Regulatory Requirements for Licensing and Certification for Plumbers
While each state varies on its licensing and certification requirements for plumbers, we have compiled a list of some of the top places to work in the plumber industry and their specific standards.
In California, it is the contractor who must meet licensing requirements by the state
- Individuals start out working as an apprentice with no licensing required and then become a journeyman, which requires state registration but no licensure after completing the apprenticeship. After four years as a journeyman, plumbers are then eligible to apply for state licensure as a contractor.
- A contractor’s license is required before bidding on any project worth more than $500. There is a plumber’s exam and a business law exam required. The applicant must be approved by the California State License Board and have a minimum of four years experience in the trade as a journeyman contractor or as an owner-builder. Each candidate must demonstrate a level of working capital and file a bond with the state of $10,000. The entire process is overseen by the Contractor’s State License Board in Sacramento. A contractor’s license in California has reciprocity with four other states: Nevada, Louisiana, Arizona, and Utah.
There are several specialty licenses each with specific qualifications. Some of these include:
- C-20 – Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Contractor
- C-36 – Plumbing Contractor
- 60 – Welding Contractor
- 16 – Fire Protection Contractor
Plumbers in Colorado are regulated by the State Plumbing Board. Plumbers in Colorado must hold a state license prior to performing work. Other than apprenticeship, each level requires successful completion of a state licensing examination and experience as listed.
- Plumbers – must register with the Division of Professions and Occupations
- Plumber – requires two years (or the equivalent) of practical experience in the trade
- Plumber – requires up to 4 years (or the equivalent) of practical experience
- Plumber – this level requires evidence of five years (or the equivalent) of practical experience
- Plumbers must be licensed by the state to work in Connecticut. The Plumbing and Pipefitting licenses are awarded by the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection
- Journeyperson – requires either the completion of an apprenticeship or its equivalent and successful completion of a licensing examination
- Contractor – You must show proof of two years of experience as a licensed journeyperson or its equivalent and successful completion of a licensing examination
In addition to the journeyman and contractor licensing for unlimited functioning, there are several limited certifications available in the field, each with additional requirements and limitations. These include:
- Limited Well Pumps and Piping Journeyperson
- Limited Sewer, Storm, and Water Journeyperson
- Limited Sewer, Storm, and Water Contractor
- Limited Gasoline Tank, Piping, and Pump Journeyperson
- Limited Gasoline Tank, Piping, and Pump Contractor
- To obtain state licensure as a Journeyman Plumber, applicants are required to have graduated from an apprentice program and have completed at least two years of supervised work in the field. Alternatively, Journeyman licensure for those not completing an apprenticeship program requires the individual to have 7 years of documented work experience under the supervision of a licensed plumber and the passing of an examination.
- Master Plumbers are certified by the state by an examination given to applicants who have completed an apprenticeship and spent at least two additional years under the supervision of a Master Licensee. Those who have not worked as a journeyman may be qualified with at least seven years of experience under the direction of a master plumber.
- There is no examination or licensing of apprentice plumbers.
- Journeyman must be licensed and have at least 4 years of experience or have completed an apprentice program.
- Master plumbers must pass the master plumber examination and demonstrate 7 years experience including at least 2 years at the journeyman level.
- There are two levels of licenses for plumbers in Florida. Municipalities can create requirements for registration by individuals and grant a Certificate of Competency, which qualifies the individual to apply for a Registered Plumbing License. The second licensing level is “Certified Plumbing Contractor.” This is a state credentialed certification which requires that individuals pass both the Florida Plumbing Contractor, and the Business and Financial Management examinations. They are required to meet the 4-year experience requirement which must include 1 year as a supervisor. They must also pass a background check and offer proof of financial stability.
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