed a 24-hour training course approved by TSBPE and

  • You have submitted proof that you have obtained a minimum of $300,000 of commercial liability insurance coverage

PLUMBING INSPECTOR

Eligibility: You may take the exam if:

  • You have a high school diploma or GED

  • You have completed 500 hours of training and experience in the plumbing industry

  • OR you are currently licensed as

    • A Master Plumber in Texas

    • A Journeyman Plumber in Texas

    • A Professional Engineer in Texas

    • An Architect in Texas

    • Or are a Plumbing Inspector in another state with equivalent licensing requirements

Steps to apply for an exam:

  1. Submit completed Plumbing Inspector Examination Application with all documentation

  2. Submit Plumbing Inspector Employer Certification Form

  3. Pay $55 fee

  4. If you have been convicted of a felony submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form

Benefits of Getting a Plumbers License in Texas

Working toward a Plumbers License in Texas requires you to begin as an apprentice, and there are many benefits of this process:

  • You will earn as you learn with a guarantee of pay increases as you develop new skills.

  • You will receive industry-recognized credentials that can go with you anywhere.

  • You will be embarking on a career, not just doing a job.

  • You can eventually own your own business and be your own boss.

  • A license gives you a competitive advantage in the job market. 

  • It also increases your earning potential. The annual mean income for a plumber in Texas is $50,320 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Is the Median Salary for a Plumber in Texas?

The salary for a plumber in Texas increases as you might expect as you acquire more experience according to indeed.com.

Apprentice: The average salary for an apprentice plumber is $16.31 per hour in Texas and $5,423 overtime per year.

Journeyman: The average salary for a journeyman plumber is $25.09 per hour in Texas and $10,331 overtime per year. 

According to Salary.com, the average licensed plumber salary in Kentucky is $56,900 as of November 25, 2020, but the range typically falls between $49,500 and $65,100. 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 Texas?

  • Plumbers Apprentice

    •  $15 registration fee

  • Tradesman Plumber-Limited

    • Exam fee $36

    • Initial License Fee $35

    • Renewal Fee $35

  • Journeyman Plumber

    • Exam fee $40

    • Initial License Fee $40

    •  Renewal Fee $40

  • Master Plumber

    • Exam fee $175

    • Initial License Fee $75

    • Renewal Fee $75

  • Plumbing Inspector

    • Exam fee $55

    • Initial License Fee $55

    • Renewal Fee $55 

  • Responsible Master Plumber Designation

    • Initial Application Fee $345

    • Renewal Fee $420

How to Get a Plumbers License in Texas

Work Experience: Register as a Plumbers Apprentice and begin working under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber. You must register before you can start counting hours of experience you have working in the plumbing trade. Any hours worked before you are registered do not count toward the required hours for each of the levels of licensing.

Submit Work Experience Documentation: Submit completed Employer Certification Form. The TSBPE does not track your hours for you. The ECF must be signed by the Responsible Master Plumber who was the RMP at the time you worked for the company, or the licensee who supervised you on the job. If you earned all of your hours working for the same employer, then you need to submit only one ECF. If you earned your hours working for more than one employer, you must submit a separate ECF from each employer.

Take The Exam: After you have successfully passed the exam you will pay a fee to obtain your certificate of licensure and pocket card. The fee increases and the exam becomes more rigorous as you progress up the ranking of licenses.

Criminal Background Check: You must pass a criminal history check. If you have been convicted of a felony, you must also submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form (SCHIF).

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How Long Does it Take to Get a Plumbers License in Texas?

To apply for a Tradesman Plumber-Limited License in Texas requires at least 4,000 hours, or roughly two years, of experience as a plumbers apprentice. You must also take 24 hours of Board-approved classroom training and successfully pass the licensing exam.

To acquire a Journeyman Plumber License in Texas you need 8,000 hours, or about four years, of working in the plumbing trade, take a 48-hour, Board-approved training course, and pass the exam.

A Master Plumber License requires you to hold a Journeyman License and have 8,000 hours of work experience and pass a lengthier, more complex exam.

Each level of licensing requires more training and course work and upon completion allows you to work on a wider variety of plumbing systems, growing from residential to commercial to industrial.

Texas Plumbing Training Programs and Schools

There are many programs to get the training you need to become a licensed plumber in Texas including universities, community colleges, technical schools, and other training programs approved by the TSBPE or the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.

Here are three great lists of the best Plumbing schools in Texas:

  • Universities.com: Best Plumbing Technology/plumber Colleges in Texas

  • Niche: 2021 Best Colleges with Plumbing Degrees in Texas

  • Prepler: Best Plumbing Colleges & Universities in Texas

Tuition: The Cost of Tuition depends on the program you choose and varies widely. The good news is in many programs you’ll be earning while you’re learning. Tuition for a trade school can be as little as $1,250 - $3,000 for a certificate program or an associate’s degree runs about $4,500 per year for in-state students and about $7,300 for out-of-state students according to collegetuitioncompare.com.

Texas Plumbing Licensing Exam Details

According to tests.com, the Journeyman exam consists of 90 multiple choice questions, hands-on shop work, and a design project of a two-story drainage and vent system.

For the Master exam, there are 210 multiple choice questions, 1 Fuel Gas Pipe Sizing chart,  1 water pipe sizing chart, 1 gas-fueled appliance vent sizing chart, 1 drainage system pipe sizing chart, and design of a 3-story sanitary drainage and vent system for 16 plumbing fixtures.

Who Issues Plumbers Licenses in Texas?

The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is the state agency responsible for licensing plumbers in Texas.

Does My Texas Plumbers License Work in Any Other State?

Reciprocity is considered on an individual basis for plumbers licenses in Texas. If you are a licensed plumber in another state, you must submit to TSBPE a letter on official letterhead from that state's licensing authority stating that you possess a valid journeyman or master plumber license. The letter must include the length of time the license has been held, whether it's renewable, and if the applicant has any complaints or disciplinary actions against them. 

Extra Plumbing Endorsements in Texas

Texas offers three types of plumber licensing endorsements for Journeyman, Master, or Plumbing Inspector licenses:

  1. Medical Gas Piping Installation — Complete 24-hour TSBPE-approved training course and pass exam.

  2. Multipurpose Residential Fire Protection Sprinkler Specialist — Complete 24-hour TSBPE-approved training course or hold current RME-General or RME-Dwelling License issued by State Fire Marshal, and pass the exam.

  3. Water Supply Protection Specialist — Complete 24-hour TSBPE-approved training course and pass exam.

*All 3 endorsements require submittal of Supplemental Criminal History Form if ever convicted of a felony. Renewal of endorsements required every 3 years, assigned an expiration date that matches when main plumbing license expires.

Plumbing Certifications in Texas

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 Texas

To keep your state-issued licenses and registrations current, Texas requires you to complete six hours of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) before renewal, except the Medical Gas Piping Installation Endorsement, which requires at least two hours of continuing education for renewal.

Resources

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