How to Become a Licensed Plumber

Are you interested in becoming a licensed plumber in the state of California? Do you know what the requirements are? If this is a career path you’re serious about pursuing, read on to learn more.

What is a Licensed Plumber?

Plumbers are professional trades-persons who deal with the installation and repair of pipes and fittings. In particular, pipes and fittings which carry water or gas, as well as for heating and sanitation systems. Plumbers carry out their work in homes, offices, and factories.

Licensing is a very important aspect of becoming a plumber. This is because once a plumber is licensed they are certified as having the requisite knowledge, expertise, and experience to carry out their work according to recognized plumbing standards.

Licensed plumbers are awarded a compliance certificate which can be shown to their employers. This certificate testifies that a plumber is meeting all relevant plumbing codes, standards, and regulations on the job. They also have insurance which is intended to help their customers in the event that the plumbing work was faulty.

Plumbers that are not licensed may be penalized for carrying out plumbing work without a license.

Interested in Becoming a Plumber? Here’s What You Have to Do

Because plumbing is a trade profession, individuals who wish to become plumbers must meet certain requirements.


Plumbing technology programs are designed to teach students about the fundamentals of plumbing. These courses are typically offered at community colleges or vocational schools and last for two years.

Some of the courses that are offered in these programs include:

  • Welding
  • Plumbing tools
  • Pipe system design
  • The safe use of equipment and tools


Alternatively, candidates may also enroll in a plumbing apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are offered by plumbing unions and business and can last anywhere from 2 to 3 years. These programs include both practical experience components, which are often paid training opportunities with licensed plumbers, and formal classes.

For candidates looking to join an apprenticeship, the following requirements apply:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Must have knowledge of how to use computers
  • Must pass a substance abuse test
  • Must know basic math

The California Plumbing License Exam

In order to sit for a plumbing exam, prospective plumbers must have met certain education and experience requirements.

The California Plumbing License Exam is needed in order to work as a licensed contractor in California. Any individual who intends to work as a plumbing contractor that is responsible for constructing, altering, or repairing a building or structure needs to be licensed. This is especially so if the total cost of the job is or exceeds $500.

The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) is the authority that regulates plumbing contractors.

How do you get a license?

In order to get a plumbing license, candidates must appear for two exams. The first exam relates to trade knowledge in the field of plumbing. The second one covers aspects of law and business related to plumbing. Some study material can be helpful like C36 License Study Guide for exam preparation.

How do you qualify for the exam?

To qualify for the plumbing license exam in California candidates must:

  • Have a minimum of 4 years worth of experience as either a foreman, supervisor, or journeyman
  • At least 1 year worth of practical experience
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Submit a full set of fingerprints
  • Undergo a thorough criminal background check

License Renewal

The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) requires licensed plumbers to renew their license every two years.

You will not be expected to satisfy any additional education requirements at the time of renewal.

Exam Format

The California Plumbing Exam has five major sections. These are:

  • Planning and Estimating
  • Rough-in Plumbing Systems
  • Finish Plumbing Installations
  • Service, Repair, and Remodel Plumbing Systems
  • Worker and Job Site Safety

After reviewing all of this information, you can decide whether or not you want to give the exam. The California Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) offers up to date information about the license application process as well as useful study materials that can help you pass the exam. If becoming a plumber is something you really want to do, you’ll need to go through the process of licensure in California.

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