How to Become a Plumber in New Mexico


Working as a plumber in any given state can require you to look over and perform repairs, cleaning, maintenance, replacements, and new installations of various kinds of fixtures and pipes while also maintaining codes and overseeing projects.

To work as a plumber in New Mexico in the first place, however, you will need to be aware of certain criteria and requirements that you will have to fulfill beforehand. These can include submitting an application form, completing a background check, completing work experience, giving an exam, and several others.

Based on the level of license that you want to obtain to become a plumber, the criteria are likely to differ to a certain extent, although the overall process is bound to be the same.

This process will also familiarize you with your local codes and regulations so that you can begin your work as a plumber in New Mexico.

Through this guide, you can go through the steps in this process in further detail.

Required Qualifications to Be a Plumber in New Mexico

The state of New Mexico only offers a journeyman plumbing license and not a master plumbing license. Nevertheless, it is important for you to fulfill your apprenticeship requirements and registrations to move on to becoming a journeyman plumber.

Additionally, in case you want to work independently and/or start your own business in the industry, then you will also need to obtain a contractor’s license to become a mechanical plumber in the state. This will then allow you to employ plumbers under you and run projects while also working with other professionals in the trade.

Once you complete your apprenticeship and become a journeyman plumber, you will be able to seek employment under a mechanical plumber running their own plumbing business.

The process and documents involved in becoming a journeyman plumber in New Mexico are managed and regulated by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD), while the Construction Industries and Manufactured Housing Division oversees the licenses required for becoming a contractor.

To become a journeyman plumber, you will need to fulfill certain requirements and criteria that you can go through below.

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Provide identity documents
  • Submit to a background check.
  • Submit to a drug test.
  • Complete four years of training and 144 hours of courses/classes as an apprentice plumber.
  • Submit your application form.
  • Pay the relevant application and exam fees.
  • Give and pass the journeyman plumbing license exam.
  • Provide proof of insurance (if applicable).

If you want to apply for a plumbing contractor’s license, you will also need to take separate courses and complete training while also showing 8,000 hours of work experience.

You can go through some of these steps and requirements in further detail below.

Application Form

Once you manage to complete an apprenticeship, it is important for you to first fill out and submit an application form to PSI Exams so that you can get approved to take the journeyman plumbing exam in the first place.

Go through all the instructions as well as the details that you will need to provide so that you can get everything ready. Apart from your identity-related questions, you will also need to provide information regarding your work experience, employer details and a fee of $75.

You should then submit this form to the physical office of the licensing board either by delivering it yourself or by mailing it to them.

Background Check and Drug Test

A background check to obtain any kind of state license is required in New Mexico (just like other states in the country). This is important for the board and state to ascertain that you are fit to work in the field.

Make sure you provide all the relevant and honest information about your criminal history in the application form itself while also explaining the nature of your charges. If you happen to have such charges against you currently or in the past, you might be called upon for additional inquiries.

A drug test to ensure your sobriety is also another requirement in New Mexico irrespective of your criminal history.

Work Experience

Work experience is an essential part of the licensing process since it can allow you to learn more about the industry while also having practical knowledge in the field. This will make it easier for you to obtain your license and carry out your occupation once you obtain your license.

To become a journeyman plumber in New Mexico, you should have at least four years or 8,000 hours of training and experience as an apprentice. 144 hours of a specialized course or classes are also important.

The work experience required to become a contractor are different, although in many cases you will need both a journeyman license as well as a contractor’s license.

Written Exam

A written exam is an essential step in the process of becoming a journeyman plumber in New Mexico. It is only after your application gets approved that you can register for this written exam and appear for it.

After obtaining approval, you can go ahead and register for the exam at PSI Exams and select the favorable date. You can either appear for this exam online or at a physical test center.

There are several practical tasks involved in this exam apart from the written questions. The written exam has 70 questions while the practical exam has 50 questions, both of which require you to obtain a score of at least 75% to pass.

Relevant Documents

There are several documents that you will need to submit as part of your application process. These can include the following:

  • Your work experience details that are verified, signed and backed by your employer
  • Fee payment receipts
  • Examination scores (once you give and pass the exam)
  • Government-issued identification
  • Notaries and affirmations

All copies of these documents should be attached to your application form and submitted to the licensing board yourself or by mail.

Once you receive your license, it will be valid for three years and will then require renewal.

Good Plumbing Programs in New Mexico

Plumbing programs are essential for you to learn about the industry, equipping you with both theoretical and practical knowledge. This can include information about the local codes, laws, practices and regulations, among other things.

This plumbing program can also help you fulfill the requirements for becoming a plumber, so make sure you pick a good and established program.

Some options that you can consider include:

  • Central New Mexico Community College
  • Santa Fe Community College
  • New Mexico State University
  • Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Training Program

Salary Expectations in the State

On average, you can expect to earn between $20-$30 as an apprentice and journeyman plumber in the state of New Mexico. The average annual salary is around $52,000, although the amount you earn can fall within the range of $50,000 to $60,000.

Of course, how much you can expect to earn as a plumber in New Mexico will depend on a range of factors such as:

  • Your experience level
  • Your education level
  • Other certifications and qualifications

As your experience level increases, the amount you earn will also increase. As a business owner also holding a contractor’s license, you can expect to earn more than $60,000 annually.

Organizations to Know

Plumbing organizations in the state of New Mexico, as well as the country, can allow you to keep in touch with the plumbing codes, practices and resources so that you can access information and benefits.

Some of these include:

  • Mechanical Contractors Association of New Mexico
  • Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Association of New Mexico
  • Associated Builders and Contractors of New Mexico
  • U.A Local Union 412
  • International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • American Backflow Prevention Association
  • American Supply Association
  • American Society of Sanitary Engineering
  • American Society of Plumbing Engineers

Do I Need a License to Do Plumbing in New Mexico?

Yes, you require a journeyman plumbing license in New Mexico to work in this trade, without which you are not legally allowed to work as a plumber. You will also need an additional contractor’s license if you want to work independently or by starting your own business.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Plumber in New Mexico?

Becoming a plumber in New Mexico can take around four years since you will need to complete your apprenticeship, training, education as well as work experience requirements before you apply for a license.

A certified number of hours for work experience and training are important to fulfill.

Final Remarks

Through this guide, it is clear that you will need to complete your application, pay relevant fees, submit documents, give and pass an exam and then start working as a journeyman plumber in the state of New Mexico.

This will allow you to work under an experienced plumber, but you will need another contractor’s license if you want to work for yourself.

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