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Texas plumber license and insurance requirements
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Texas plumber license and insurance requirements

Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
Dec 12, 2021
10 min read

Looking for a job as a plumber? Consider heading to the Lone Star State. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas has the second-highest employment level for this profession nationwide with over 39,000 plumbers working. The areas around Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston in particular have high concentrations of professionals in the plumbing industry.1

If you want to work as a plumber in this state, however, you’ll need a license. The state has strict work experience requirements, and you must pass an exam to qualify.

Fortunately, this guide has all the details you need to figure out how to get a plumber license in Texas. Read on for more details on key topics related to this professional license, including:

Do you need a license to be a plumber?

All plumbers in Texas must have a license issued by the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners.2 There are four types of Texas plumber licenses available depending on the scope of work involved:

Tradesman plumber

A tradesman plumber “may construct, install, repair, service or renovate plumbing for one and two-family dwellings under the supervision of a responsible master plumber.” These plumbers may also directly supervise plumber apprentices on job sites for one and two-family dwellings. 

Journeyman plumber

Journeyman plumbers “may install, change, repair, service or renovate plumbing under the supervision of a responsible master plumber.” These plumbers may also directly supervise plumber apprentices on any jobsite and tradesman plumbers on job sites for structures other than one- and two-family dwellings. 

Master plumber

A master plumber “may install, change, repair, service or renovate plumbing under the supervision of a responsible master plumber.” These plumbers may also directly supervise plumber apprentices on any jobsite and tradesman plumbers on job sites for structures other than one and two-family dwellings. 

Plumbing inspector

Plumbing inspectors “may inspect plumbing work performed within the jurisdiction of any political subdivision with which the inspector is affiliated.” They can also complete customer service inspection certifications for public drinking water systems.

In addition to obtaining a license, plumbers may seek out an endorsement or designation in one or more of the following categories:

  • Medical gas piping installation
  • Multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler specialist
  • Water supply protection specialist
  • Responsible master plumber

Plumber apprentices must be registered, but they do not need to be licensed.

How to get a plumber license in Texas

Follow these steps to get your license:

Submit your application

To get your license, you must submit a Texas plumber license application to the Board along with the following supporting documents:

  • Proof of citizenship, permanent residence or authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Copy of a photo ID
  • Employer Certification Form(s)
  • Certificate of training program completion (if applicable)
  • Supplemental Criminal History Information Form (if applicable)
  • Verification letter of licensure in another state (if applicable)

You must also submit your application fee:

  • Tradesman plumber: $36
  • Journeyman plumber: $40
  • Master plumber: $175
  • Plumbing inspector: $55

Take the exam

Upon approval of your application, you may schedule your licensing exam. The exam consists of several parts, with variations depending on the license classification you’re applying for:

Tradesman and journeyman plumber license exams: 

  • Written multiple-choice questions
  • Hands-on shop work (measuring, cutting, assembly, etc.)
  • Design of a two-story drainage and vent system

Master plumber license exam:

  • Written multiple-choice questions
  • Pipe and vent sizing charts
  • Design of a three-story drainage and vent system

Plumbing inspector license exam:

  • Written multiple-choice questions
  • Pipe and vent sizing charts

Pay the license fee

After passing the exam, you must submit a license fee to the Board:

  • Tradesman plumber: $35
  • Journeyman plumber: $40
  • Master plumber: $75
  • Plumbing inspector: $55

Texas plumber license requirements

All licensed plumbers must have a high school diploma or equivalent. In addition, they must fulfill the work experience and training requirements for their license classification.

Tradesman plumber

You must be currently registered as a plumber’s apprentice or as a tradesman plumber limited in Texas, or as a journeyman or master plumber in another state. You must have at least 4,000 hours of experience. 

Unless you are a licensed journeyman or master plumber in another state, you must complete a 24-hour approved training course covering the following topics:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training (10 hours)
  • International Residential Code and/or Uniform Plumbing Code (8 hours)
  • Continuing Professional Education (6 hours)

Journeyman plumber

You must be currently registered as a plumber’s apprentice or as a tradesman plumber limited in Texas, or as a journeyman or master plumber in another state. You must have at least 8,000 hours of experience. 

Unless you are a licensed journeyman or master plumber in another state, you must complete a 48-hour approved training course covering the following topics:

  • Commercial plumbing codes (18 hours)
  • Continuing Professional Education (12 hours)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration Outreach Training (10 hours)
  • International Residential Code and/or Uniform Plumbing Code (8 hours)

Master plumber

You must fulfill one of the following work experience qualifications: 

  • You must currently be licensed as a journeyman plumber in Texas or another state and have at least four years of experience. 
  • Must be licensed for at least one year as a journeyman plumber in Texas or another state and have completed an approved training program. 
  • You must be a master plumber in another state and have held a journeyman license for at least four years. 
  • Be a master plumber in another state, have held a journeyman license for at least one year, and have completed an approved training program. 

Plumbing inspector

You must fulfill one of the following work experience qualifications: 

  • You must currently be licensed as a journeyman plumber, master plumber, professional engineer or architect in Texas or as a plumbing inspector in another state with equivalent licensing requirements.
  • Must have completed 500 hours of credit based on previous training and experience in the plumbing industry.

How long does it take to get your plumber license in Texas?

It takes about 30 days to process a Texas plumber license application. You will receive a letter seven to 10 days after your application’s approval. 

Due to high demand, the earliest that most applicants can schedule their exam is about six to eight weeks after the application approval date. You will receive your exam results via mail within 30 days.

Requirements for Texas plumber license renewals

When your Texas plumbing license is issued for the first time, the expiration date is set six to 18 months after the date you passed the exam. After that, all Texas plumber licenses renew annually. You must complete six hours of continuing education to qualify for renewal.

You must pay the appropriate fee to renew your license each year:

  • Tradesman plumber: $35
  • Journeyman plumber: $40
  • Master plumber: $75
  • Plumbing inspector: $55

Texas plumber license reciprocity

Texas does not have reciprocity agreements with other states. In most cases, however, the Board credits hours worked in another state toward plumber license work experience requirements.

What kind of insurance does a plumber need in Texas?

Getting the right plumber insurance is just as important for your professional prospects as getting a plumber license. Consider the following insurance policy recommendations for licensed plumbers in Texas.

General Liability insurance

To get coverage for common types of work-related accidents and property damage, you’ll need general liability insurance. If you have a responsible master plumber designation, you must submit proof of liability insurance to the Board.

Workers’ Compensation insurance

Unlike most other states, Texas does not require businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance. But it can be beneficial if you or an employee get injured on the job because it covers medical treatment and lost wages up to policy limits.

Tools and Equipment insurance

Tools and equipment insurance offers coverage to repair and replace your plumbing gear when damage or theft occurs.

Commercial Auto insurance

You should get commercial auto insurance if you drive to different job sites for work. This insurance helps cover costs related to accidents, such as medical expenses, car repairs and rental reimbursement. 

Commercial Property insurance

If property you own or rent is damaged or vandalized, commercial property insurance can help pay for related costs. This coverage also applies to equipment and inventory for your business.

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

Master plumbers who choose to add the responsible master plumber (RMP) designation to their license must have a minimum of $300,000 of commercial liability insurance coverage.3 Applicants for this designation must submit a certificate of insurance with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners listed as the certificate holder. 

How NEXT Insurance supports Texas plumbers

Whether you need self-employed plumber insurance or small business insurance in Texas, NEXT Insurance can help. We’ll make sure you have the right coverage to protect yourself professionally.

You can apply for coverage and get a certificate of insurance in just minutes using our online services. Once you’ve established your online account, you can also download and share additional COIs from any computer or mobile device for no extra charge. 

Because we only sell small business insurance, we know exactly what types of challenges professionals like you face. We’ve helped thousands of contractors get affordable insurance packages customized to serve their unique needs and protect them on the job.

Get an instant quote online today.

Planning to work in another U.S. state? Learn what states require plumber licenses in our plumber license requirements guide.

Sources

1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

2. Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners

3. Responsible Master Plumber


Ashley Henshaw
By Ashley Henshaw
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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