How to Become a Licensed Plumber in Pennsylvania

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In Pennsylvania, apprentice, journeyman, and master plumbers are all required to carry plumbing licenses. However, they are issued at a local level, not by the state. Read on to learn how to become a licensed plumber and get a plumbing job in Pennsylvania.

Types of Plumbing Licenses in Pennsylvania

Localities in Pennsylvania offer three different types of licenses for plumbers:

  • Apprentice license
  • Journeyman license
  • Master license

Although the licensing authorities in Pennsylvania vary by municipality, the general requirements are the same across the board.

An apprentice license is always the entry point to a plumbing career in Pennsylvania.

This license requires a high school diploma or GED and a driver’s license. Apprentice plumbers generally need to pay fees but will not have to take licensing exams.

Depending on the municipality, plumbers that hold journeyman plumbing licenses may be able to perform plumbing work unsupervised, including:

  • Water piping
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Drainage
  • Construction or repair

However, some jurisdictions require them to continue working under the supervision of master plumbers.

Master plumbing licenses allow plumbers to perform technically advanced work such as installing and repairing residential and commercial plumbing systems.

They can also supervise journeymen and apprentice plumbers.

Cost to Get a Plumbing License in Pennsylvania

The cost to get a plumbing license in Pennsylvania varies by the licensure level and the town.

In Pittsburgh, apprentices pay nothing, but both journeyman and master plumbers must pay non-refundable exam fees of $125 and $250, respectively, plus licensing fees.

Journeyman plumbing licensing fees are $125 per year, whereas master plumbing licenses are $375 per year.

In Philadelphia, on the other hand, apprentice plumbers must pay a non-refundable filing fee of $20, plus an annual license fee of $25.

Journeyman plumbers also pay $25 application filing fees, plus $100 license fees each year.

Finally, master plumbers in Philadelphia pay $150 application filing fees that apply towards their $357 initial licensing fee. Annual renewal fees for master plumbing licenses are $207.

Licensing Exams

The Philadelphia journeyman plumbing exam is administered by the International Code Council.

Plumbers must apply to take it within one year of getting their licenses. Master plumbing exams are also administered by the ICC and must reference the city’s plumbing codes.

In Pittsburgh, plumbing licensure exams are administered by the Allegheny County Health Department and are conducted twice per year.

Aspiring plumbers should inquire with the local authorities that issue plumbing licenses in their towns regarding where to go to take an exam and what to expect.

Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in Pennsylvania?

Each municipality has a separate organization that issues plumbing licenses in Pennsylvania.

In Philadelphia, for example, the City of Philadelphia Business Services Department is responsible for managing everything related to plumbing licenses.

In Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Health Department issues plumbing licenses to qualified applicants.

Additional Plumbing Certifications

The state of Pennsylvania does not issue any plumbing certifications. However, local plumbers may be able to benefit from getting certified by respected national organizations.

The ASSE and the NITC are good examples. Both are viewed as highly reputable organizations, so completing a certification program can improve a plumber’s reputation.

Can I Transfer a Plumbing License to Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania does not have plumbing license reciprocity at the state level, however licensed plumbers from out of state can contact local authorities for possible exam and experience waivers.

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