Texas plumbing license: how to become a plumber in Texas
The Texas plumbing industry is growing. Learn an in-demand skill and get your Texas plumbing license. This guide contains information about licensing requirements, apprenticeships, and job resources.
What plumbing work can be done without a license?
You can’t engage in any plumbing work without a Texas plumbing license.
What are the Different Types of Plumbing Licenses Available in Texas?
There are four types of Texas plumbing licenses:
- Plumbers Apprentice
- Tradesman Plumber
- Journeyman Plumber
- Master Plumber
An apprentice does not require a license, but you must be registered with the state. To get an apprenticeship, you have to find an employer to sponsor your training. Then, you can participate in repairs and installations under the direct supervision of a Master Plumber.
To apply for a Tradesman Plumber’s license, you need at least 2 years of experience in the plumbing field as an apprentice. If you have a Journeyman Plumber or Master plumber license from another state, then you can also apply for the Texas Tradesman Plumber’s license. You will also need to complete 24 hours of Board-approved classroom training and then pass the license exam.
A Journeyman Plumber license requires you to have up to 4 years or 8,000 hours of plumbing experience. You also must have a current Tradesman Plumber’s limited license. You will take another exam based on 48 hours of classroom training.
The Master Plumber’s license requires you to be an existing Journeyman Plumber with 8,000 hours of certified job experience. You also must pass another exam offered by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.
The classroom training offered at each level expands your knowledge base and allows you to work on plumbing systems and repairs, including residential, commercial, and industrial properties.
The starting salary for a licensed plumber in Texas begins at around $26,000. The average salary is about $44,000. The cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio pay the highest salaries for plumbers in the state.
There are approximately 35,300 licensed plumbers in Texas. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in plumbing are rising by 12% across the country. You can anticipate being a plumber until you want to retire.
What are the different types of plumbing licenses in Texas
The monetary value of the work is the distinguishing factor for the two types of Tennessee plumbing licenses. If the project is worth $25,000.00 or less, you can do the work as a limited licensed plumber, or LLP. For these smaller projects, the location matters, too.
If it’s in Benton, Decatur, Dickson, Giles, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Humphries, Lake, Lawrence, Lewis, Obion, Perry, Stewart, or Weakley counties, then an LLP is not required. Also, not every city or county accepts the LLP. Sometimes, a municipality has its own licensing requirements; Nashville and Memphis are two examples of places where the LLP is not accepted. In fact, if the municipality where you intend to work has its own exam and its own license and you don’t plan to ever work anywhere else, then those are the only testing and licensing requirements you’ll need for plumbing projects under $25,000 in value.
For projects over $25,000.00, you need to have a contractor’s license, specifically a mechanical plumbing contractor’s license known as a CMC-A license. CMC-A licenses are accepted everywhere in Tennessee, and no county or city can require you to pass additional exams in order to work. You’d also be exempt from having to obtain an LLP. A contractor’s license covers the plumbing projects worth more than $25,000 as the prime contractor and as a subcontractor. A prime contractor contracts directly with the homeowner. Subcontractors contract with other contractors rather than with the property owner.
Contractor’s licenses are issued to entities — sole proprietors, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations. Individuals, not firms, apply to become limited license plumbers. LLPs are strictly prohibited from advertising themselves as contractors.
Getting a CMC-A license requires that you prove three years of relevant experience. An LLP licensee candidate must show one year of experience. Once you have your Tennessee plumbing license, you can engage in all facets of plumbing, including doing utility connections, installing irrigation systems, and gas piping. Hourly pay for plumbing work in Tennessee ranges from $11 to $40 per hour. About 22% of Tennessee plumbing jobs pay more than $55,000 per year.
As the previous generation of skilled tradespeople retire, plumber shortages in the United States are becoming common. Tennessee will continue to see demand for plumbers as this field’s growth outpaces the general labor market.
How to get a plumbing license in Tennessee
Anyone applying for a Texas plumbing license is subject to a criminal background check. Depending on the type of felony conviction, you might be denied a license. You can request a criminal history evaluation letter before you apply for a license. The fee is only $25.
A career in plumbing begins with classwork. Here are some of the accredited schools for plumbing in the state:
- Texas State Technical College
- St. Philip’s College
- Brazosport College
- Lee College
- South Texas College
- Paris Junior College
- Everest Institute-Bissonnet
Most schools offer plumbing programs lasting between 3 to 12 months. After that, you can apply to become a plumber’s apprentice. The initial coursework will include information about installing and repairing plumbing pipe systems for drinking water and sewage. You’ll also learn about heating and gas pipe systems and the proper tools of the trade. Some classes might provide tools for classwork, but it is advised to build your own toolbox.
The tuition for these vocational courses range from $3,000 to $15,000. Before you can enroll, you must be a high school graduate or possess a GED certificate.
Upon graduation from the plumbing trade school, you can seek out an apprenticeship with a master plumber. Most trade schools will provide you with a list of plumbers seeking apprentices. As an apprentice, it is your responsibility to keep track of your work hours.
A tradesman plumber is a plumber who has been a certified apprentice for up to 2 years. Passing a license exam is required for this level. The exam includes a written test and a hands-on workshop test. The hands-on portion involves cutting and fitting pipes, water heater installation, and designing a sanitary drainage and vent system. A tradesman plumber primarily focuses on residential properties.
To obtain a journeyman plumber license, you will need 8,000 hours in the field,and you must pass another exam. A journeyman plumber is required to know all types of plumbing in residential and commercial buildings.
Master plumber is the highest license level. There are no required classes for this application, but you must pass another exam. The exam includes 210 questions about plumbing codes, OSHA regulations, and other related plumbing issues.
All of the license exams are conducted by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.
The fees for the exams are as follows:
- Master Plumber – $175
- Journeyman Plumber – $40
- Tradesman Plumber – $36
Should I join a union?
The United Association of Journeyman & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry offers apprenticeship programs that includes classroom training and paid on-the-job experience. These programs can take up to 4 years to complete. Union contract jobs usually have higher wages and guaranteed health benefits.
Insurance for plumbers in Texas
A Master Plumber in Texas is required to carry a general liability insurance policy with at least $300,000 for a one-year period. That policy will cover property damage and bodily injury. If you own your plumbing business, you may consider carrying worker’s compensation insurance to cover medical expenses for any employees.
Working as a plumber can expose you to hazardous conditions. Contact your doctor for vaccination recommendations.
How to get my first plumbing apprenticeship
The Texas Workforce Commission oversees that apprenticeship training programs and registration in the state. By registering as an apprentice, you can start earning a wage while you are still training to become a plumber.
Before registering, it’s helpful to have an employer sponsor. You can use this apprenticeship sponsor finder to help find a plumber in your area.
Does my license work in any other states?
A Texas plumbing license is only applicable within the state.
How do I stay up to date with plumbing codes?
Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners is the best resource to stay up to date with state plumbing codes. They also will be a resource for any special training classes.
What resources are available in the plumbing industry?
To maintain a level of professionalism, plumbers need to stay informed about industry trends. You can read plumbing blogs or attend trade shows. Plumbers should expand their skill sets and explore different plumbing specialties, too.
Keep up with the latest trends in the home services industries
Housecall Pro offers a monthly newsletter complete with tips and advice on how to manage your home service business. Sign up today and get more content like this as well as access to free ebooks, guides, and webinars.