How Long Does It Take To Get Plumbing License?


When it comes to becoming a licensed plumber, many people wonder how long it takes to obtain the necessary qualifications. The journey to obtaining a plumbing license can vary depending on a few factors, including the state in which you reside and the specific requirements set forth by your local licensing board. However, on average, it can take anywhere from two to five years to become a licensed plumber. This process typically involves a combination of classroom education, apprenticeships, and passing the required exams.

To understand the time commitment involved in obtaining a plumbing license, it is essential to recognize the significance of this profession. Plumbing has played a vital role in society for centuries, enabling the distribution of clean water and the removal of waste. With the increasing demand for skilled plumbers, it is no surprise that the path to becoming licensed requires dedication, knowledge, and hands-on experience. So, while the length of time it takes to get a plumbing license may vary, the investment of time and effort required reflects the importance of this trade in maintaining the health and safety of our communities.

How Long Does It Take to Get Plumbing License?

Understanding the Process of Obtaining a Plumbing License

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in plumbing, one of the most important steps you’ll need to take is obtaining a plumbing license. A plumbing license is a credential that certifies your competency and knowledge in the plumbing trade. It not only allows you to legally perform plumbing work but also demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and safety.

The process of obtaining a plumbing license can vary depending on your location, as each state or country may have different requirements and regulations. In general, however, there are several common steps involved in the licensing process that aspiring plumbers need to complete. These steps typically include a combination of education, on-the-job training, and passing a licensing examination. Let’s explore these steps more in detail.

In order to become a licensed plumber, you will first need to complete a plumbing apprenticeship program. Apprenticeships provide practical training in the plumbing field under the guidance of experienced plumbers. This hands-on experience is essential for developing the necessary skills and knowledge required to perform plumbing work effectively and safely.

During your apprenticeship, you will learn about various aspects of plumbing, including pipefitting, installation, maintenance, and repair. You will also gain valuable experience working on real plumbing projects and interacting with customers. The duration of an apprenticeship can vary, but it typically lasts anywhere from 2 to 5 years, depending on the program and local requirements.

After completing your apprenticeship, you will need to take a licensing examination. The exam assesses your knowledge and competency in plumbing principles, codes, and regulations. The specific content and format of the exam may vary depending on your location. It’s important to thoroughly prepare for the exam by studying the relevant plumbing materials and regulations.

Step 1: Education and Training

Before you can even consider applying for a plumbing license, you will need to complete the necessary education and training requirements. This typically involves enrolling in a plumbing apprenticeship program or a vocational training school that offers plumbing courses. The duration of these programs can vary, but they usually require a commitment of several months to a few years, depending on the level of qualification you are aiming for.

During your education and training, you will learn the fundamental principles of plumbing, including pipe systems, drainage systems, water supply systems, and gas fitting. You will also be introduced to plumbing codes, regulations, and safety procedures. The coursework may involve a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on practice, and on-the-job training.

It’s important to choose a reputable and accredited plumbing training program to ensure that you receive quality education and training. Look for programs that are recognized by relevant industry organizations or governing bodies. Additionally, consider gaining practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or part-time jobs in the plumbing field to further enhance your skills and knowledge.

Once you have completed the required education and training, you will be ready to move on to the next step in obtaining your plumbing license.

Step 2: Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is an essential part of the plumbing licensing process. It provides you with valuable hands-on experience and mentorship from experienced plumbers. During your apprenticeship, you will work under the supervision of a licensed plumber, gaining practical skills and knowledge in the field. This real-world experience is crucial for becoming a competent and successful plumber.

The duration of an apprenticeship can vary depending on your location and the specific apprenticeship program you choose. In some cases, apprenticeships can last up to five years. During this time, you will be expected to complete a certain number of on-the-job training hours, which may range from 1,000 to 10,000 hours, depending on the program and local requirements.

Throughout your apprenticeship, you will be exposed to a wide range of plumbing tasks and projects. You will learn how to read blueprints, install and repair plumbing fixtures, troubleshoot plumbing issues, and adhere to safety protocols. You will also have the opportunity to work on residential, commercial, and industrial plumbing systems under the supervision of your mentor.

During your apprenticeship, you may also be required to complete related classroom coursework to supplement your on-the-job training. This coursework is designed to further enhance your technical knowledge and understanding of plumbing principles, codes, and regulations. It’s important to actively participate in these classes and maintain a strong academic performance.

Step 3: Licensing Examination

Once you have completed your education and apprenticeship, the next step in obtaining your plumbing license is taking the licensing examination. The licensing examination is designed to assess your knowledge and competency in various aspects of plumbing, including codes, regulations, safety procedures, and practical skills.

The specific content and format of the licensing examination can vary depending on your location. Some areas may require multiple exams, including written tests, practical assessments, and oral interviews. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content by reviewing study materials provided by your local licensing board or plumbing association.

To increase your chances of passing the licensing examination, it’s recommended to dedicate ample time to studying and reviewing the relevant plumbing materials. This can include plumbing codes, regulations, trade manuals, and practice exams. Consider forming study groups with other aspiring plumbers or seeking guidance from experienced professionals to further enhance your preparation.

Once you have successfully passed the licensing examination, you may be required to pay a licensing fee and complete any additional paperwork or documentation required by your local authorities. This will officially grant you your plumbing license and allow you to legally work as a plumber within your jurisdiction.


Obtaining a plumbing license is no easy feat, but it is a necessary step towards building a successful career in the plumbing industry. By following the steps outlined in this article, including completing the necessary education and training, undertaking an apprenticeship, and passing the licensing examination, you can fulfill the requirements and become a licensed plumber. Remember to stay up to date with the latest plumbing codes and regulations, seek ongoing professional development opportunities, and maintain a commitment to safety and quality workmanship.

Licensing Step Average Duration
Education and Training Several months to a few years
Apprenticeship 2 to 5 years
Licensing Examination Varies by location

Key Takeaways

  1. It takes several years of training and experience to become a licensed plumber.
  2. The process involves completing an apprenticeship program, which typically lasts 4-5 years.
  3. Apprentices receive hands-on training and learn essential plumbing skills under the guidance of experienced plumbers.
  4. After completing the apprenticeship, plumbers must pass a licensing exam to obtain their plumbing license.
  5. The entire process of becoming a licensed plumber can take anywhere from 5-7 years.

So, how long does it take to get a plumbing license? The process typically takes several years of education, training, and work experience.

First, aspiring plumbers need to complete a high school diploma or equivalent. Then, they can enroll in a plumbing trade school or apprenticeship program.

These programs usually last 2-5 years, providing classroom instruction and on-the-job training under the guidance of licensed plumbers. After completing the required education and training, individuals can apply for a journeyman plumber license.

Once they become journeyman plumbers, they must work under the supervision of a master plumber for a certain number of years (usually 2-5 years) to gain the necessary experience.

Finally, they can apply for a master plumber license, which requires passing a licensing exam and meeting any additional state or local requirements.

In summary, becoming a licensed plumber can take several years, including completing a high school diploma, enrolling in a trade school or apprenticeship program, obtaining a journeyman plumber license, gaining work experience, and applying for a master plumber license.


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