How to Become a Plumber in Washington

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How to Become a Plumber in Washington

To work as a plumber in Washington, you need to adhere to a certain set of requirements.

For example, you will have to train and get licensed.

If you want to know more about the training process, read on for info below.

Plumber Job Description and Requirements

As a plumber, you will have to perform the next job duties:

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  • Reading or drafting blueprints
  • Installing the piping system
  • Maintaining the water system
  • Repairing the system whenever needed
  • Ensuring the safety standards
  • Meeting building regulations
  • Using the appropriate devices to measure or solder

In Washington, plumbers can get 3 licenses:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman Plumber
  • Specialty contractor

How to Become an Apprentice in Washington

In Washington, most of the plumbing classes are offered through vocational colleges.

Some of the theory classes you will attend are:

  • Drafting,
  • Mathematics,
  • Science,
  • Sprinkler installation,
  • Pipefitting
  • Reading blueprints

You will also have to attend a certain number of practice hours.

This will provide you with the required experience to get licensed.

You can choose to attend a program online or in person, based on your availability.

No matter what you choose, you will still have to attend the practice hours in person.

Apprentices in Washington need to register their apprenticeship but do not need to take an exam.

The vocational school you choose should be accredited by the state board in Washington.

You can also get trained in a university and pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

A plumbing training program will generally last around 4 years.

To get enrolled in a program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • 16 years old at the minimum
  • High-school diploma or equivalent
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate copy
  • Proof of being a citizen of the US
  • A processing fee
  • Pass a drug test
  • Understand written and spoken English
  • Have an electrical trainee card, but only if you use irrigation or pumps
  • 8 hours of extra annual education

You will also have to keep track of the hours you work under supervision.

This will help you in submitting the affidavits of experience which the state of Washington requires.

These affidavits will have to be different for each supervisor you have.

The apprenticeship certification will need to be renewed once a year.

You might also have to take some extra education hours.

How to Get a Journeyman License in Washington

In Washington, you need a journeyman license to perform plumbing work.

To have this license issued, you have to:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Show proof of apprenticeship through a training program certificate
  • Social security number
  • Proof of experience as a plumber
  • School transcripts
  • Take and pass an exam
  • 8,000 hours and 4 years of experience of work while supervised by a master plumber
    • 2 out of the total 4 years must be spent working with industrial installations
  • 16 hours of schooling
  • Exam application
  • $151 exam fee

The exam features the next topics:

  • Plumbing fundamentals and safety;
  • Materials used, and specifications;
  • Traps, interceptors, and backwater valves;
  • Plumbing fixtures, fixture fittings, and plumbing appliances;
  • Water supply systems;
  • Backflow preventions;
  • Gas appliances and piping;
  • Plumbing mathematics.

How to Get a Specialty Plumbing Contracting in Washington

Washington has several plumbing specialties you can get a license for.

Medical Gas

If you choose this specialty, you will be working with medical gas piping systems in doctor’s offices.

The requirements are:

  • 32 hours of schooling on medical gas piping systems in a course that is accredited by the L&I
  • Have a journeyman license
  • Copy of National Inspection Testing and Certification Corporation (NITC) or Medical Equipment and Training Certification (METC) card
  • Application for endorsement


This license will allow you to perform plumbing work in residential homes.

To get it, you need experience of 3 years and 6,000 hours.

Pump and Irrigation

As a pump and irrigation plumber, you will work with gear that stores and moves water.

The tasks are the same for the domestic well plumbers, except you can only work with pumps that don’t go over 100 gallons per minute.

The candidate needs 2 years and 4,000 hours of experience.

Domestic Well

To become a domestic well plumber, you’ll need:

  • 1 year and 2,000 hours of experience
  • The electrical license in Washington


As a backflow plumber, you will need a current Backflow Assembly Tester Certification (BAT).

This document is offered through the Washington State Department of Health.

A backflow plumber can repair water systems, however, they cannot install them.

Plumber Employment and Salary Information

In Washington, plumbers earn more once they have a license and experience.

You can also get a higher salary if you work in a big city.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Seattle $62,940
Spokane $55,491
Tacoma $61,042
Vancouver $59,608
Bellevue $62,940
Kent $60,919
Everett $61,593
Renton $62,879
Federal Way $61,042
Yakima $56,975

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA430$73,470$35.32$119,010$40,750
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA1,010$67,070$32.24$83,870$44,180
Kennewick-Richland, WA660$85,790$41.24$122,720$43,660
Longview, WA180$66,810$32.12$101,930$44,030
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA170$69,280$33.31$104,490$38,860
Olympia-Tumwater, WA400$77,670$37.34$129,350$37,760
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA5,880$86,230$41.46$135,560$46,320
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA840$67,960$32.67$103,060$36,920
Walla Walla, WA70$66,140$31.8$94,670$38,570
Wenatchee, WA170$63,540$30.55$101,750$37,440
Yakima, WA240$66,560$32$104,070$37,110
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, OCC Code 47-2152, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Additional Information

Washington offers reciprocity agreements with Idaho.

To get it, you have to:

  • Submit an application
  • Pay a $151.90 fee
  • Provide documents that showcase proof of training and experience

Schools Offering Plumbing Programs in Washington

School Name Address
Perry Technical Institute 2011 W. Washington Ave Yakima, WA 98903
Seattle Area Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry 595 Monster Rd. SW, Suite 100 Renton, WA 98057-2937
Construction Industry Training Council of Washington 1930 116th Ave. NE Bellevue, WA 98004
American Plumbing Institute 3219 South Lloyd Lane Spokane, WA 99223
Pellco CEU
Renton Technical College 3000 NE 4th St. Renton, WA 98056
Penn Foster Career School Seattle WA
UA Local 32 597 Monster Rd SW Renton, WA 98057
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