How to Become a Licensed Plumber in Iowa

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If you want to become a plumber in Iowa, you must get your Iowa plumbing license. This is done through the Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board, which regulates people who work in the plumbing and mechanical systems (hydronic, HVAC, refrigeration, sheet metal) trades. Read on to learn how to get a plumbing job in Iowa.

Types of Plumbing Licenses in Iowa

There are several types of plumber’s licenses available in Iowa:

  • Apprentice license
  • Journey level license
  • Master level license
  • Contractor license

Additionally, there is a specialty license available for those who specialize in disconnecting and reconnecting plumbing systems.

Cost to Get a Plumbing License in Iowa

You’ll need to pay a $50 fee for your apprentice license application to the Board, which is valid for three years. The cost of books and tools is typically shared between your employer or the union and yourself. Several apprenticeship programs have varying tuition costs.

Iowa Jobs Training Program is available for registered apprentices of eligible businesses, providing $1 million in funding per year to support employee training services.

The program offers forgivable loans to Iowa businesses that meet the program’s training requirements.

Union apprenticeships, such as the one offered by Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 125 in Cedar Rapids, last for five years and cost roughly $2,000 spread out over the five years.

Once you meet the work experience requirements, you must pay a $35 fee per trade examination to the state and a separate examination fee of $109 directly to Kirkwood Community College, which oversees the exams.

For the three-year period, each of the other license classes has a different fee. The Journey license fee is $180, the Master license fee is $240, and the Contractor license fee is $250 to PMSB and a registration fee of $150 to the Iowa Workforce Development – Division of Labor.

The fee is prorated depending on when you apply during the three-year cycle.

Plumbing License Exams in Iowa

The Master Plumber with Gas exam consists of 125 questions that must be completed within 5 hours.

The exam covers a range of subjects, including:

  • Definitions
  • General regulations
  • Plumbing fixtures and fittings
  • Water heaters
  • Water supply and distribution
  • Sanitary drainage
  • Indirect wastes
  • Vents, traps and interceptors
  • Storm drainage
  • And much more

The Journeyperson Plumber with Gas exam comprises 75 questions and has a time limit of 3 hours.

The exam covers general knowledge of the Uniform Plumbing Code, drainage, waste, and vent systems, water supply and distribution, and fuel piping.

Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in Iowa?

The Iowa Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board (PMSB) is responsible for the issuance of licenses for all Plumbing, Gas Piping, HVAC/Mechanical, and related specialties in Iowa.

Additional Plumbing Certifications

While not mandatory, certifications from organizations like National Inspection Testing and Certification (NITC) or the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (ASSE Certifications) can enhance your employability and improve your appeal to potential clients.

Can I Transfer a Plumbing License to Iowa?

Iowa offers plumbing license reciprocity to plumbers from Minnesota, South Dakota, and Nebraska in the form of an exam waiver.