Ohio plumber license and insurance requirements

Ohio plumber license and insurance requirements

Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
Feb 2, 2023
8 min read

For many years, Ohio held a unique claim to fame in plumbing history. According to a 1917 article by journalist H. L. Mencken, the first bathtub in the U.S. was installed by Cincinnati resident Adam Thompson in 1842. That same bathtub would inspire President Fillmore to have one installed in the White House.

Unfortunately, the whole story turned out to be a hoax — Mencken made it all up, though he didn’t admit it until 1926.1

Despite the false connection to plumbing history, Ohio remains a great place for professionals in the industry. In fact, individual plumbers don’t need to have a license in this state. That allows plumbers to get to work as soon as they set foot in the state and eliminates the costs and inconveniences associated with maintaining a professional license.

However, you will need a license if you plan on being a plumbing contractor. In this guide, we’ll deliver helpful details about how to obtain an Ohio contractor license, including information on the following topics:

Do you need a license to be a plumber?

Ohio doesn’t require individual plumbers to have licenses. However, if you plan to work as a plumbing contractor, you’ll need a license issued by the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board.2

How to get a plumber license in Ohio

Follow these steps to get your plumbing contractor license:

Submit your application

You must submit a notarized Ohio plumber license application for contractors. You will need to include your contracting company name on this application. Attach W-2s from the past five years and include a check for the $25 application fee.

Get a background check

Upon approval of your application, the Board will notify you by mail. Then, you must obtain a BCI and FBI background check and submit it to the Board.

Take the exam

After the Board approves your background check, you'll receive information on scheduling your licensure exam. PSI conducts all exams using computer-based testing at a number of locations throughout the state. The open-book exam consists of two parts:

  • Plumbing contractor exam: 4 hours
  • Contractor business and law exam: 2 hours

The cost to take both parts of the exam is $138. You must score 70% or better on each part of the exam to pass.3

You will receive your results immediately after completing your exam. You must submit a copy of your exam results, a $25 check and a certificate of liability insurance coverage to the Board to receive your license. 

Ohio plumber license requirements

To become a licensed plumbing contractor in Ohio, you must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or legal alien. In addition, you’ll need to meet specific requirements in several key categories:

Work experience

You must fulfill one of the two following work experience requirement options:

  • You must have at least five years of experience as a plumber. With your application, you must include at least one permit for each of the last five years and the license number of the contractor you worked under.
  • You must be currently registered as an engineer in Ohio and have at least three years of business experience in the construction industry as a plumber. 

Criminal history

You must not have any convictions that would disqualify you from holding a plumbing contractor license. The state of Ohio considers certain crimes of moral turpitude to be disqualifying offenses.4 

If you’re unsure whether your criminal history prohibits you from applying, contact the Board for more information.

Liability coverage

You must carry a minimum of $500,000 in plumbing contractor liability coverage. See more details below.

Requirements for plumber license renewals

You may renew your plumbing contractor license in one-year or three-year increments. Different fees and continuing education requirements apply for each renewal option:

  • One-year renewal: 8 hours of continuing education, $60 fee
  • Three-year renewal: 24 hours of continuing education, $180 fee

Ohio plumber license reciprocity

The Board allows plumbing contractors from the following states to apply for a reciprocal license in Ohio:

  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

To get your license via reciprocity, you must submit a state-specific reciprocity application available for download on the Board’s website.

Bond requirements for plumber licenses

Many cities and counties in Ohio require that all plumber contractors be registered and bonded. For example, in Hamilton County, plumbing contractors must register with the Hamilton County Public Health department and submit proof of a $10,000 bond.5 

Check with your local government to find out if there are any bond requirements for plumbing contractors in the area where you plan to work.

What kind of insurance does a plumber need?

Ohio business insurance can help you protect your work as a licensed plumbing contractor. The following are some of the types of insurance available for plumbing professionals.

General Liability insurance

You must show proof of general liability insurance to get your plumbing contractor license. This insurance can help cover the costs of work-related accidents to third-parties, property damage and more.

Workers’ Compensation insurance

In Ohio, all employers must either be self-insured or have workers’ compensation insurance.6 If you or one of your employees gets injured at work, this insurance can help provide wage protection and other benefits.

Tools and Equipment insurance

Tools and equipment insurance can help provide repair and replacement coverage for damaged or stolen gear that you need to do your job.

Commercial Auto insurance

If you drive for work, commercial auto insurance can help cover costs related to accidents, such as property damage and medical expenses. 

Commercial Property insurance

In the event of damage or vandalism, commercial property insurance in Ohio can help provide coverage for equipment, inventory and owned or rented property.

What is the certificate of insurance requirement in Ohio for plumbers?

You must show proof of contractor liability insurance with at least $500,000 in coverage by submitting a certificate of liability insurance to the Board. This insurance must be assigned to the same contracting company listed on your license application.

How NEXT Insurance supports Ohio plumbers

NEXT helps you get the right plumber insurance to satisfy Ohio’s licensing requirements and protect your business.

With our online services, you can apply for coverage and get a certificate of insurance in just minutes. Access our site from any computer or mobile device to share additional COIs at no extra cost or manage your account.

We’re 100% focused on small businesses, which is why NEXT is the perfect choice for your plumbing contractor insurance. We’ve helped thousands of contractors like you get customized insurance packages at affordable monthly rates.

Get an instant quote online today.

Do you have projects in a U.S. state besides Ohio? Learn what states require plumber licenses in our summary of plumber license requirements.


1 University of Cincinnati Libraries

2 Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board

3 PSI Candidate Information Bulletin

4 Disqualifying Offenses for Application for Licensure, Certification or Registration

5 Hamilton County Public Health

6 Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation

Ohio plumber license and insurance requirements


Ashley Henshaw
About the author

Ashley Henshaw was a contributing writer at NEXT. She specializes in small business topics, covering everything from insurance and branding to web hosting and cryptocurrency.

Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, AOL City's Best, Citysearch, USA Today, The San Francisco Chronicle and Livestrong.

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