Plumbing is a professional skill that requires training and a license to practice. In the state of Mississippi, this license is issued by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC).
If you’re working on a residential project worth more than $50,000 or residential remodeling worth more than $10,000, you’d need a plumbing license. Any contract of commercial jobs worth over $50,000 requires a commercial license.
If you’re caught practicing plumbing beyond the limit of $10,000 or $50,000 without a license, MSBOC will be responsible for taking action against you.
Read on how to become a successful plumber in Mississippi.
Being a licensed professional trade, plumbing requires both education and experience. You need to show proof that you’ve worked as an apprentice under an experienced plumber. Then, you need to pass the plumbing trade exam. The license will be issued after you pass this exam.
But you will not be allowed to take the plumbing trade exam in the first place until you have furnished relevant documents for your eligibility.
These documents, attached with your license application include:
- Mississippi Income Tax I.D., or your Social Security Number.
- Certificate proving that at the time application you hold a general liability insurance policy.
- Certificate proving workers’ insurance if you’re planning to employ five or more workers under you.
- Three letters of recommendations—one from your bank, and two from your co-workers with who you have previously worked on any plumbing project.
- Proof of work experience with three relevant jobs in any of class of plumbing in which you’re applying for the license:
- New Residential Project
- Residential Remodeling
- Commercial Remodeling
- New Commercial Project
Overall, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age and have obtained a high school degree
- Have received proper training by
- Attending a community college or a trade school
- Attending an apprenticeship program through trade unions or companies
- Working under a journeyman or master plumber to get practical work experience
After you have organized all the relevant documents, you need to get them notarized. Once attested by the notary, you need to submit your license application form with the required fee.
If you’re applying for a single class of plumbing, a fee of $50 needs to be submitted. If you’re applying for more than one class of plumbing license, an additional $100 for each class needs to be submitted.
Your application form will take 10 days to be processed by the MSBOC. After your application has been processed, you can take the plumbing trade exam.
The licensure process needs you to have an immaculate criminal record. When filling out your application form, you need to answer correctly the questions relevant to this.
If you do have previous criminal charges, ensure you’re honest about them while filling out your application form.
It is possible that the MSBOC might do further checks. This may involve calling you for an interview to establish when in the past you’ve committed the crime, the nature of it, and that you’ve duly done what’s been asked by the state for your crime.
Based on these extensive background checks, the board will decide whether you’re fit for the job.
When you apply for the plumbing license at MSBOC, you need to show that you have had some kind of work experience in the past. This work experience could either be in the residential or in the commercial sector since these are the two types of plumbing licenses issued in Mississippi.
If you don’t have the required work experience, you can get enrolled in an apprenticeship program that will provide you with both education and training.
As an apprentice, you’d get to work under a licensed journeyman or master plumber and receive hands-on practical training. After all, you need to submit two letters of recommendation from them during the application process as proof of your work experience.
After your application has been processed, you need to take the plumbing trade exam. Topics covered in the plumbing trade exam include:
- Fixtures and equipments
- Water heaters
- Water supply
- Waste and vents
- Traps and Interceptors
- Joints and connections
- Isometric analysis
- Develop length
- Safety and general plumbing regulations
If you already hold a plumbing license of another state that is recognized by the MSBOC, then your requirement for passing the plumbing trade exam is waived. In that case, you need to take only the ‘Law and Business Management’ exam. But you have to pay a fee of $50 for your exam waiver.
For the ‘Law and Business Management’ exam, the topics covered are:
- Lien Law
- Tax Laws
- Labour Laws
- Estimating and Bidding
- Financial Management
- Project Management
- Risk Management
- Business Organization
- Environment and Safety
Only after passing the relevant exam(s), you’d be granted a license by the MSBOC. The validity of this license is only for a year after which you need to renew it.
It is crucial to keep your license updated. Working on an expired license is bad as working with no license at all.
The plumbing exam usually takes place at the Jackson Test Center. But you may take the test locally at your nearest centers like in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport in Lousiana; and Huntsville, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile in Alabama.
Aspiring plumbers may seek tutoring help from the following companies that offer paid services:
- American Contractors
- Mississippi Contractors Licensing Service
- Builders License Training Institute
- Contractors Institute
For example, the preparation material for the Commerical and Residential class of plumbing includes:
- OSHA or Code of Federal Regulations—29 CFR Part 1926 with the latest available amendments
- Administration, Scope, and Intent/Purpose
- Definitions and Symbols
- Plumbing Math
- General Regulations
- Fixtures, Faucets, and Fixture fittings
- Water Heaters
- Water Supply and Distribution
- Sanitary Drainage
- Indirect and Special Waste
- Traps, Interceptors, and Separators
- Storm Drainage
- Non-portable Water Systems
- Subsurface Landscape Irrigation Systems
- Appendix E
- Private Sewage Systems
- International Fuel Gas Code
- Hands-on Practical Application
- Master Plumber Isometrics
- Practice Tests
You need to produce certain prescribed documents to ultimately get the license. One addition to the list is the post-examination certificate that you need to produce to prove that you’ve successfully passed the exam.
Other documents are typically a valid identification issued by the government, clearance of criminal records, exam scores, and letters of recommendation from your previous co-workers or employers.
Besides experience in practical work, trading schools are also a good alternative to get the education and experience needed to apply for the plumbing license. Some popular plumbing schools in Mississippi are:
- Hinds Community College
- Meridian Community College
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
The average salary of a plumber in Mississippi is $50,000 but can go up to $57,000. This figure varies from one city to another. For example, in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Meridian, and Vicksburg have an average of $50,000 while in some other cities like Southaven the average can go as high as $53,000 and as low as $48,000 in Tupelo.
Like in any other profession, an experienced plumber will earn more than a beginner. So it’s up to you to make the most of your license whether you obtain that with education or work, or a combination of both.
Besides formal education and practical work experience, as a plumber, you need to be aware of some organizations that will help you with various aspects of your career. These aspects may range from how to look for a plumbing job to where to renew your license. It’s best to know these names for they’d be helpful in times of need:
- Department of Labor: They help with your apprenticeship.
- Building Trades Alliance: They educate you about apprenticeships.
- Mississippi Construction Education Foundation: As a non-profit organization, they help you with promoting your career.
- National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER): They help you with training programs in high schools and community colleges.
Besides these, joining a worker’s union can also give you additional benefits like a higher salary and health insurance.
You have to attempt 50 questions.
You have to score 70% or higher.
Yes, it’s an open book exam according to the 2012 International Plumbing Code.
A valid ID issued by the government (driver’s license, passport, etc.). Then a second ID with your name and signature.
The two types are unlimited residential license and unlimited commercial license.
Application for a residential plumber is $50, while for a commercial plumber it’s $400.
A plumbing job can be lucrative to those who enjoy hands-on practical work. You also need to be physically fit and mentally adjustable to work under different conditions.
Plumbing work gives more time for your home, though that may come at the cost of career stagnation.
However, the career outlook of plumbing is good and relatively higher than other careers on the market. An average master plumber can have a decent income to enjoy a stress-free work-life balance.