If you want to work as a plumber in Delaware, whether as a contractor, journeyman, or master plumber for any organization, engaged in any kind of plumbing activities or plumbing installations, then you need to get a plumbing license.
In this article, we’ll discuss all the information you need to become a certified plumber in the state.
There are essentially 3 types of plumbing certifications/licenses in Delaware i.e., Apprentice, Journeyman and Master license. And for each of the licenses, you need specific training and certification, for which you must take an exam that tests your industry knowledge.
Plumbing licenses in the state are granted and managed by the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation.
If you want to become a licensed plumber in Delaware, you need to begin your career as an apprentice, which requires you to register for an apprenticeship with the Delaware board. You can become an apprentice by enrolling in a Delaware board-approved training program.
For an apprentice license, you must have around 144 hours of class and 8,000 hours or 4 years of training while being supervised by a licensed plumber. To become an apprentice, you must be:
- 18 years or older
- Have a GED or high school diploma
You can apply for a journeyman license in Delaware once you have the required experience as an apprentice. To get a journeyman license, you need:
- To complete an accredited apprenticeship program and provide a journeyman certificate
- Complete 2 years of classroom training
- Complete 2 years of job experience under the supervision of a journeyman
- Have Proof of 7 years experience as an apprentice or a journeyman certificate
- Apply for a license
- Take an exam
- Pay a fee of $141 journeyman plumber license
As a licensed master plumber, you can repair or install any type of water system and also install gas pipes. To become a master plumber in Delaware, you must:
- Complete the application for the master plumber license
- Verify the licenses you hold with the board
- If you don’t have a journeyman certificate, you must submit proof of having worked as a journeyman for 7 years or more under the supervision of a licensed master plumber
- Take the master plumber license exam
- Pay a fee of $141
You must complete and submit your application as a first step to get the plumber license. All applications must be submitted to the DELPROS, which is the online licensing portal for Delaware. You will find all the instructions for submitting the relevant forms needed to complete your license application on the portal.
You can either upload your forms directly to the application request attachment on the portal or you can mail your completed application to the office and also acknowledge the submission of your application in DELPROS.
- Journeyman Plumber License: The exam to get a journeyman license is an open book exam for 4 hours. You must get 70% of the answers correct to pass and get your journeyman license.
- Master Plumber License: The written exam to become a master plumber includes a Prometric test where you must answer 100 multiple-choice questions. The duration of the exam is 4 hours and you must score 70% or more to pass the exam.
Delaware does not prevent you from getting a plumber license if you have a criminal background. If you are a resident of the state and have a criminal background, Delaware will review your application carefully to determine your eligibility to become a licensed plumber in the state.
An important requirement to be employed as a plumber in Delaware is having insurance. If you are employed by a company, then your employer may provide insurance for you. However, if your employer does not provide insurance or if you have your own plumbing company, then you need minimum insurance of:
- General Liability Insurance: $100,000 (for each occurrence)
- Property Damage Insurance: $300,000 (for each occurrence)
Since becoming a licensed plumber in Delaware requires you to pass exams, it may be a good idea to find a good plumbing program that not only trains you to pass the plumber exam but also for the job. You can choose to complete the courses in a physical college or an online school according to your preference.
Here is a list of some good plumbing programs in the state that offer plumbing courses:
- Adult Education Division (New Castle County School District)
- Ashworth College
- University of Delaware
- Delaware Technical Community College
- Delaware Skills Center
There are apprenticeship programs that offer training programs including classroom instruction, as well as on-the-job training under the supervision of a master plumber.
Some other sources where you can find apprenticeship programs are using the career/placement centers in the plumbing trade school, online job platforms such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, Ziprecruiter, etc.
You can try cold calling at plumbing businesses in your local area to see if they have any positions for apprentices or you could connect with a recruitment coordinator or head hunter in Delaware.
Most often, plumber apprenticeships offer a stipend or some compensation for the on-the-job training. However, since apprenticeship is essentially training that you do on the job and since you don’t have a license, the salary of an apprenticeship is usually half of what you would earn if you were a licensed plumber in Delaware.
As a licensed plumber in Delaware, you can either start your own plumbing company or you can work for an employer. Typically, the yearly salary range for a licensed plumber in Delaware ranges between $45,000 to $76,000.
Usually, for part-time workers, the average salary is around 32,200, while for full-time plumbers it is around $39,520; however, it can vary from one city of the state to another.
If you want to earn a higher salary as a plumber in Delaware, then it is a good idea to be a union worker and by registering with a union, it is possible to earn up to 20% more.
If you want to stay updated with the latest rules and regulations in the plumbing industry, here is a list of some educational, advocacy, regulatory and professional trade associations where you can get professional advice or help.
- Water Quality Association
- American Supply Association
- United Association
- American Society of Plumbing Engineers
- International Code Council
- American Water Works Association
Delaware has a reciprocal arrangement with Iowa, Connecticut and Maryland and if you are a licensed plumber in any of these states then you aren’t required to submit any proof of work experience to work in Delaware.
However, if you are from any of the following states including Alabama, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Arkansas, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Georgia, West Virginia New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina or Ohio, you need to submit proof of work experience under a master plumber for a period of 7 years at least after you have obtained your license in any of these states.
If you are from any other state not listed above, then to work as a plumber in Delaware, you must be evaluated by the board of the state. You must also submit the law and regulations of the other jurisdiction for evaluation.
Joining a union makes you part of a union group, which has many advantages. Typically, it is estimated that plumbers who join a union can earn up to 20% higher salaries compared to non-union employees because the union negotiates more salaries for the plumbers. If you’re facing any issues with your employer, then your union can represent you.
Further, as a union employee, you are entitled to benefits such as sick pay, paid vacations, pension, holiday pay, etc. The officers of the union usually make decisions on your behalf and speak for you. You can also vote for initiatives as a member of the union.
To retain your plumber license and remain as a master plumber, you need to renew your license every 2 years in Delaware and the cost of renewal of the plumbing license in the state is $141.
The plumbing industry is growing in the US and is set to grow by around 15% between 2018 and 2028. However, to work as a plumber in many states, including Delaware, you must have a plumber license.
And, by following all the steps listed in our guide, once you have passed the exam and obtained your plumber license, you’re all set to work as a licensed plumber in Delaware and can see your career grow.