What does it take to become a plumber?

Plumbing is one of the construction trades that require an individual license for each worker. In other words, the person working in your home is required to have a specific plumbing license.


To get a plumbing license, a person must serve an apprenticeship that requires four years of on-the-job training under the direction of a Master Plumber. The on-the-job training needs to be verified by the state each year by the Master Plumber who is managing that apprentice.

The State of Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry regulates these verifications closely. They are serious about it and the forms that both the apprentice in training and the Master Plumber need to sign come with multiple warnings next to the signatures that say that providing false information is “under penalty of fine and imprisonment”.

The Master Plumber also has to verify the number of hours the apprentice has spent in training until the number of hours adds up to four years of on-the-job training. Once the individual has completed a full four years of verified experience, they can sit for the Journeyman Plumber’s exam.

Journeyman Plumber’s Exam

The Journeyman Plumber’s exam is given around Minnesota in various places and offered on multiple dates throughout the year. The apprentice needs to know the entire plumbing codebook, an 8 ½ x 11” three-ring binder about two inches thick.

They also need to know several other things, including the Accessibility code. The plumbing code, designed to protect the public’s health, is complicated, and the Journeyman test is difficult, so it is not unusual for an apprentice not to pass it the first time they take it. Some people take the exam multiple times to pass it. The apprentice must wait thirty days before reapplying to retake the test. This gives the apprentice extra time to study and learn more through the coursework.

Licensing in Minnesota

In Minnesota, once the apprentice passes the Journeyman Plumber’s exam, they can work independently in a home or a business in most of the state. However, there are about eight places in the state where municipalities require local licensing and testing. These tend to be bigger cities in the state. For example, Minneapolis and St. Paul require additional licensing. Since St Paul Pipeworks service area is primarily in those two cities, their plumbers need to pass their Journeyman exam for the state of Minnesota and then sign up to take the city-level exams.

When they pass one of the city exams, Minneapolis and St. Paul have an agreement that the plumber can then pay a fee to the other city that allows them to get the comp card to work in the houses and businesses in both cities. The city-level exam also includes gas and gas exhaust codes, so a passing grade on the test also includes a gas license.

Master Plumber License

In a plumbing business, the owner or at least one employee must have a Master Plumber license. The Master Plumber test is a much more advanced exam. Master Plumber’s licenses are required at both the state level and the city level as well. All plumbers also have annual continuing education requirements: two hours a year for apprentices and eight hours a year for Journeymen and Master Plumbers, which must be completed to renew their licenses annually.

If you have any questions about becoming a plumber or are just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.


How long does it take to become a plumber in Minnesota?

It takes a minimum of four years of on-the-job training as a registered apprentice under a Master Plumber, followed by passing the Journeyman Plumber’s exam. Depending on how quickly you pass the exam and any additional city licensing requirements, it might take longer.

What is the Journeyman Plumber’s exam like?

The exam covers the entire Minnesota plumbing codebook, accessibility codes, and other relevant regulations. It’s notoriously challenging, and some people retake it to pass. Be prepared for in-depth knowledge and studying!

Do I need additional licenses if I work in Minneapolis or St. Paul?

Yes, both cities require their own licensing and testing on top of the state Journeyman license. These exams typically include gas and gas exhaust codes, granting you a gas license upon passing.

What are the continuing education requirements for plumbers?

Apprentices need 2 hours per year, while Journeymen and Master Plumbers require 8 hours annually. These courses keep your knowledge up-to-date and ensure license renewal.

How much does it cost to become a plumber?

Costs vary depending on the apprenticeship program, exam fees, and city licensing requirements. Expect to budget for tuition, books, tools, and potential exam retakes.

How does one become a plumber? Ask a Plumber..