A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Obtain a Texas Plumbing License

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A plumbing license signifies adherence to complying standards and demonstrates expertise in subject-matter knowledge, guaranteeing safe, secure, and expert plumbing services.

Like others, have you, too, considered a career in plumbing but felt daunted by the licensing process? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Knowing the plumbing industry trends in the state, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a Texas plumbing license

There are an expected 48,600 openings for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters projected each year, on average, over the decade. So, irrespective of whether you’re just starting your plumbing business or looking to expand your career opportunities, this guide will help you navigate the licensing process.

Texas Plumbing Licensing Requirements and Types of Licenses

Is a license required to be a plumber in Texas? 

Yes, a plumbing license is mandatory to work as a plumber in Texas. The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE) is the organization in charge of issuing license permits, endorsements, and registrations to plumbers in Texas. A plumbing contractor has to go through several stages and get the license for each individual stage fulfilling the basic experience and the examination requirements.

Plumbers have to apply for five types of licenses, and they are:

  • Apprentice registration
  • Tradesman plumber limited
  • Journeyman plumber license
  • Master plumber license
  • Plumbing inspector license 

How to Obtain a Texas Plumbing License?

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to Texas plumbing license them. This includes the scope of work, steps to register, and the eligibility criteria for each level. 

Apprentice plumber registration

  • Scope of work
    The scope of work permitted to the apprentice plumber includes:
    • Learning and getting assistance with the plumbing installation under the direct supervision of a licensed journeyman or master plumber. In case of the unavailability of a licensed plumber, an apprentice can perform the task by himself, like digging trenches. 

However, it is very essential to take into consideration that you get registered as an apprentice before you start working. This is because only the hours worked after registration will be counted towards the tradesman plumber-limited or journeyman plumber exam requirements. 

  • Eligibility
    You can apply for a plumber’s apprentice if
    • You are 16 years old, and
    • A citizen or national of the United States, or an alien or non-immigrant, qualifying for Texas’ licensure.

Tradesman plumber limited 

  • Scope of work
    • A tradesman plumber limited may construct, install, repair, service, or renovate plumbing for one and two-family dwellings under the supervision of a responsible master plumber.
    • A tradesman may directly supervise a plumber’s apprentice on job sites for one and two-family dwellings.
    • If a tradesman wants to work on a job that involves a structure other than a one or two-family dwelling, as mentioned above, he can do so but only under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master plumber.
  • Eligibility
    You can apply for a tradesman plumber limited if
    • You are a citizen or national of the United States or an alien or non-immigrant eligible for licensure by the state of Texas.
    • Must have registered as a plumber’s apprentice in Texas or have a current journeyman plumber or master plumber license issued in any other state.
    • Have documented at least 4,000 hours of experience i.e., nearly 2 years working in the plumbing trade.
    • Must have completed a 24-hour training course approved by the TSBPE or enrolled in and completed a training program approved by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.

Journeyman plumber license

  • Scope of work
    • An applicant for a journeyman plumber may install, change, repair, service, or renovate plumbing under the supervision of a responsible master plumber.
    • A journeyman may also directly supervise a plumber’s apprentice on job sites or tradesman plumber limited for structures other than one and two-family dwellings.
  • Eligibility
    You can apply for a journeyman plumber limited if
    • You are a citizen or national of the United States or an alien or non-immigrant eligible for licensure by the state of Texas.
    • You must be currently registered as a plumber’s apprentice or holding a valid tradesman plumber-limited license in Texas or holding a journeyman plumber or master plumber license issued in any other state.
    • Have at least 8,000 hours or 4 years of experience working in the plumbing industry.
    • Must have completed 48 hours of a training course approved by the TSBPE or enrolled in and completed a training program approved by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.

Master plumber license

  • Scope of work
    • An applicant for a master plumber license may install, change, repair, service, or renovate plumbing under the supervision of a responsible master plumber.
    • A master plumber may also directly supervise a plumber’s apprentice on job sites or tradesman plumber limited for structures other than one and two-family dwellings.
  • Eligibility
    To be eligible for master plumbing licensure
    • You must be a citizen or national of the United States or an alien or non-immigrant eligible for licensure by the state of Texas.
    • Have a high school diploma or GED.
    • He or she must be licensed as a journeyman plumber in Texas or another state with at least 4 years of license holding.
    • Journeyman plumber in Texas or another state with at least 1 year of license holding and successful completion of a training program approved by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.
    • Previously held a journeyman plumber license for at least 4 years and currently holds a master plumber license in any other state.
    • Previously held a journeyman plumber license for at least 1 year, currently holds a master plumber license in any other state, and has successfully completed a training program approved by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.
  • Steps to register 
    • Submit a master plumber examination form with all the supporting documents
    • Pay the master plumber examination fees amounting to $175.
    • Also submit the supplemental criminal history information form to ensure an explicit criminal history check in case you have been convicted of a felony.
    • Once the exam is successfully passed, you need to submit a fee of $ 75 to receive your certificate of licensure and the pocket card.

Plumbing inspector

  • Eligibility
    Plumbing inspector licenses mandate an applicant to have a
    • High school diploma or GED
    • 500 hours of plumbing training and experience OR
    • Currently licensed as
      • Master plumber in Texas
      • Journeyman plumber in Texas
      • Professional engineer in Texas
      • Architect in Texas
      • Plumbing inspector in another state with similar licensing requirements

Also submit the supplemental criminal history information form to ensure an explicit criminal history check in case you have been convicted of a felony.

    Important:

    One must take this thing into consideration that a license, registration, or endorsement that has expired for more than two years cannot be renewed. And once expires, you cannot renew it. Instead, you need to reinstate the same.

    Reinstate means undergoing all the procedures right from registering as an apprentice plumber. It also means that you never had a license or registration at all.

Possible Plumbing Endorsements in Texas

There are three different possible plumbing endorsements that can be added to the journeyman, master, or plumbing inspector’s license. They are

  • Medical gas piping installation: For the medical gas piping installation endorsement, you must be currently licensed as a master plumber, journeyman plumber, or plumbing inspector in Texas. Along with this, I have completed the 24-hour TSBPE-approved training and exam completion course.
  • Multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler specialist: You must be currently licensed as a master plumber, journeyman plumber, or plumbing inspector in Texas. Also, you should have completed the 24-hour TSBPE-approved training, or you must hold a current RME-General or RME-Dwelling License issued by the State Fire Marshal.
  • Water supply protection specialist: For this, you must be currently licensed as a master plumber, journeyman plumber, or plumbing inspector in Texas. Also, completing 24-hour TSBPE-approved training is a must.

    Note: A Supplemental criminal history information form must be submitted if the individual has a prior felony conviction. These endorsements must be renewed every three years and are set to expire on the same date as the main plumbing license.

Benefits of a Texas Plumbing License 

  • Enhance your Scale: You will have the chance to advance both professionally and financially if you obtain a plumbing license. It’s a rare opportunity to “earn as you learn,” as your income will rise as you gain new skills.
  • Help moving forward: No matter where your career takes you, having an acknowledged and accepted industry certificate can help you get forward.
  • A sense of independence: You can eventually choose to establish your own plumbing company and be your own boss by earning the appropriate expertise and skills.
  • Strong competitive edge: You have a competitive edge in the job market by standing out as a qualified and knowledgeable professional. This can then result in increased earning possibilities, ultimately generating more plumbing leads.
  • More learning opportunities: Licensed plumbers can get access to a variety of plumbing associations and trade organizations that provide additional training and education. This can help you expand your profession and stay up to date on industry developments.

Annual Average Salary of Texas Plumber

Plumbing licenses helps plumbers earn a competitive salary with ample growth opportunities. The average annual salary for a plumber in Texas is $52,740, and it is $25.23 hourly. 

However, if we specifically talk about the apprentice plumber or the journeyman, then the same is shown in the table here:

Type of Plumber Salary per hour Overtime per year
Apprentice plumber $17.91 $5,500
Journeyman plumber $27.06 $6,750

Cost to Get a Plumber’s License in Texas

There are numerous upfront costs associated while applying for a license in Texas plumbing trade. However, the long-term benefits of earning potential and the professional recognition one gets make this investment worthwhile. 

Various costs associated with the Texas plumbing license are shown here in tabular form.

Type of Plumber Registration Fees Exam Fees Initial License Fees Renewal Fee
Apprentice Plumber $15 $15
Tradesman Plumber $36 $35 $35
Journeyman Plumber $40 $40 $40
Master Plumber $175 $75 $75
Plumbing Inspector $55 $55 $55
Responsible Master Plumber $345 $420

Time Frame for Obtaining a Plumbing License 

The duration involved in obtaining a Texas plumbing license is different for each and every level.

  • To become a licensed tradesman plumber in texas, an apprentice needs a minimum of 2 years (4000 hours) experience as a plumbing apprentice and completion of 24 hours of board-approved classroom training, followed by passing the licensing exam. 
  • For a journeyman plumber license, one needs 4 years (8000 hours) of plumbing trade experience, completion of a 48-hour board-approved training course, and passing the licensing exam. 
  • To obtain a master plumber license, an individual must hold a journeyman license, with 8000 hours of work experience, and have successfully completed a training program.

Each license level requires more training and experience, allowing for work on an increasing range of plumbing systems, from residential to commercial to industrial.

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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What is the process of obtaining a plumbing license in Texas?

    In order to become a plumber in Texas:

    • First, meet the prerequisites for each level of license (tradesman plumber-limited, journeyman plumber, master plumber), which include the number of hours of experience and completion of a training program approved by the Board.
    • And then pass the relevant licensing exam.
    • In the case where you have been convicted of a felony, submit a Supplemental Criminal History Information Form (SCHIF) to pass a criminal history check.

  2. How many hours of experience are required if you are applying for the tradesman plumber limited license in Texas?

    Texas requires a minimum of 4,000 hours, or nearly two years, of experience as a plumbing apprentice before you may apply for a tradesman plumber-limited license.


  3. What is the difference between a tradesman and a journeyman plumbing license?

    A journeyman plumber license allows work on both residential and commercial plumbing systems, but a tradesman plumber-limited license only allows work on residential plumbing systems. A greater level of education, experience, and expertise is required for the journeyman license.


  4. How can you be a responsible master plumber?

    You can check the eligibility for responsible master plumber designation when you

    • Hold a valid master plumber license in Texas.
    • Be in good standing with the Texas state board of plumbing examiners (TSBPE).
    • Complete a 24-hour training course approved by TSBPE.
    • Provide proof of at least $300,000 in commercial liability insurance coverage.

  5. How long it takes to get a journeyman plumber’s license in Texas?

    Nearly 4 years of experience, which is roughly equivalent to 8000 hours, and completion of 48 hours of training recognized by the board, are necessary for a journeyman plumber license in Texas.


  6. What are the reciprocity agreements between a plumber in Texas and other states?

    It depends on the reciprocity arrangements of different states with Texas. Some states allow the licenses to be recognized across state lines.


  7. Can I work as a plumber without a license in Texas?

    No, you cannot work without a license in Texas. A plumber is mandated to have a plumbing license.


  8. How often do I need to renew my plumbing license?

    The plumbing license in Texas needs to be renewed every two years.

Conclusion

After this detailed licensing procedure, generating plumbing leads or winning more jobs should not be your matter of concern. Get your license today so that you can take the most out of yourself. 

Additionally, plumbing business management can be made much easier with the right use of digital software. InvoiceOwl offers a simple, fast, and efficient invoicing solution to help you streamline your billing process and get your payments on time. 

Sign up for InvoiceOwl today and see how it can help you grow your plumbing business.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel
Founder

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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