What is the Process for Becoming a Master Plumber? Does This Vary by the State You Reside In?

While some people look down upon plumbers, we can agree that our homes and business premises would be chaotic without these men and women. Imagine a whole day without a working drainage system or running water. That would probably be the worst day of your life. Given the necessity of piping and drainage systems, the plumbing industry has developed greatly, becoming one of the most advanced fields. Like most industries, plumbing has different professions, and one of them entails becoming a master plumber.

Who Is a Master Plumber?

A master plumber is a technician who has attained the greatest professional stage in the industry. To advance to a master plumber, you first need to finalize on apprenticeship, upgrade to a licensed journeyman, and finally obtain a master plumber license. Master plumbers have the option of specializing in one area of plumbing. These areas are as aligned below;

  1. Pipefitters: A pipefitter is a plumber who maintains and installs pressurized pipes for water tanks, furnaces and boilers. They are also in charge of monitoring the pipes and ensuring they are in good condition throughout.
  2. Pipelayers: These are plumbers in charge of digging ditches and laying pipes in these ditches. The pipes could be of different purposes and nature.
  3. Steamfitters: A steamfitter deals with installing pipes and fixtures needed to transport liquids and gases under high pressure.
  4. Sprinkler fitters: This plumber is responsible for installing, maintaining, and monitoring fire sprinkler systems in residences and commercial centers.
  5. General plumbers: A general plumber is in charge of installing fixtures such as sinks, showers, bathtubs and dealing with clogs. These plumbers are mainly assigned to commercial and residential buildings needing such fixtures.

A master plumber mainly deals with installations, maintenance, and repair systems with a degree of competence that surpasses standard plumbers. They are in charge of both interior and exterior plumbing maintenance and repair. 

The Process of Becoming a Master Plumber

Becoming a master plumber is not as hard as it sounds, only that you have to go through a few steps. We have prepared a detailed summary of these steps to ease your understanding.

  1. Be a High School Graduate

The first phase toward becoming a master plumber is completing high school and obtaining a high school diploma or a GED. This is a requirement for entering an apprenticeship program.

  1. Enroll in the Apprenticeship Program

Since you need to acquire certain skills, applying for a plumbing apprenticeship program is necessary. During your apprenticeship, you will be under the supervision of experienced plumbers, particularly a master plumber. Through on-the-job training, you will learn numerous skills and gain knowledge. While every apprenticeship program is different, one constant factor is the training bit. Hence, before you apply for any program, ensure you have done extensive research. Find one that will give you the most benefits and payments. This will help avoid future regrets. Additionally, check if the government approves the program because most employer prefers to work with plumbers enrolled in registered programs. Such programs often meet the high standards requirements needed for the job.

Filling out registration forms, sitting for admissions exams, and interviewing are all part of the apprenticeship application process. The program can last anywhere from two to six years. You can enroll through a plumbers’ union or a licensed plumber to apply for an apprenticeship. Your responsibilities as a plumber trainee may include the following:

  • Fixing leaking fixtures, substituting pipe segments to prevent leaks, and clearing and unblocking drains
  • Introduction to plumbing tools, machinery, and components.
  • calculating the cost of repairing plumbing problems
  1. Acquire Skills Needed

Since plumbing is a technical job, master plumbers need certain skills to perform tasks as expected. Some of the skills required include:

  • Communication and listening skills – As a master plumber, you will often need to talk to your clients to understand their problems. Additionally, good communication with team members is important.
  • Coordination – Sometimes, master plumbers need to work together to solve certain problems. Having good coordination skills will help you perform well when working with others or working in confined spaces and need to use several tools.
  • Problem-solving – The main task involved with master plumbing is solving problems. Sometimes, you will be faced with challenges you have never dealt with. This is where your problem-solving skills will come in.
  • Interpreting blueprints – During fixtures installation, master plumbers often require blueprints of structures. This helps to perform tasks without interfering with other systems.
  • Mathematics – this helps master plumbers plan for fixtures and others related to plumbing.
  • Technical skills – You will need to familiarize yourself with several tools, equipment, and components, as the industry deals with plenty of machinery.
  1. Sit the Journeyman Plumbing Licensure Exam

After finishing the entire program and gaining skills and experience while working without constant monitoring, you are eligible to take the state licensing exam to advance to a journeyman plumber. It should be noted that the qualifications vary by state; hence crucial to confirm requirements set by the state you are in. 

The National Inspection Testing and Certification Corporation will issue your journeyman plumbing license (NITC). Vary from state to state, you may be required to renew your license every year or every 3-5 years. You can then begin your work as a journeyman plumber. 

  1. Take the Master Plumbing Licensing Examination

When you have worked as a journeyman plumber for about four years, you will be ready to upgrade to becoming a master plumber. Before sitting the master plumber exam, you first have to meet specific requirements. These may include experience as a journeyman plumber and declaration of lawful presence. The exam will basically test your skill and knowledge on a vast area, but all concerned with plumbing. Basically, it is everything you have learned throughout the apprenticeship and your journeyman-ship.


As demonstrated, becoming a master plumber is quite a process, but one worthwhile. As long as you have the required skills and knowledge, your journey to becoming a certified master plumber will be smooth. Remember that the requirements to sit for the tests and examinations might differ, depending on your state.

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