Can You get Your Plumbing License after 5 Years of Working?

It varies from state to state but the answer is yes – you can get a plumbing license after 5 years of working. In fact, you may be able to become a licensed plumber in just 4 years! 

In this article we will learn:

  • The awesome opportunities that exist in the plumbing industry
  • What requirements you’ll have to satisfy
  • How to get the required work requirement
  • Licensing requirements
  • How to get hired

What do Plumbers Do?

An average U.S. household uses 400 gallons of water a day. Thank goodness for plumbers that keep these systems flowing!

As you may know, plumbers are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining pipes and fittings that carry liquids and gasses in residential and commercial settings. Some of the more common plumbing systems include water heaters, sinks, toilets and bathtubs. 

If you enjoy helping customers and love the satisfaction of fixing things with your hands, a plumbing career may be the perfect fit for you. Plus it pays well

A Career in Plumbing

The U.S. News ranks plumbers as #6 in Highest Paying Jobs Without A Degree. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5% employment growth from 2020-2030. This means adding more than 51,000 plumbing jobs!

It typically takes 4 to 5 years to earn a  journeyman plumbing license. 

With additional coursework and experience the next step is to become a master plumber. This requires another test. 

And this career has a solid outlook as the average age of current plumbing professionals has reached the middle to late 50’s. 

That means a lot of plumbers will be retiring making room for the next generation. 

Meet The Requirements

So you’re interested in becoming a licensed plumber? Here are the basic requirements and steps. 

High School Graduate or GED

Like most trades, becoming a plumber often starts with earning a high school diploma or equivalent GED. 

If you are still in high school, focus on courses such as math (algebra) and physics. A strong background in those subjects will give you a leg up in the plumbing field.


Most plumbers learn their trade by doing an apprenticeship which combines trade school classroom instruction with paid on-the-job training. This is key as you will immediately start to earn money while being trained in the craft.

Unions and businesses usually require a minimum of 246 hours of classroom education primarily in math, physics and chemistry. In addition, they mandate up to 2,000 hours paid training with an experienced, licensed plumber. 

Journeyman Exam

In the fourth or fifth year of an apprenticeship, a plumbing apprentice prepares to take the certification exam to become a journeyman plumber. This exam may include both written and technical portions. 

So what exactly should you expect on a plumbing exam, and should you study? Plumbing expert Kenny Molotov has the secrets to success. 

After you complete an apprenticeship and pass an exam, it’s time to get that plumbing license allowing you to work independently. Each state charges different fees and has varying requirements, so use our guide to check what your state requires!

There are only 4 states where a license is not required: Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania (although, many cities and counties do require a license). 

Plumber licenses and certifications can cost anywhere from $22-$500+, so be sure to take this cost into account. 

Getting Hired!

You’ve put in the work, passed your test and have received your license. As a journeyman plumber you are ready to roll! 

Even though you have been working for 4-5 years already, choosing who you work for, or even by yourself, is an important decision. 

Many times a newly-minted journeyman will work for the local union or the business where they completed an apprenticeship. Or maybe it’s time to look for a fresh start. 

What are companies looking for when they hire their next employee? The training and certifications are a must. But employers also look for experience, positive attitudes and a willingness to learn.

Start Earning Your Plumbing License Today!

You’re well on your way to becoming the next great plumber! Although it may take 4-5 years to get there, it’s your ticket to a high paying and rewarding career. 

Today we learned:

  • The opportunities the plumbing industry has to offer.
  • Requirements needed to start your plumbing journey to journeyman status
  • What to expect during your 5 year apprenticeship
  • The plumbing license requirements you’ll need by state
  • How to get hired

FieldEdge is the secret weapon for plumbing businesses. See how much FieldEdge can help with a FREE personalized demo today!

Book a FieldEdge Demo!

Related: 5 Must-Have Plumbing and Heating Business Software Features

Want to get updates about the latest content, industry news and business tips? Sign up to receive our emails!