How to Become a Plumber in Ohio

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How to Become a Plumber in Ohio

If you want to enter an industry where you’ll always find work, you could consider becoming a plumber.

This article will guide you through the step you need to take in order to become a plumber in Ohio.

Plumber Job Description and Requirements

These professionals work with most piping systems, be it for water or gas.

In antiquity, they used to work with lead as the pipes contained this metal, but these days they’ll work with pipes made of a variety of materials.

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In the USA, most states require individuals to have a plumbing license before being allowed to complete the tasks of the occupation.

In Ohio, there is no such requirement at the state level for general or residential plumbers and each jurisdiction can set up the requirements they see fit.

Only commercial plumbers need a license from the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB).

This license allows them to work on commercial buildings and projects.

Plumbers are expected to:

  • Read or draft blueprints
  • Install piping systems
  • Maintain them
  • Repair them
  • Ensure the safety standards and building regulations
  • Using measuring, power, and soldering tools

You’ll generally pass through these stages:

  • Apprentice plumber
  • Journeyman/commercial plumber

Becoming an Apprentice Plumber

While almost no jurisdiction will require you to be an apprentice, it’s a good idea to do so.

This is how you’ll learn the ins and outs of the trade, and you’ll be better prepared for the future stages of your career.

You can choose to learn through a formal educational program at a vocational school or go to assist a plumber directly.

As the rule of thumb, for each option, both classroom education and hands-on practice are to be attended.

Do remember that the apprenticeship will be very useful if you’ll consider pursuing a commercial plumber license.

Becoming a Journeyman Plumber

All individuals who seek a plumbing license will have to meet the requirements below:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be allowed to work in the United States;
  • Pass both a federal and state background check;
  • Have a contractor liability coverage worth at least $500,000
  • Meet one of the following requirements:
    • Accumulate at least 5 years of plumbing experience right before filing your application;
    • Accumulate at least 3 years of plumbing experience as a registered engineer in Ohio in the plumbing industry, right before filing your licensing application;
    • Have an acceptable amount of other experience as decided by the OCILB;
  • Pay the application fee – $25

The application form needs to be filled in and then notarized.

If your application gets accepted, you’ll need to pass the licensing exam, and then you’ll be issued the license.

The exam has 2 parts, it is administered by PSI Exams, and the passing score is 70%.

The Business and Law Exam represents the first part of the license examination.

You have 2 hours to answer 50 questions, and you’ll also have to answer 5 pre-test questions.

The topics cover:

  • Business org;
  • Licensing;
  • Estimating and bidding;
  • Contract and project management;
  • Insurance and bonding;
  • OSHA recordkeeping and safety;
  • Personnel regulations;
  • Financial management;
  • Tax and lien laws.

The trade exam lasts for 4 hours, 100 questions as well as 1 pre-test question to solve.

The topics cover:

  • General knowledge and regulations;
  • Plumbing fixtures;
  • Water supply systems;
  • Drainage, waste, and sanitary vents;
  • Indirect wastes;
  • Roof drain piping;
  • Specialty plumbing;
  • Isometric analysis.

Only those who pass both tests will receive their license.


In this city, future plumbers must register with the Permit Center at the Contractor Registration, before they start their apprenticeship.

The requirements are:

  • Filling out the application form
  • Paying the registration fee of $130

In Cincinnati, you’ll need to renew your license as often as you renew your state license.


In Columbus, you’ll follow the same procedure as in Cincinnati.

The registration fee is $185 and it is done at the Department of Building and Zoning Services.


In this city, you need to pass the journeyman license exam or to have a license from a different Ohio city.

This license is on top of the one issued by the state.


To be a plumber in Toledo, you’ll have to follow a process similar to the one in Dayton.

The exam fee for those becoming journeymen is $100.

Plumber Salary Information

Plumbers are one of the few professionals that can earn a paycheck as soon as they start working as apprentices.

The salary is higher in the larger cities across the state.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary

Additional Information

The license expires every year, and to renew it you need to:

  • Pay the renewal fee – $60
  • Continue your education

Ohio has license reciprocity agreements for plumbers, with the following states:

  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

USA Plumbing License by State

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