New Mexico Plumbing License: Everything You Need to Know

The plumbing profession is growing quickly. This job offers stability and flexibility for workers. Several paths exist get this rewarding plumbing career. You can work for a major company, or receive your license to

run your own business

. This guide will give you all the steps to earn your New Mexico plumbing license.

What Plumbing Work Can Be Done Without a License?

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

What are the Different Types of Plumbing Licenses Available in New Mexico?

New Mexico offers one license. To work as a licensed plumber or a plumbing contractor, you must have a journeyman license. This license requires you have at least two years of plumbing experience and pass a licensing examination. It typically takes between two and four years to get a New Mexico plumbing license. 

With your license, you can repair plumbing and sewer systems, install new pipes, and oversee the work of other plumbers. New Mexico plumbers earn

an average of $19.87 per hour

. The average length of a plumber’s career is 10 years. Around 10,000 people receive plumbing licenses in New Mexico each year.

How to Get a Plumbing License

To become a licensed New Mexico plumber, you must submit an application to the

New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department

and pay a $30 application free. Prior to submitting an application, you must have a high school diploma or a GED. You also will need to take classes from a vocational school and do an apprenticeship. New Mexico requires that plumbers pass a criminal background check and will not grant licenses to those with a criminal record.

You must submit the application and provide an affidavit signed by the plumber who supervised your apprenticeship. Central New Mexico Community College offers the only plumbing program in the state, though plumbing companies offer apprenticeships. You can finish the education program in less than a year. 

Classes are available online, and you request financial aid from the school.  It can cost between $800 and $3,000 to complete a vocational training program.

The only prerequisite for starting a plumbing program is proof of your high school diploma or GED. You may have the chance to do an internship and receive training on the job, which will require at least 10 hours a week in the field.

Then, you will apply for your license and take an exam. Central New Mexico Community College offers free prep materials for the exam.

Should I Join a Union?

U.A. Local 412 is the main union in New Mexico for plumbers. It’s located in Albuquerque. The union has a training center for plumbers and can help future plumbers find apprenticeships in any city in New Mexico. You should join a union to gain access to those programs and to interact with fellow plumbers.

Insurance for Plumbers in New Mexico

You should obtain insurance before you open a plumbing business or before you do any contract work. It's possible to sustain injuries due to your own work or the work of others. 

Insurance also protects your customers from any damage that might occur. Though you do not need any vaccinations before working, a tetanus shot is often recommended because plumbers come in contact with water sources filled with bacteria and rusty metal.

How to Get My First Plumbing Apprenticeship

Most apprenticeship programs only accept individuals who are at least 18 years old, but some are open to students who are only 17 years old  and have a high school diploma or GED. You must have at least 144 hours of classroom work finished before doing an apprenticeship and be capable of passing a background check. Applications require a copy of your government photo ID, results of a clean drug test, and a valid driving record and license.

Most programs include an interview where the head of the program will ask questions about your experience. You should dress appropriately in business casual clothing for this interview. It's important to bring your resume and proof of your diploma/GED. Plumbing companies in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and other cities offer apprenticeships. Some of these companies do group interviews and bring in multiple people to interview  at the same time.

Does My License Work in Any Other State?

New Mexico has a reciprocity arrangement with other states. This agreement allows plumbers to apply for licensing in one or more of the other states. Those states include Texas, Idaho, and Wyoming.

How Do I Stay Up to Date with Plumbing Codes?


New Mexico License and Regulation Department

maintains a database of all state plumbing codes that you can access online. It immediately updates the database as codes change. You also can learn about code changes as a union member.

What Resources are Available in the Plumbing Industry?

Multiple resources are available for you to learn about

industry trends

. You can read


and attend

trade shows

. You’ll also discover new

plumbing specialties

to grow your career.

I Already Have a License But:

I changed my name:

You need to show a government ID to the

New Mexico License and Regulation Department

that shows your new name.

I misplaced my card:


New Mexico License and Regulation Department

will provide you with a new card after you show proof of your identity.

I changed my address:

As with a name change, you must show the department proof that you changed either your home address or the address of your business.

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

You need to renew your New Mexico plumbing license every year. It costs $50 to renew your license.

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