How to Become a Master Plumber

A master plumber is one of the highest positions in the hierarchy of plumbing positions, allowing you to work on bigger projects with more responsibility.

If you want to become a master plumber, you will need to meet all the relevant qualifications and pass an exam in the state that you belong to or want to work in. You can go through all the details in this guide.

Complete Required Qualifications

First and foremost, in order to become a master plumber, you will need to ensure that you are eligible for it in the first place. For this, there are several qualifications that you must meet that you can look into below.

State-wise Requirements

Becoming a master plumber can require you to follow a set process with multiple steps. In general, these steps are usually quite similar, requiring you to have a high school education, be eligible to work in the United States and hold a license of the preceding position in the plumbing ladder, such as that of a journeyman plumber.

However, you should confirm the requirements for the state that you belong to, since there are bound to be certain differences based on the rules and regulations of the governing body of that state.

For instance, in Texas, you should have worked as a journeyman plumber for at least four years (or one year with a training program) to qualify for giving the master plumber exam while in Arkansas, you will need five years of experience as a journeyman plumber.

Make sure you look into the plumbing laws and requirements for your own state so that you know what to expect.

Education

You will need to complete a certain level of education when it comes to becoming a plumber, no matter which state you belong to. Usually, having a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is the minimum education that you will need.

Beyond that, however, you will also need to complete an apprenticeship or relevant training program in your state so that you can qualify for becoming a master plumber in the first place.

Thus, make sure you complete these education requirements by enrolling yourself in a course as described by your state. There should be various approved institutes and universities in your state that you can look into for such courses.

Several online institutes might also offer you several options to help you prepare for your master plumbing exam.

Licensing Requirements

There are several steps that you will have to cross on your journey of becoming a master plumber. You will not be able to instantly achieve your license as a master plumber unless you have evidence that you have completed the previous steps and hold the relevant licenses for those.

For instance, you will most likely need to complete an apprenticeship, after which you can go on to become a journeyman plumber, for which you will need to give a separate test.

It is only after you become a journeyman plumber in your state and work as one for a stipulated amount of time that you can become eligible to become a master plumber.

You should note that the steps involved can differ based on the state that you belong to. The names of the positions can also be different; if one state calls it a journeyman plumbing license, then it is possible that another state has a different name for it.

Overall Work Experience

You will also require work experience to a certain point to qualify for the examination that can then allow you to become a master plumber. The exact number of years that you will need to work for can differ from one state to another, so make sure you confirm these requirements before you chalk out a plan for yourself.

How much work experience you need can also depend on whether or not you have other qualifications. For example, if you already hold a journeyman license and have worked as a journeyman plumber for a year while also completing an apprenticeship or training program, then you can move on to becoming a master plumber.

However, if you do not have the training under your belt, you will need longer work experience as a journeyman plumber. Make sure you take the time to fulfill this requirement so that you can learn new skills and prepare yourself for the next step.

Examination

One of the most important steps in the process of becoming a master plumber in any state includes giving a formal written examination that will test your knowledge of the field. Only by passing this examination successfully will you become a master plumber and be able to hold a license.

In some states, this examination could only be in the written form, while some other states might have both written and practical exams.

Before giving the exam, however, make sure that you take the time to prepare for it. You will also need to apply for the exam by paying a given fee. Once you sit for the exam and pass it, you will then have to apply for the license by submitting your scores and paying another fee for obtaining the license.

Documents and Checks

At the time of applying for your examination and license, you will also need to submit several documents about your identity, your qualifications and your experience so far. This will allow the state committees or boards to ensure that you have completed the requirements and meet all the essential criteria.

You might also need to fill out a form stating your criminal history while also submitting to a background check, if required by your state.

Once this process is completed successfully and in a hassle-free manner, you will obtain your license and become a master plumber, allowing you to improve your job status and carry out relevant projects and roles.

Job Prospects and Career Paths

What kind of job and career can you expect to get once you manage to become a master plumber? Getting some kind of prior information about this can go a long way in helping you figure out what you can expect and whether it fits the bill for what you want to do.

Usually, a master plumber plays an important role in handling and managing big projects while also recruiting and training journeyman plumbers and apprentices.

Thus, whether you work in an established company or start your own plumbing services, you might be expected to:

  • Deal with large-scale installations and fixtures.
  • Oversee your projects to ensure everything goes smoothly.
  • Manage a team.
  • Procure the relevant tools and equipment.
  • Be aware of codes and regulations regarding different kinds of buildings.
  • Consult with other professionals involved in the project.

Salary Expectations

How much will you get paid once you become a master plumber? Will it be worth the effort?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers can expect a median salary of around $56,330 per year as of 2020, with expectations of growth as you progress in your career. In fact, the job outlook for this industry predicts a 5% growth rate from 2020 to 2030.

The precise amount is likely to differ based on the nature of your work and the state you belong to, although Glassdoor also estimates an average salary of $61,000 per year for master plumbers.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Master Plumber?

This depends on your experience and other qualifications. Overall, you can expect it to take around 2-5 years to become a master plumber after you have already become a journeyman plumber.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Master Plumber?

You will need to pay for training, exam preparation courses, exam application fees and license application fees to become a master plumber. This can cost you several hundred dollars.

Can I Become a Master Plumber Without a License?

No, you cannot become a master plumber without a license. You will need to follow the formal process described above to earn this qualification.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide has taken you through everything you need to know about becoming a master plumber and how you can go about that process on your own.

Check the requirements for your state, complete all the essential qualifications, give and pass the exam, obtain your license and become a master plumber so that you can advance your career and access opportunities.

Other Resources

If you want to find out further information about becoming a master plumber, the best resources to look into would be the local or state-specific plumbing committee or bureau. Through them, you can figure out the qualifications as well as the application process.

You can also find institutes and universities in your state that offer courses and training. Online institutes can also be a good idea for you to look into for more flexibility.

Some other organizations to be aware of include:

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