Reply To: How to become a MasterPlumber

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Avatar photoHarold Kestenholz

    Much information on becoming a Licensed Master Plumber can be found by searching the net for Licensed&Master&Plumber. Each state and/or municipality governs the licensing of plumbing in the US and probably the same in other countries. Some examples of the information follows:

    Virtually all plumbers undergo some type of apprenticeship training. Many programs are administered by local union-management committees made up of members of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, and local employers who are members of either the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, Inc., the National Association of Plumbing- Heating- Cooling Contractors, or the National Fire Sprinkler Association, Inc.
    Non-union training and apprenticeship programs are administered by local chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors, the American Fire Sprinkler Association, and the Home Builders Institute of the National Association of Home Builders.
    Apprenticeships—both union and nonunion—consist of 4 to 5 years of on-the-job training, in addition to at least 144 hours annually of related classroom instruction. Classroom subjects include drafting and blueprint reading, mathematics, applied physics and chemistry, safety, and local plumbing codes and regulations. On the job, apprentices first learn basic skills such as identifying grades and types of pipe, the use of the tools of the trade, and the safe unloading of materials. As apprentices gain experience, they learn how to work with various types of pipe and install different piping systems and plumbing fixtures. Apprenticeship gives trainees a thorough knowledge of all aspects of the trade. Although most plumbers are trained through apprenticeship, some still learn their skills informally on the job.
    Applicants for union or nonunion apprentice jobs must be 18 years old and in good physical condition. Apprenticeship committees may require applicants to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Armed Forces training in plumbing and pipefitting is given some consideration. Persons with this background may be given credit for previous experience when entering a civilian apprenticeship program. Secondary or post secondary courses in shop, plumbing, general mathematics, drafting, blueprint reading, and physics also are good preparation.
    Colorado plumbing statutes (12-58-107) state that: “The maximum experience the board may require for an applicant to qualify to receive a residential plumber’s license is two years or three thousand four hundred hours of practical experience. The maximum experience the board may require for an applicant to qualify to receive a journeyman plumber’s license is four years or six thousand eight hundred hours of practical experience. An applicant for a master plumber’s license shall furnish evidence that they have five years of practical experience.”
    Total hours do not count as a substitute for the master examination qualifications. You must submit verification of a minimum of 60 months of full time plumbing installation experience. A licensed residential plumber has the necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge, as specified by the board, to install plumbing and equipment in one-, two-, three-, and four-family dwellings, which shall not extend more than two stories aboveground. A licensed journeyman plumber is any person other than a master plumber, residential plumber, or plumber’s apprentice who engages in or works at the installation, alteration, repair, and renovation of plumbing in accordance with the standards, rules, and regulations established by the board. A licensed master plumber has the necessary qualifications, training, experience, and technical knowledge to properly plan, lay out, and install and repair plumbing apparatus and equipment including the supervision of such in accordance with the standards, rules, and regulations established by the board.

    An explanation for NJ is at

    No plumbing work shall be performed in the City of South Milwaukee unless a permit for such work has been issued to a licensed master plumber, or to a property owner for work to be done by him/her in a single family building owned and occupied by him/her,

    In the Virgin Islands ** Please note that holders of Master Plumber’s Licenses shall not employ more than one full or part-time apprentice or journeyman electrician.

    In Kentucky:
    only licensed master plumbers and homeowners working on their own residence can legally install plumbing or alter existing plumbing without supervision. Anyone employed or acting as a maintenance man can repair plumbing, however a licensed journeyman plumber cannot do any work on plumbing unless he is being supervised and directed by a licensed master plumber, and apprentices can only assist journeyman plumbers and master plumbers.

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