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How to get a plumbing license in New York

When you think of the state-of-the-art architecture in New York, the last thing you’re probably thinking of is the plumbing system, but New York has some of the oldest and most complex plumbing in the country. New York City alone has 6,600 miles of pipes and main. That’s about the distance from New York to Alaska and back again!

Maintaining this intricate system of pipes are the members of the plumbing trade, those highly skilled professionals who help stop disasters before they even have a chance to strike.

Not only is plumbing an essential career, but it can also be a pretty lucrative one. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers make about $56,000 a year, with a 5% predicted growth rate between 2020 and 2030.

Are you ready to join the plumbing trade? Want to learn more about how to get plumbing jobs? Check out this guide and get started on your New York plumbing career today!

What are the requirements to become a plumber in New York?

While plumbers in New York must all register with the Secretary of State, each municipality has its own plumbing license requirements and license board. Since close to half of New York State’s residents live in New York City, we’ll be talking mainly about requirements within the City. You can check with your local municipality to see what you’ll need to get your plumbing license.

To become an apprentice plumber, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age, be fluent in English, and have a high school diploma or GED. You’ll need at least 2 years of work experience under the direct supervision of a licensed master plumber before you can complete your plumbing apprenticeship.

Your apprenticeship program or training center may have additional requirements, so make sure to ask them for any additional information you may need before you apply for your journeyman plumber license. In New York City, you’ll need to complete a registered training program.

New York does not require a practical exam to apply for a journeyman license, so once your apprenticeship program is over, you can immediately submit your license application. You’ll need to submit the following to the NYC Department of Buildings:

  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Original Social Security card
  • Social Security History of Earnings
  • Apprenticeship or training program certificate approved by the Department of Labor
  • Affidavits from past or current employers willing to attest to your experience and moral character. In New York City, these affidavits must be sealed.
  • A Child Support Form that indicates if you pay child support and current on any child support payments you may have.

Once your local municipality approves your application form, congratulations! You’re now officially a journeyman plumber!

As a journeyman, you have more autonomy than an apprentice and can perform specific plumbing jobs independently. However, the majority of your work will still need to be under the direct supervision of a master plumber. If you want to start your own plumbing business, you’ll need to apply for a master plumber license.

How do I get a master plumber license in New York?

This will vary depending on the municipality you’re working in. In New York City, you’ll need to meet at least one of the following licensing requirements:

  • 7 years of experience under the direct supervision of a master plumber, at least 2 of which must be as a journeyman plumber
  • A bachelor’s degree in a relevant engineering field from a college or university registered with the New York State Department of Education. You’ll also need at least 5 years of experience within the last 7 years, two of which must be in New York City
  • Be a New York State licensed professional with at least 3 years of experience in the 5 years, at least 1 year of which must be in New York City

You’ll also need to pass a background check. A complete list of the necessary documentation is found at

How long does it take to become a plumber in New York?

To become a journeyman in NYC, you’ll need to work as an apprentice under a licensed master plumber for at least 2 years.

To become a master plumber, you’ll need at least 7 years of experience, two of which are as a journeyman.

There are just the most basic licensing requirements; there are many paths to becoming a plumber in New York, specifically in New York City. Make sure to check with your municipality to find their specific requirements.

How much does it cost to become a New York plumber?

The application fee for journeyman plumbers is $50.

For master plumbers, the prices are a bit steeper. You’ll need to pay a $200 application fee, as well as a $525 fee for a written exam and a $350 fee for a practical exam.

Do plumbers need a plumbing license in New York?

Yes, the State of New York does require you to have a plumber’s license before you can work as a plumber.

New York State itself does not have reciprocity agreements with other states. However, different municipalities may have reciprocity agreements with each other. You’ll need to check with your local licensing board (in New York City, the NYC Department of Buildings) to see what reciprocity looks like in your region.

What’s the difference between a New York plumbing license and a New York plumbing permit?

You’re required to have a plumbing license to work as a plumber in the State of New York. Receiving a plumbing license from your local municipality shows that you’ve completed the requisite training and that you can work safely in the area.

A plumbing permit is required before plumbing work can ensure that the work adheres to the International Plumbing Code and will not cause structural damage to the building or any surrounding areas.

How can I get a plumbing business license in the State of New York?

If you plan to start your own plumbing business in New York State, you’ll have to get a business license. Requirements may vary between municipalities, but you’ll need to at least have a master plumbing license.

In New York City, you’ll need to register with the County Clerk of your borough and pay a filing fee of $100 to $120.

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