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How to get a plumbing license in New Jersey

If you have chosen to become a plumber in the state of New Jersey, you have chosen wisely; financially speaking. New Jersey plumbers are some of the highest-paid in the country!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a plumber in New Jersey is $69,000 a year. If you are a Master plumber, that number can reach well into $100,000 a year.

Perhaps this is because apprenticeships and journeymen are unlicensed, and these levels are meant to act as learning stages for a Master plumbing license. Want to learn more about what it takes to receive your plumbing license in New Jersey? Keep reading!

Types of plumbing licenses in New Jersey

As we just mentioned, you only need a license in New Jersey to become a Master plumber. Journeymen and apprentices are meant to learn and work under a Master plumber and are not licensed.

A Master plumber’s license is earned through the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and their State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers.

Getting a plumbing permit vs. plumbing license

The main difference between a plumbing license and a plumbing permit is that a plumbing permit is job-specific, whereas a plumbing license is required no matter the job. A plumbing permit protects both the plumber and the establishment they are servicing, ensuring the job is done properly and by the books. According to the New Jersey Council of Master Plumbers, a construction permit is required for jobs involving repairs to, demolition of, or reconstruction of a building.

You must first apply with the coding official, and then you may obtain permits. The permit must be filed by the property’s owner, agent, a licensed engineer, or the plumber completing the job. You must also submit an affidavit of the owner along with the permit application. Every city has its water and sewer department that can help steer you in the right direction for permits. For example, the City of Newark has a website with resources for contractors who wish to be involved in city projects.

How do I get a plumbing license in New Jersey?

There are 2 main avenues for obtaining a New Jersey plumbing license. You can start as an apprentice plumber or a journeyman for a year and then become a Master. Or, you can receive a degree in mechanical engineering or sanitary engineering, work as a journeyman plumber for a year, and then apply for your Master’s license. The decision is dependent on whether or not you want to attend college in the first place, and neither option is “better” than the other. One way or another, you will learn the necessary plumbing codes and tools needed for the job.

There are a few experience requirements you must complete to receive your journeyman plumber license, and they are as follows:

  • Two 2”x2” portrait photos taken within the past 6 months
  • Work and educational experience
  • Social Security Number

It may also help to have a certificate in public safety or time shadowing a local plumber.

To apply to become a licensed Master Plumber, you must:

  • Be 21 years of age or older
  • Receive prior approval from the State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers
  • Have 4 years experience as an apprentice, and one year as a journeyman, or a bachelor’s degree in engineering and one year of work experience under a Master plumber
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Pass the Trade, Business and Law, and Practical exams
  • Pay a $3,000 bond for licensure

If you decide to enroll in a plumbing apprenticeship program, you can do so through the U.S. Department of Labor. You can find a full list of current opportunities here on

Now, let’s talk about fees. The initial application fee for a journeyman plumber license is $50; for a Master plumber license, it is $100, and the application is available through the Division of Consumer Affairs. One important thing to note is that if you wish to reinstate your license, you will need to fill out an application every 2 years. With this application, you must include the certificate(s) of continuing education completion and a $3,000 surety bond.

What is a business license?

A business license is a permit issued by the government for conducting and operating a business and is one of the main markers of starting a business. With this license in place, you not only have legal protection, but you also reap several tax- and business-related benefits as well.

Licensing requirements for a New Jersey plumbing business

Independent plumbing contractors in New Jersey must apply for a license with the Division of Consumer Affairs as a Home Improvement Contractor. You must include the following with the application, which you can find here:

  • Contractor registration number and address(es)
  • Copy of certificate of commercial liability insurance
  • Description of work to be performed and materials being used/installed
  • Statement of Guarantee or Warranty for any products and materials used
  • Description of mortgage or security interest
  • The total cost of service
  • Signatures of all parties involved

The registration fee for a home improvement contractor in New Jersey is $110.

Should you decide to open your own plumbing business, you will need to take some additional steps for taxation and other purposes. You will also want to analyze the local market for plumbing businesses, carefully reviewing aspects such as pricing, demographics, and unique selling propositions (USPs).

The next step is a crucial one—you will want to purchase small business insurance. This may even be necessary for some businesses licenses, so check in with your local government to be sure. To protect your team, you will need a workers’ comp policy. You can get one from Huckleberry for as little as $63 a month!

Aside from workers’ comp, you may want a Business Owners’ Policy to keep your business in operation, your customers safe, and your property protected. This comprehensive small business insurance policy takes a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for insurance.

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