How to Get Plumbing License: Schooling, Apprenticeship, and More

plumber smiling as he prepares to repair a water heater

Plumbing can be an amazingly rewarding career. Just to start with, it’s quite profitable. But it also offers up a chance to help people. It’s a rare job where one can make the world a better place while earning a good wage. However, it’s also not the easiest career path.

There’s quite a few requirements one needs to work on. But in this article we’ll cover some basic prerequisites. And by the end it’ll demonstrate how to get plumbing license for a great career.

7. Take Care of Basic High School/GED Requirements

The first step in learning how to get plumbing license is getting the basics down. Most people assume that a plumbing license is quite different than standard education. It’s a common misconception, but a misconception nonetheless. In reality, plumbing involves some rather advanced subjects.

Plumbing requires a basic foundation in math and the sciences. One will even need to know some architectural and engineering principles. More advanced subjects even include calculating environmental impact on outdoor systems.

To get to that point one needs to have a basic high school education. If one doesn’t have a high school diploma than a GED is fine.

6. Start Taking Care of Home Improvement

The next step when learning how to get plumbing license takes a step away from academia. It’s often said that there’s no substitute for real world experience. That basic fact comes into play later on with full journeyman status.

But for the moment, one should simply become conscious of everyday plumbing issues. People shouldn’t be too nervous about doing some minor repair and work around the home. Obviously more complex jobs are out of the question. But there’s nothing stopping someone from taking care of smaller tasks.

Even the process of learning what one can and can’t tackle can be important. This kind of trial and error is extrodinarily valuable. One can only memorize so many things from books. Meanwhile memories from real world experience offer up some rich memories to build off of.

5. Apply for Full Apprenticeship

This step of learning how to get plumbing license differs by region. Every state has slightly different variations on apprenticeship. But in general, one can expect to spend quite a bit of time on this stage.

One will usually want to go to their state’s Department of Industrial Relations. This can be either online or in person. From there one will apply for a plumbing apprenticeship program. However, there’s also another varient on this which one can consider.

teacher and student looking at boiler controls

4. Consider Technical Schools

Instead of going through the government application, one can take another step. It’s equally viable to go through a technical school. Considering how to get plumbing license really involves some careful consideration.

Again, this step varies on a region by region basis. And which one of these options is best also carries a lot of individual consideration. For example, travel time might be a big issue. And of course how well various options fit into one’s schedule should factor in.

3. Continue in Good Standing

The next step involves continuing on as a good student. This step might seem like an extension of previous ideas at first. But it’s important to really keep this ideal in mind. The amount of time required for apprenticeship can be quite daunting.

It’s easy to jump into an apprenticeship. But the realities often take some time to really settle in. One needs to essentially treat it as a combination of work and school. The term vocational comes up a lot.

And in fact, that’s how one needs to approach it. As a vocation, something deserving of the amount of time put into it. At the end one finally qualifies as a journeyman plumber.

2. Continue on as a Journeyman

The next step often seems like the most difficult. But in reality, this is the final stretch of one’s larger trials. This is where one really begins to get a taste for what’s to come later on. It’s important to remember that this work remains unlicensed.

There’s some significant restrictions on what one can do as a journeyman. There’s also significant monetary restrictions. Again, it tends to vary on a regional basis.

But in general one can only take on jobs for under $500 or so. That said, this can still provide one with a good income. At this point one can work as a foreman or even supervisor. And it sets the stage for the last and final step.

1. Formally Apply for Licensing

After four years at the journeyman stage one is finally ready for official licensing. As is usually the case, the exact steps here differ by state. But in general one should go to the state licensing board’s website. Then find a plumbing contractor’s original contractor license application.

The form needs full completion on every applicable segment. This usually includes secondary references as well. This is part of an overall process of signing up for the full trade exam. Next up, one needs to pass a written test.

Monetary income from work experience usually acts as proof of competence in real world situations. Though additional verification might also come with that final stage. But other than that, one can finally breathe easy at the very end of this process.

Final Thoughts

So far we’ve considered how to get plumbing license. The guide starts with a reminder of why one might want to become a plumber. And it ends with the final step of this process. This ensures that one won’t simply become a plumber. Or just gain a plumbing license. Instead, one will be a fantastic and licensed plumber. One simply needs to take that first step.

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