Becoming A Plumbing Apprentice: Education & Training

Apprentice Education
Apprentices typically need a high school diploma to get started. You gain all of the education and training you need on the job, while being paid. Apprenticeships last between 4 and 5 years depending on the state (check your state for specific details). During your apprenticeship you will acquire between 7.500 and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and typically between 500 hours and 750 hours of in-class instruction. Once you have met your state's requirements you will mostly complete an exam to get to the next stage of licensing.

Journeyman Education
License titles differ by state but most commonly, the second stage of licensing is to become a Journeyman Plumber. Journeyman plumbers are required to complete continuing education in many states. Continuing education requirements differ from completing a 5-hour course anytime code changes to completing 12-hours of continuing education every two years before renewing your license. Check your state for details. If you would like to take on a supervisor role or, in some states, open your own plumbing company you will have to strive for the next level in plumbing licensing - most commonly referred to as a Master Plumber or Plumbing Contractor. You will have to complete the state required time as a Journeyman before you can take the exam to become a master.

Master/Plumbing Contractor Education
In most states, becoming a master or plumbing contractor is the end of the line. You will still have to complete continuing education as your state requires but you've reached the top level of licensing. Some states separate master and plumbing contractor licensing into two more levels. In these cases you will have to complete the required time as a master plumber before taking the exam and becoming a plumbing contractor.

Becoming a Plumbing Apprentice: What are the Benefits?

Are you wondering if becoming an apprentice is right for you? Below are a few key benefits to becoming a plumbing apprentice.

  • Earn While You Learn. Plumbing is a unique career path because you have the ability to earn money while you complete your training. The average plumbing apprentice makes $35,115 per year and the average journeyman plumber makes $57,096.  Compare this to your average college graduate who racks up student loans rather than making income while they learn and make an average of $59,124 per year after obtaining a bachelor's degree. On top of that, the typical apprenticeship program is 4-5 years long - the same as your average bachelor's degree!
  • Cost effective alternative to a degree. Building off our previous point, the average student in the U.S. today has $31,172 in student loans and an average monthly payment of $393. You could be making more money than the average student while gaining skills and make near the same amount after becoming a journeyman - minus the debt.
  • Gain skills in a working environment. Even if you decide not to stay in the field, you will gain valuable, real world experience in a working environment to add to your resume. These skills can translate to various engineering or construction jobs.
  • Learn from experienced seniors in the industry. As an apprentice, you will be working with experienced professionals in the plumbing industry. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and see how the career has worked out for journeyman and master plumbers. Do they seem to enjoy their job? Are they making enough money to support their lifestyles?

Websites to Help Homeowners Find Nearby Plumbers

When a homeowner needs a plumber, it can often be an urgent situation. Plumbing emergencies do not have office hours, and today’s customers demand expedient service and trustworthy professionals. These days, finding a qualified plumber can be a process.

The days of getting out the phone book are long gone. Homeowners today search online for professionals near them, and there are many websites to help them find you.

Angie’s List

The popular site may be the most well-known, and connects customers with plumbers with a range of subspecialties, including drain clearing, faucets, piping, pumps, septic systems, sprinklers, water heaters, water softeners, and water mains.

The site ranks local professionals on an A-F scale and there are no anonymous review, every poster has an account with the site.

Home Advisor

Home Advisor ranks plumbers on a 1-5 scale, and offers customers options to find reviews, cost analysis of service, instant booking and “DesignMine” project customization. The site screens every business for licensing, criminal records, civil judgements and identity verification.


Porch specializes in moving and remodeling jobs, but features a plumber locator tool as well. The site offers instant booking and flexible scheduling, does background checks on all of their businesses, and allows customers to pay after the job is complete. It also offers a cost analysis guide to give customers an idea of what a service might be priced at.

Find Us Now helps connect locals with a network of residential and commercial plumbing specialists, and ensures that each company has credentials and experience.

“Simply conducting an online search is no longer sufficient. There are many companies offering plumbing services, but people cannot be sure whether they are really qualified and have the necessary license. Find Us Now makes it easier to actually compare service providers and choose the one that they think is the most suitable for them,” said website spokesman Clint Butler in a press release.


South Dakota Plumber Renewal FAQ

Do I have to complete continuing education to renew my South Dakota plumbing license?

Plumbers must complete a minimum of four hours of continuing education related to the plumbing trade including two hours of code before renewing their license.

When is my South Dakota plumber continuing education due?

Plumbers must complete their continuing education by December 31st every year.

Who submits my South Dakota plumber continuing education to the state?

Plumbers Training Institute will submit your courses the business day following course completion.

How do I renew my South Dakota plumbing license?

  1. Complete the required 4-hours continuing education
  2. The Plumbing Commission sends out renewal notices the end of September each year
  3. Licensee’s can either pay by sending in check or money order with their statements of can go to and then to Online payments option, set up an account an pay online
  4. Provide proof of your continuing education. We submit your continuing education to the state after course completion

What is the renewal fee for my South Dakota plumbing license?

  • Plumbing contractor $275;
  • Journeyman plumber $105;
  • Restricted Plumbing Contractor $110,
  • Restricted Journeyman Plumber $55,
  • Apprentice plumbers (3rd year) $10.

Who submits my South Dakota plumbing license plumbing course completion?

We submit completion to Licensees can also keep track of their continuing education on the same site.

What happens if I renew my license South Dakota plumbing license late?

All late licenses are deactivated and when they meet their requirements can still renew without penalty through out the year. If they do not renew with in the 12 month’s, i.e.: 12/31/2020, then they have to re-apply and test in order to get their license reactivated.

Who do I contact at the state level with questions about my South Dakota plumbing license?

South Dakota Plumbing Commission
308 S. Pierre Street
c/o 1320 E. Sioux Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: 605.773.3429
Fax: 605.773.5405



Instructor Opportunity for Massachusetts Master Plumbers

Fill out the form to the right or call 1-800-727-7104 and ask for Cassandra for more information.

Plumbers Training Institute is looking for a Massachusetts Master Plumber or Plumbing Inspector to join our successful online plumbing exam prep training & continuing education department. Online video training is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with more individuals and businesses choosing courses that will fit their busy schedules. This is a significant opportunity for a talented plumbing instructor.

How it works:

  • We provide course materials. You will receive materials for review and editing before you present.
  • Once course materials are finalized, you will come to our recording studio in Traverse City, Michigan for a one-day filming session.
  • You will receive a lump cash payment for presenting.

Plumbers Training Institute is a proven leader in online license and certification training. Our school has been providing trades-based training since 1999 and currently offers nationwide HD video courses for contractors, architects, real estate salespeople and brokers, plumbers, engineers, and agricultural workers. All of our courses are created by industry leaders and tailored to the specific needs of the licensees. From pre-license and exam prep training to help folks start their careers to interesting, modern continuing education or business development programs for established trade professionals.

As an instructor for our school, you will gain national recognition as an expert in your field, as well as payment for your services. Many of our instructors began teaching at community colleges, conference centers, hotels or VFW halls and now their courses are available nationwide at the click of a button.

Virginia Plumber Courses

Plumbers Training Institute is excited to offer everything you need to get licensed and stay licensed in Virginia! Not only do we offer the best exam prep available for the journeyman and master plumbing exams, we also provide online state-approved continuing education! All courses are created by licensed plumbers in an easy-to-use online format. Take your courses online anytime with the added benefit of a licensed professional available to answer all of your questions.

Continuing Education
Virginia plumbers must complete a 3-hour code update course every two-years by the anniversary of licensure. Plumbers Training Institute offers an online state approved 3-hour continuing education course (Virginia approval #2731003165). This course is available 24/7 from any internet capable device with support staff to help answer your questions every step of the way.

Exam Prep
Anyone interested in obtaining a journeyman or master plumber license in Virginia must meet state requirements and pass an exam. Plumbers Training Institute offers online exam prep and exam prep book packages to help you prepare for your exam. We cover difficult topics like plumbing math, isometrics, venting, code review, and more!


Florida ‘Super Bug’ Termite Chews Through Plumbing

Florida is dealing with a termite unlike any other. Two invasive termite species are breeding in the area to produce a new 'super' pest that can reproduce more quickly than it's parent species and the ability to live in a greater range of environments. The hybrid species is also twice the size of its parents. It not only chews through the baseboards and studs, but also, concrete and plumbing. As an added bonus, termites also spit acid.

Both termite species originate in Asia although they come from very different regions. The diversity in regions in what allows the termite to travel to climates it has not previously been. With no natural predators the bug is quickly spreading from southern Florida to Tampa and soon to more northern states. The insect breeds from May-July and work round the clock, chewing about a pound of wood per day.

Why Do Termites Live In Bathrooms?
Termites build mud tubes and plant their nests, bathrooms are attractive to termites because they often have excess moisture. For example, a bathroom with an inadequate ventilation system, leaky pipes, or an excess of humid showers will lead to high humidity levels and damp ground - the perfect habitat for termites.

How can I tell if there are termites in a bathroom?
There are a few common warning signs.

  • Loose Tiles
  • Discolored or sagging ceiling
  • Damaged or hollow-sounding baseboards and/or walls
  • Drywall or wallpaper with small holes
  • Jammed door or windows.

What should you do if you find termites in a customer's bathroom?
Call a professional pesticide control technician. The first step is getting rid of the termites. A professional will most likely fumigate the space and apply subterranean liquid termicides. Once the pest control technicians have completed their work and it's safe for you to re-enter, you will need to inspect all of the plumbing for damage. While termites don't eat pipes for food, 'Super' Termites will chew through PVC piping to make room for their tunnels.  You will also want to check for structural damage in floor and ceiling joists, heavy items like bathtubs hold the risk of falling through a termite-weakened floor.



Are you ready for 8/31/19 continuing education deadline?

Complete 14-hours of state-approved continuing education from the comfort of home!

DIY Plumbing Disasters

Many homeowners fancy themselves DIY professionals and tackle all kinds of projects around the house. While DIY mentalities can save homeowners money the opposite is often true when it comes to plumbing.

One of the most common mistakes made by DIY plumbers is digging when they see water coming from a buried pipe. Most homeowners crack the pipe almost instantaneously if they're lucky they hit an inflow pipe and are covered in clean water. If they're not so lucky they hit a sewage pipe and cover their basement and body in waste.

One DIYer decided to scrub the "rust" off the floor after an old toilet had been removed. After scrubbing proved insufficient she went at the spot with a hammer and chisel. When the job was completed a handyman came to install a new toilet and found she had removed the flange from the floor. This cleaning project brought her toilet installation cost from $200 to $600.

The most dangerous plumbing DIY stories involve hot water systems, electricity, or gas water heaters. Each of these can prove fatal to the novice homeowner or if you're lucky, a large repair bill from a plumber.


We are looking for instructors and presenters to help us grow our plumbing school. If you are a UPC plumber, have experience working with Fire Sprinkler Systems or have ideas for plumber courses, we want to hear from you. 

Benefits to becoming part of our instructor/presenter team

  • Opportunity to create course materials or simply present materials we have created.
  • Option for bulk payment or passive income
  • Nationwide name recognition in your field

High School Senior’s Essay about Plumbing Makes it into New York Times

Each spring, the New York Times selects five moving college admissions essays to publish. The topics range from work to money to social class and are written by teens with diverse backgrounds.

This year, one of the five essayists reflected on her time as a plumber’s daughter, and the lessons she learned in that role. While many teens babysat or hung out by the pool lifeguarding, Kelley Schlise of Milwaukee spent her summers as a plumbing assistant. She went out on calls with her dad and worked for his one-man plumbing business.

As a young girl, Kelley navigated pipes, cords, walls, bathrooms and kitchens and chaos to help her dad diagnose and then fix the problem. The job was often messy and cumbersome, which conflicted with Kelley’s need for control and perfect organization. Plumbing challenged her controlling tendencies and perfectionism and taught her the value of elbow grease and perseverance.

Excerpt from her essay:

“As much as my dad and I create chaos, we create order, and if I look carefully I can find it in each newly soldered array of copper pipes or in the way my dad’s toolboxes all fit together in the back of his van. Moreover, when customers express gratitude for our work, I understand that, in a small way, we bring order to their lives. The physical and mental discomforts of plumbing are worth it.”

To read Kelley’s essay in its entirety, click here.


We are looking for instructors and presenters to help us grow our plumbing school. If you are a UPC plumber, have experience working with Fire Sprinkler Systems or have ideas for plumber courses, we want to hear from you. 

Benefits to becoming part of our instructor/presenter team

  • Opportunity to create course materials or simply present materials we have created.
  • Option for bulk payment or passive income
  • Nationwide name recognition in your field

Florida Plumbing Continuing Education FAQ

How often do I have to renew my plumbing license in Florida?

Every two years. Registered plumbing contractors renew their licenses by August 31 of odd-numbered years. Certified plumbing contractors renew their licenses by August 31 of even-numbered years.

How many hours of Continuing Education do I need to renew my Florida plumber license?

  • The Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board requires contractors obtain 14 hours of continuing education every 2 years including:
    • 1-hour - Workplace Safety
    • 1-hour - Workers' Compensation
    • 1-hour - Business Practices
    • 1-hour - Advanced Building Code
    • 1-hour - Laws and Rules
    • 1-hour - Wind Mitigation
  • The remaining 8 hours are considered 'General' and can cover any of our approved topics.
  • If your license was issued more than 1 year, but less than 2 years, prior to August 31st of the renewal year, you must complete 7 hours of general credits for the current renewal cycle.
  • If your license was issued less than 12 months prior to August 31st of the renewal years, you do not have to complete any continuing education for this cycle.

How do I renew my Certified Contractor Plumbers License?

To renew your license, you will need to create an account with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website and complete the renewal process. Click here for the steps to create your account.

What is the fee to renew my Florida plumbing license?

Certified Contractor = $209 *
Registered Contractor = $209 *

* Includes $5 Unlicensed Activity fee and a fee of $4 which must be transferred to the Department of Community Affairs to fund projects relating to the building construction industry or continuing education programs offered to persons engaged in the building construction industry in Florida.

Who do I contact regarding a plumbing license in Florida?

Division of Professions
Construction Industry Licensing Board
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783
Phone: 850.487.1395



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