How to Become a Plumber in Florida


A regular plumber in Florida is called a journeyman plumber. If you are into metaphors you can read that as someone who is on their way to becoming an experienced one who is called a master plumber.

Basically, that’s a beginner plumber who is strictly relegated to the plumbing part of any job. That includes installing fixtures, pipes, clearing blockages and making sure that a structure complies with the building codes. A journeyman plumber is aware of new types of construction and the plumbing systems that go with it too.

But both journeyman plumbers and master plumbers need to have a license to work as one. The process of getting this license is different in each state and in the state of Florida, this is how you get it.

The Relationship between a Journeyman and a Master Plumber

Apart from doing the everyday jobs, journeyman plumbers are also required to understand the styles of new construction and develop plumbing systems that work for such a structure. They also need to know how to retrofit solutions for problems in existing structures. Sometimes, this includes knowing eco-friendly options.

One needs to be fairly qualified to get this done. This means it takes some studying and passing an exam to take the test. Most plumbers are trainees when they start out. They work with a master plumber to learn the tricks of the trade. The idea is that over time the master plumber does not need to do all the work themselves and can delegate to a journeyman plumber.

But those who want to stay in this industry and work as a licensed plumber have to do more than just gain experience under a master plumber. Having a license also improves employment opportunities and provides better pay.

In Florida, like every other state, there are a few requirements to be eligible for the test which one needs to pass to get a license. And that’s not even the end of the story. Here’s how it works.

There are two types of licenses in Florida—plumber’s license and contractor’s license. If you want a plumber’s license, you need to train and qualify for the test and then some to get approval to work in the state. To get a contractor’s license, you need to do all this but it also allows you to conduct your own business in Florida.

If you want to become a master plumber in Florida, you need to have proof of insurance. This is comforting for the people who are hiring the master plumber too because they know they are in good hands.

Requirements to Become a Plumber in Florida

If you just want to be a trainee, you don’t need a license. But if you are working on your own, then you need a license from the local authorities.

For a Journeyman Plumber

To get a journeyman plumber license, you need:

  • To be 18 years old or more
  • Pay the fee for the licensing exam
  • Pass the licensing exam
  • Finish an apprentice program
  • Get a letter called W-2s from a plumbing contractor
  • Have a minimum of four years of experience

For a Master Plumber

If you want to be a licensed master plumber in the state of Florida, you must:

  • Be 18 years old or more
  • Pay the fee for the licensing exam
  • Demonstrate in the exam that you have the ability to conduct the job
  • Have two years of experience as a journeyman plumber
  • Have a total of seven years of relevant experience

You may also have to pass another test on business principles. This depends on the county.

To Get a Contractor’s License

If you want to get a plumbing contractor’s license in Florida, you must:

  1. Meet the eligibility criteria
  2. Be 18 years old or more.
  3. Have at least one year of experience as a foreman.
  4. Have a total of at least four years of experience as a plumber.
  5. Pass a criminal background record check.
  6. Provide proof of financial stability through bank statements and tax documents along with a bond.
  7. Provide liability insurance in case there is property damage on the job (for up to $25,000). This must include a policy for bodily harm (for up to $100,000).
  8. Be able to provide insurance for workers’ compensation.
  1. If you are a certified plumbing contractor, you can conduct business anywhere in the state, but if you are a registered plumbing contractor, you can do business only in counties where they are registered.

The Process of the Test

You need to get an application form from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation for the licensing examination. Download the pack, which will have the application and the dates of the exam.

You need to send the application along with the documents and proofs. That will be in the pack you just downloaded. If you meet the criteria, your application will be accepted.

Following that you will need to register for the exam here.

The test is divided into two segments—the business and finance exam and the trade exam. You have 4.5 hours to finish each segment of the exam. This is typically done in the morning and afternoon of the same day. But it could also be conducted over two days. You need to score at least 70 percent to pass the exam.

You can schedule the exam anytime in the next four years after applying for it. And you can attempt the exam any number of times in these four years. For $20, you can even change the application if you want a different type of license in this time period.

The Costs

It will cost you $135 to register for the exam and $80 is the exam administration fee. For the business and finance part of the test, you will pay another $80.

Now, if you are going for initial certification, your fee will depend on whether it is an even year or an odd year. From May 1st to August 31st of an odd year, it is $249. From September 1st to April 30th of an even year, it is $149.

So, you will pay a total of $544 in an even year and $444 in an odd year.

Plumbing Programs to Know

Now, there are several schools in Florida that can help you get a plumbing license. Here are some schools with good training programs.

  • South Florida Institute of Technology
  • Pinellas Technical Education Center
  • D J Erwin Technical College
  • Miami-Dade College

The eligibility for these programs depends on the school. Some programs are two to four years long and include mathematics and building codes. Others are more practical and require you to carry your own tools.

Some schools also offer financial incentives if that’s an issue and some have online classes if that’s a concern. But in-person training is the best way to learn.

Job Opportunities

In 2016, almost 470,000 were registered in the US but now there are more entries into the industry and that number has obviously grown. Between 2021 and 2024, the industry is expected to grow by 24%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This increase in demands shows that there is a lot of competition but, revenue wise, no single company has more than 1 percent of the market share. Your earnings as a plumber depend on many factors like:

  • Education
  • Place of employment
  • Expertise level (trainee, journeyman or master plumber)
  • Experience level (number of years)
  • Type of work
  • Reputation of the employer

Trainees usually make about 30-50 percent less than a fully trained professional. A journeyman with a few years of experience can expect to make as much as their peers in the area. Master plumbers, of course, have the ability to make the most money.

The approximate earnings look something like this.

  • A top-level plumber makes $29.81 per hour and $62,010 per year.
  • A senior-level plumber makes $24.78 per hour and $51,540 per year.
  • A mid-level plumber makes $20.25 per hour and $42,130 per year.
  • A junior plumber makes $16.46 per hour and $34,240 per year.
  • A beginner makes $13.59 per hour and $28,270 per year.


Q: How Many Questions Will Be on the Test?

A: The business and financial management segment will have 120 questions that need to be done on a computer in one go. The trade part of the exam happens in two sessions.

The first one happens in the morning and will have 45 questions of equal weight along with five isometric drawings. Each of the drawings will be worth 10 points. The second session will happen in the afternoon and it will have 65 questions of equal weight.

Q: What to Bring to the Exam?

A: You will need two forms that confirm your signature. One should have your picture and be issued by the government. Driver’s license, passport, state or military ID card are all accepted.

You might have to show these to enter the exam room. Student or employment ID and credit cards will not be accepted. Also, bring your admission slip which you should’ve received within seven days of applying for the exam.

In Conclusion

You will get the results of the exam immediately. You should make sure all the personal information on the test result report is correct before you leave. In Florida, you are required to renew your license every two years and it will cost you $135 to do so. Good luck.

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