The plumbing industry offers rewarding careers. Through education and job training, you can start a worthwhile profession. You can either work with a major employer or start your own plumbing business. Learn how to obtain and maintain a New Hampshire plumbing license.
The state of New Hampshire expects a master plumber to supervise all major plumbing projects. To avoid penalties, homeowners should hire a licensed plumber for anything more than minor repairs.
The New Hampshire Fire Safety Division issues three types of plumbing licenses: apprentice, journeyman, and master plumber.
An apprentice plumber actively learns the basics of the trade. An apprenticeship includes trade school classes and on-the-job training from a master plumber. An apprentice will do basic plumbing tasks, such as pipe installation, project preparation, and pipe bending. You can apply for your apprentice license at the age of 16 with proof of program enrollment. It takes 4 years to finish an apprenticeship.
After completing an apprenticeship, you can apply for a license as a journeyman plumber. A journeyman is a fully licensed plumber who can do any plumbing job. However, a journeyman still works under the supervision of a master plumber. You can remain at the journeyman level throughout your career.
You must work as a journeyman for at least 6 months before you can apply for a master plumber’s license. At this level, you work as an independent plumber without any supervision. Master plumbers also can train apprentices and supervise journeymen.
In New Hampshire, the average apprentice plumber wage is $19 per hour. The average salary of a journeyman or master plumber is about $35 per hour.
The Fire Safety Division of the Department of Safety is responsible for plumbing licenses in New Hampshire. If you have a criminal record, you must state that information in your application.
To obtain your apprentice license, you must secure an approved apprenticeship position with a master plumber and enter a trade-related education program. Several schools in New Hampshire offer these programs, including the Dover School of Technology, the Manchester School of Technology, and Keene Community Education. You will take 144 hours of classes each year. These classes teach a mix of practical and technical skills. You will need some basic math and science knowledge.
During the 4-year apprenticeship, you will log 8000 hours of on-the-job training to learn the basics of working as a plumber. In the beginning, you will do some observation. Eventually, you will do small projects with minimal supervision. The nature of the apprenticeship will depend on the master plumber who is supervising. Apprenticeships arranged through a plumbers’ union are more formally organized. Working with an independent plumber may be more flexible.
To become a journeyman, you can apply to take the journeyman plumber exam. The exam fee is $100. Testing sites are available in cities across the state. The test covers basic plumbing knowledge as well as New Hampshire safety codes. There are no classes required to take the exam, but many potential plumbers take test preparation courses online. These courses run anywhere from $300 to $500. After passing the test, you can apply for your journeyman license for a $190 fee.
A plumber can work at the journeyman level indefinitely, renewing the license every two years. After working for six months, you are eligible to apply for a master plumber’s license. This license also requires a state-administered exam. After passing the exam, the fee for a master plumber’s license is $310.
Many plumbers depend on a local union to help them with health insurance and other benefits. A union also can assist in apprenticeships and job placement. For example, the New Hampshire Plumbers and Pipefitters Local UA 131 has an apprenticeship program and a dedicated training coordinator.
Plumbers need health and disability insurance. If you work for a plumbing company, your employer may cover these benefits. If you own your plumbing business, you will need to purchase insurance. In addition, plumbers need liability insurance.
To get an apprenticeship, you must find a master plumber willing to train you. Unions are also helpful for securing apprenticeships. During interviews, dress professionally and bring copies of your resume highlighting your coursework and experience.
For New Hampshire plumbing licenses, the state has reciprocity with Maine and Vermont.
Journeyman and master plumbers must complete 3 hours of online code classes every year.
If your name or address changes or you need a new card, contact the Division of Fire Safety.
You must renew your New Hampshire plumbing license every 2 years. The current fees are $80 for an apprentice, $180 for a journeyman, and $300 for a master plumber.
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