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Minnesota Plumbing License: Everything You Need to Know

A plumber’s job is to provide access to safe and clean water. Because this role is so important, the path to becoming a licensed plumber involves specific licensing requirements. In this guide, you’ll learn how to earn your Minnesota plumbing license and how to advance your career in the plumbing industry.

What Plumbing Work Can Be Done Without a License?

You need a Minnesota plumbing license to perform plumbing work in the state.

What are the Different Types of Plumbing Licenses Available in Minnesota?

Journeyman and Master Plumber are the two plumbing licenses available through the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Registered unlicensed plumber are studying to become plumbers.

To receive a journeyman plumber license, you must spend at least four years as a registered unlicensed plumber working under the supervision of a master plumber. After meeting this state requirement, you are eligible to take the journeyman plumber exam. A journeyman plumber can handle any plumbing project but works under the supervision of a master plumber. Many plumbers stay at the journeyman level throughout their careers.

The move from journeyman to master plumber involves at least one year of work with 1750 hours of practical experience as a journeyman plumber. Then, you can take the master plumber exam. A master plumber can work unsupervised on any plumbing project.

A plumber’s pay rate is dependent on his or her license level and location. At the starting level, a registered unlicensed plumber will make about $15 per hour. The average pay for a journeyman or master plumber in Minnesota is $30.82 per hour. There is a constant demand for plumbers.

How to Get a Plumbing License

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for plumbing licenses. The first step for becoming a licensed plumber is registering as an unlicensed plumber with the state. You must be a high school graduate or have a GED. You must provide paperwork showing your training with a licensed master plumber. The initial fee for registration is $14.

During the training period, you must have 7000 hours of practical experience. Those hours must include work in three categories: 2000 hours on water distribution system installation, 2000 hours on drain, waste, and vent system installation, and 1000 hours on fixture installation. After four years, you are eligible to take the journeyman exam. If you pass the exam, you can receive the journeyman license. The application cost for the license is $128.

You must work for at least one year as a journeyman plumber to take the master plumber exam. With a passing grade, you can apply for your master plumber license for a $128 fee. In addition, to receive a master plumber license, you must abide by the plumber code for five years.

The exams for both journeyman and master plumber cover basic plumbing knowledge, federal regulations, and the plumbing codes of Minnesota. The master plumber test has a greater focus on administrative issues. You can find several online resources to prepare you for the exam. Local unions also may have resources to help you. There is a $50 fee to take the plumbing exam at both levels.

Should I Join a Union?

Joining a union is helpful in the plumbing trade. For example, the Plumbers and Gasfitters Union 34 in Saint Paul has a five-year, paid apprenticeship program and journeyman test preparation. Many plumbers depend on a local union to help them with health insurance and other benefits. Unions also help negotiate work contracts at larger organizations.

Insurance for Plumbers in Minnesota

Plumbers need health and disability insurance. If you work for an organization, your employer may handle these benefits. If you are an independent worker, you will need to purchase your own plan or get coverage through a union.

Plumbers need liability insurance in case of damage to a client’s property. Minnesota requires its plumbers be bonded to observe state plumbing codes.

Plumbers also should maintain their physical health. Many plumbing tasks involve heavy lifting and cramped spaces. 

How to Get My First Plumbing Apprenticeship

As a registered unlicensed plumber, you are a trainee of the master plumber. The training period is a paid position, increasing with each year of experience. 

For the interview, arrive on time and be prepared to talk about your plumbing knowledge and experience. Local unions have structured programs for students who are at least 18 years old. You can apply for these positions through the union’s website.

Does My License Work in Any Other State?

Your Minnesota plumbing license is only valid within the state.

How Do I Stay Up to Date With Plumbing Codes?

Minnesota requires 16 hours of continuing education for master plumbers and journeyman plumbers. Twelve hours will focus on state plumbing codes. The remainder of the hours will review plumbing installation and equipment. You can find approved courses on the state’s website

What Resources are Available in the Plumbing Industry?

You can learn about the latest trends by reading blogs and attending trade shows. You can get information about focusing on a single specialty in the plumbing industry. Joining a union will give you access to local resources, too.

I Already Have a License But:

Submit all personal information changes to the Department of Labor and Industry. They also can issue you a duplicate card.

How Often Do I Need to Renew My Plumbing License in Minnesota?

You must renew your Minnesota plumbing license every two years. The current fee is $128. During the training period, a registered unlicensed plumber must re-register every year at a cost of $14.


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