How to Become a Plumber in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Plumber in Pennsylvania

Lucrative jobs are important, and those who have one will never be without employment.

One such job is that of a plumber, and if you’re interested in a career in this field, we have the guide to get you started in Pennsylvania.

Plumber Job Description and Requirements

Plumbers are specialized in working with systems made of pipes.

The name of the trade comes from the Latin word for lead, and while they don’t work with this metal anymore, their job remains quite dangerous.

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They generally need to get trained and licensed, but each state can set different regulations.

In Pennsylvania, you need to be a licensed journeyman or master plumber to be allowed to perform plumbing work.

The type of license you possess dictates which type of work you can perform:

  • A journeyman can repair pipes, install fixtures, and modify pipes
  • A master plumber can install, construct, design, alter, and modify fixtures and pipes

Individuals who are interested in becoming plumbers, need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete an apprenticeship approved by the state
  • Be legally allowed to work in the USA
  • Be able to complete the tasks

Becoming an Apprentice Plumber

The apprenticeship period lasts for 2,000 hours on-the-job paid instruction as well as 224 hours of classroom instruction.

To enroll you’ll need to meet the requirements above, along with:

  • A driver’s license
  • Having a clean criminal record
  • Passing an entrance exam
  • Filling in an application form
  • Paying the application fee – $25
  • Having good knowledge of English and math

The requirements may vary from school to school and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

During the training period you’ll be learning about:

  • Installation of plumbing systems
  • Reading blueprints
  • Trade safety measures and regulations
  • Layout and design of plumbing systems
  • Measuring, cutting, soldering

Apprentices work under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

Future plumbers can also enroll in a vocational school.

No matter you choose to enroll in an apprenticeship on the job, or in a vocational school, you’ll need both the classroom education and the on-the-job training.

Becoming a Journeyman Plumber

To become a journeyman you’ll have to complete your apprenticeship.

Once this is completed, you’ll need to fill out an application, pay an application fee, show proof of completed training and identity.

You’ll generally have to pass an exam as well.

The International Code Council administers the journeyman exam.

You’ll have to pay a fee to take the test, but the fee varies between jurisdictions.

Becoming a Master Plumber

To become a master plumber you’ll need to complete the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Worked at least one year of work as a Journeyman
  • Pass the required exam

To take the exam you have to register for it 45 days in advance and pay the exam fee.

Just like for the journeyman exam, this fee also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Plumber Salary Information

Plumbers start getting paid as soon as they start their apprenticeship period.

When you start as an apprentice, your salary will be lower than that of a journeyman, for instance.

The average salaries for plumbers are higher in cities like Philadelphia, Upper Darby, Bensalem, and Abington.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Upper Darby$61,662

Additional Information

There are a few other details you need to know about this occupation.

For instance, plumbers need to renew their license.

However, each district will set up its own rules and fees related to how this process is done.

License Reciprocity Agreement

The state of Pennsylvania doesn’t have license reciprocity agreements with other states.

The various jurisdictions in the state may have such agreements with other jurisdictions in the state.


All plumbers need to have insurance either in case of an accident, property damage, or tool repairs.

The insurance you need also depends on the jurisdiction you’re in.

Joining a Union

All tradesmen have the option of joining a union in their jurisdiction or not.

In most cases, joining one is beneficial because you can:

  • Earn more
  • Have the work insurance covered
  • Having access to health and disability insurance
  • Have access to a retirement plan

There are a few downsides as well:

  • Having to pay a membership fee
  • Having to follow the decisions taken even if you don’t agree with them

USA Plumbing License by State

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