How to Become a Plumber in Wisconsin

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How to Become a Plumber in Wisconsin

Do you want to start a plumbing career in Wisconsin?

If so, you will need some good info on how training and licensing go.

Take a look at the article below in order to learn more about it.

Plumber Job Description and Requirements

In Wisconsin, a plumber has to complete various daily duties, which include:

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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 this state, there are 3 available certifications for plumbers:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman Plumber
  • Master plumber

All the plumbing licenses in this state are handled by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

How to Become an Apprentice in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, you can enroll in a training program to get the experience you need.

The theory classes available include:

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

Besides theory, you will also have to attend some practice hours.

If you are already employed, you can search for an online program instead of a physical one.

But, keep in mind you will still have to attend the practice hours in person.

The program you choose has to be approved by the board in Wisconsin.

You are also required to register your apprenticeship and renew it annually.

The training programs for plumbers is  8,000 hours and 5 years of experience of work while supervised by a master plumber, split as:

  • 7,428 hours of practice
  • 572 hours of theory

Another way in which you can get the required experience is to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

To join a program, you have to fulfill some requirements:

  • 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
  • Pass a drug test
  • Understand written and spoken English
  • Send in an Application for Plumbing Apprenticeship Registration
  • Pay a $15 fee

As an apprentice, you will have to work under the supervision of a master plumber.

You will also be paid for your work, about half of what licensed plumbers earn.

How to Get a Journeyman License in Wisconsin

The journeyman license allows you to do any plumbing work without supervision.

The requirements for this license are:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Show proof of apprenticeship through a training program certificate
  • Social security number
  • School transcripts
  • Take and pass an exam
  • Exam application and a fee of $20
  • $10 license application fee
  • Letter from the Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards documenting your experience

You will also need to take and pass an exam, that includes topics such as:

  • 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.

The exam is split into 2 different sections and is open book.

You have to get a 70% score in order to pass it.

How to Get a Master Plumber License in Wisconsin

If you get a master plumber license, you will be able to perform any type of plumbing work.

More so, you will also be able to run your own plumbing business.

In order to get this license, you have to submit an application and pass an exam.

The requirements include:

  • At least 18 years old
  • 1,000 hours of experience on a journeyman plumber position
    • Alternatively, you can show an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree
  • Meet the experience requirements
  • Send an Application for the master plumber license
  • Submit a $20 application fee
  • Submit a $30 exam fee

You will have to submit your application to the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Plumber Employment and Salary Information

In Wisconsin, the median salary for a plumber with some experience is $26.35 per hour.

However, you will be able to earn more if you have more experience.

You can earn more if you work and live in a metropolitan area as well.

Some plumbers choose to join a union, as this brings more job opportunities and work safety.

Some of the unions you can join in Wisconsin are Union Local 75 and UA Local 400 Plumbers and Steamfitters.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Milwaukee $56,970
Madison $56,403
Green Bay $55,221
Kenosha $56,550
Racine $56,550
Appleton $55,232
Waukesha $56,756
Eau Claire $53,670
Oshkosh $54,875
Janesville $56,174

Regional Salary in Wisconsin

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Appleton, WI690$73,300$35.24$102,220$44,800
Eau Claire, WI150$66,770$32.1$95,640$42,830
Fond du Lac, WI230$68,010$32.7$102,890$37,240
Green Bay, WI470$69,810$33.56$101,950$38,400
Janesville-Beloit, WI110$67,750$32.57$97,170$37,200
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN220$72,800$35$104,160$39,430
Madison, WI1,130$74,690$35.91$105,010$42,390
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI1,860$74,080$35.62$107,730$39,570
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI250$73,610$35.39$101,050$44,240
Racine, WI190$69,230$33.28$101,390$39,890
Sheboygan, WI110$63,050$30.31$93,400$38,140
Wausau, WI120$68,250$32.81$103,050$37,090
* 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

Wisconsin offers reciprocity agreements on a case-by-case basis.

So, if you are lucky, you could get a license without having to take an exam.

This mostly happens with states that have similar licensing laws to that of Wisconsin.

If you plan on working on dwellings or structures you will need the Dwelling Contractor certification.

Plumbing is a rewarding career for someone talented, so all you need to do is complete a training program.

Schools Offering Plumbing Programs in Wisconsin

School Name Address
Madison College 1701 Wright Street, Madison WI 53704
Nicolet College 5364 College Drive Rhinelander, WI 54501
Chippewa Valley Technical College 620 W. Clairemont Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701
Fox Valley Technical College 1825 N. Bluemound Drive Appleton, WI 54912-2277
Gateway Technical College 3520 - 30th Avenue Kenosha, WI 53144
Waukesha County Technical College 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072
Mid-State Technical College 401 N Main Street Adams, Wisconsin 53910
Northcentral Technical College 1000 W. Campus Dr., Wausau, WI 54401
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College 2740 West Mason St Green Bay, WI 54303
Western Technical College 400 7th Street North La Crosse, WI 54601
Northwood Technical College 1900 College Drive Rice Lake, WI 54868
Wisconsin Contractors Institute N16 W23217 Stone Ridge Drive Suite 290 Waukesha, WI 53188
Moraine Park Technical College 235 N. National Ave. Fond du Lac, WI
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