The profession of plumbing is controlled by each state with a combination of experience requirements, examinations, and other evidence of fitness to practice the profession at the journeyman and master levels. Some states offer reciprocity – allowing certification from certain other states as proof of competence for licensure, but both the requirements and the list of reciprocal licensures change frequently so it is wise to check the requirements of the particular state before considering employment. Listed below are five states and their specific requirements for the practice of plumbing.
The regulation of plumbers in Alabama is under the Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board. The details of the certification are spelled out on their website
- Apprentice – There is no written test for working as a plumber’s apprentice, but applicants must submit a completed Apprentice Registration form, demonstrate legal residency, and pay the required fee.
- Journeyman – Must submit proof of legal residency status, 2 years experience as an apprentice, or the completion of a formal apprenticeship. Additionally, they must pass a written examination, and pay the required fee.
- Journeyman Gas Fitter – Must offer proof of the same qualifications as for journeyman plumbers, but experience must have been as a gas fitter or a gas fitter formal apprenticeship.
- Master – Licensure at a Master Plumber requires one year of verifiable experience as a journeyman plumber, passing of the written examination, and a required fee.
- Master Gas Fitter – The requirements are the same as for the Master Plumber, but the experience must be as a Journeyman Gas Fitter.
The regulation of plumbers in Alaska is under the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
- Trainee – Trainee Plumbers are registered and are required to demonstrate their participation in a formal apprenticeship program or employment under a journeyman plumber. A fee is required.
- Plumber Journeyman Certificate of Fitness – Requires a minimum of 8,000 hours of legally obtained work in the installation of commercial/residential plumbing. A maximum of 1,000 hours of trade-related classroom training may be used to meet the 8,000 hours requirement. There is a written examination.
- Plumber Journeyman Gas Certificate of Fitness -Requires 4,000 hours of work in the trade. A minimum of 2,000 hours must be in the installation of fuel gas piping. May substitute 2,000 hours of commercial/industrial plumbing installation. Up to 500 trade-related classroom hours may be substituted for the plumbing installation experience. Additionally, a written examination is required.
- Plumber Utility License – Must show proof of 1,000 hours of installation of water, sewer, or storm lines. 125 hours of education may be substituted for experience. This license requires an exam.
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors issues distinct licenses for commercial and residential work and dual licenses that apply to both commercial and residential, for each trade or a construction field. Arizona requires that all plumbers hold a contractor’s license for residential or commercial work or both. These licenses require at least four years of experience and the successful completion of both trade and business examinations. These licenses also require that a bond be posted. Within these general requirements is an extensive list of specialty licenses applied to specific construction projects and services.
All plumbers in Arkansas must have a license before they can perform work in their field. The practice of plumbing in Arkansas is controlled by the Arkansas Department of Health through the Plumbing, and Natural Gas Division. To apply for a master plumber license, you must show proof of five years of experience and if you are a journeyman plumber, you must have held a journeyman license for at least a year. You must pass an exam.
- Apprentice – Requires registration with and license by the state to work in an approved apprenticeship program. There are a variety of specialty apprenticeship programs that are separately designated.
- Journeyman – Open to those who have completed apprenticeships or the equivalent, pass the examination, and pay the required fee.
- Master Plumber – The examination for Master Plumber is open to those who have at least five years’ experience as a plumber or at least one year as a journeyman.
In Georgia, the licensing of plumbers is the responsibility of the Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Master and Journeyman Plumber.
- Journeyman Plumber – Eligibility is three years of experience and an examination.
- Master Plumber – Requires an examination and five years experience including at least two years as a journeyman plumber, contractor, foreman, military plumber, plumbing contractor, plumbing foreman, or plumbing superintendent. An examination is required.