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Michigan plumber license and insurance requirements

Michigan plumber license and insurance requirements

By Ashley Henshaw
Dec 14, 2021
7 min read

It’s been over two centuries since indoor plumbing first became available in the U.S.1 At that time, indoor plumbing was rare and largely available only to the very wealthy. Today, plumbers are essential across the country as property owners require expert help for everything from leaky faucets to complete pipe system installations.

In Michigan, plumbers earn an average annual salary of $63,700 — a significant jump from the nationwide average of $56,330.2

If you’re thinking about working as a plumber in Michigan, you’ll need to get your license first. To help make the process easier, we’ve put together this helpful guide to how to get a plumber license in Michigan. Read on to learn about the following topics:

Do you need a license to be a plumber?

In Michigan, you must have a license issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).3 The available license classifications include journey plumber and master plumber.

Before pursuing your license, you’ll need to have experience as a plumbing apprentice. You must submit a registration form and a $15 registration fee to LARA within 30 days of employment as an apprentice.

How to get a plumber license in Michigan

The same instructions apply for how to get a journey plumber license and how to get a master plumber license. You must submit a Michigan plumber license application by mail or online. 

Include all requested documentation with your application, as well as the appropriate license fee:

  • Journey plumber license fee: $40
  • Master plumber license fee: $300

Michigan plumber license exam

Upon approval of your application, you’ll receive instructions on how to schedule your exam from PSI, the third-party testing agency used by the state of Michigan. You must pay the required $100 examination fee when scheduling your exam.

Plumber license exams are conducted via computer at testing centers in the following Michigan cities: Dearborn, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Holt, Marquette and Southfield. Applicants can choose the location and date of the exam according to their preferences. 

The open-book exam takes 180 minutes to complete and covers the following topics:

  • Plumbing theory
  • Plumber practice
  • Michigan plumbing code, rules and regulations

You must achieve a score of 70% or higher on your exam in order to pass. PSI will provide your score immediately after you complete the test.

Michigan plumber license requirements

Plumber license applicants must be at least 18 years of age. In addition, you must meet the following work experience requirements when you apply for a Michigan plumber license.

Journey plumber experience requirements 

You must have at least 6,000 hours of experience as an apprentice plumber gained over a period of three years while under the supervision of a master plumber.

Master plumber experience requirements 

You must hold a journey plumber license and have at least 4,000 hours of experience working as a journey plumber earned over a period of at least two years immediately prior to applying for your master license.

All applicants must submit notarized letters from current and former employers to document their work experience.

Requirements for Michigan plumber license renewals

Michigan journey plumbers must renew their license every year by April 30. If you have a master plumber license, renewal is only required every three years by April 30. The plumbing division will send a notification approximately three months before your license is set to expire.4

To renew your license, you must submit a signed renewal form and pay the appropriate fee:

  • Journey plumber renewal fee: $40 every year
  • Master plumber renewal fee: $300 every three years

In order to maintain your journey or master plumber license, you must take an approved five-hour code update course within one year whenever a new edition of the Michigan Plumbing Code goes into effect. The plumbing division will provide you with a notification when you need to complete this requirement.

Michigan plumber license reciprocity

Michigan does not have reciprocity agreements with any other state. You must submit a completed application and pass the exam in order to obtain a Michigan plumber license.

What kind of business insurance does a plumber need in Michigan?

Depending on the nature of your work as a licensed plumber, you may need self-employed plumber insurance or small business insurance in Michigan. The following types of insurance are recommended for professionals in the plumbing industry.

General Liability insurance

General liability insurance ranks among the most common policies for plumbers. If a work-related accident or property damage occurs, it provides coverage for the resulting costs.

Tools and Equipment insurance

Damaged or stolen gear can lead to lost job opportunities. Tools and equipment insurance provides repair and replacement coverage so you can get back to work faster.

Commercial Property insurance

If theft or property damage occurs, commercial property insurance provides coverage for buildings you rent or own for work as well as your plumbing inventory and gear.

Other types of business insurance a plumber needs in Michigan

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Under Michigan’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act, most employers in the state must have workers’ compensation insurance.5 This insurance helps cover costs related to lost wages, medical care and more if you or one of your employees gets hurt on the job.

Commercial Auto insurance

Plumbers who drive to different job sites should have commercial auto insurance to ensure coverage for accident-related costs like repairs, rental reimbursement and medical expenses. 

How NEXT Insurance supports Michigan plumbers

At NEXT Insurance, we’re 100% dedicated to small businesses. We’ve helped thousands of plumbers and other contractors get the right insurance to protect their professional endeavors.

We make it easy to apply for plumber insurance online. It only takes a few minutes to get a quote, secure your coverage and obtain a certificate of insurance. You can access your account anywhere, anytime to adjust your coverage or share additional certificates of insurance with clients.

Protecting your plumbing business with the right insurance coverage is just as important as getting your plumbing license. Get an instant quote online at NEXT today.

Are you interested in working as a plumber in another U.S. state? Find out what states require plumber licenses in our summary of plumber license requirements.


1. The History of Plumbing Timeline

2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

3. Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

4. Michigan Plumbing Licensing Guide

5. Overview of Workers’ Compensation in Michigan

Michigan plumber license and insurance requirements


About the author
Ashley Henshaw is a contributing writer at NEXT Insurance and a writer and editor at BrainBoost Media. She specializes in small business topics, covering everything from insurance and branding to web hosting and cryptocurrency. Her work is focused on helping independent business owners and entrepreneurs access the tools they need to succeed.
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