Everything You Need To Know About How To Become a Plumber in Maryland

By Mengning Heil

February 11, 2022

Plumbing Tips

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Are you considering a career as a plumber? In the following article, you’ll find everything you need to know about how to become a plumber in Maryland!

There are a number of fantastic reasons to pursue this field of work. First and foremost, plumbers are always in high demand. Second, experienced plumbers nowadays can make anywhere from $30-45 an hour and with hard work can earn up to $80,000- $140,000 a year. Third, the field is wide open. Anyone can pursue training as a plumber! Though some apprenticeships may encourage you to first get your GED or high school diploma, neither is technically required in Maryland. 

So what do you need to do to get started in Maryland and what should you expect?

How To Become a Plumber in Maryland: A 30 Second Overview

  1. How to get started: You will need to go through an approved apprenticeship program sponsored by a school, union, plumbing association, or company. If you are ultimately interested in residential plumbing, we recommend finding a company that might take you on as an apprentice. If industrial or commercial plumbing interests you more, we recommend joining the union.
  2. What to expect while learning the trade:
    • Bank on earning income while you learn! 
    • Expect on-the-job training from your apprenticeship. Some apprenticeship programs also include classroom training.
    • Plan on taking a test after your four-year apprenticeship. Yes, passing a test is required to be licensed.
      • The journeyman test will assess your knowledge of the International Plumbing Code.
      • Once you pass this test you are a licensed plumber! Licensed plumbers are able to work independently on projects however, only master plumbers are allowed to operate businesses and pull permits. If you would like to own your own plumbing company or if you are simply interested in continuing to advance along your career path, you will need to go for your master plumber’s license.
  3. What it takes to become a master plumber: After passing your journeyman test, you will need to work for two more years and then pass the master plumbing test.

But, what else do you need to know about becoming a plumbing apprentice? Why do the Maryland plumbing license requirements matter? Exactly how long does it take to become a journeyman plumber? How much does it cost to become a plumber in Maryland? Does Maryland plumbing license reciprocity exist? And, what are the qualities of a good plumber? Read on for more details.

Why Get Licensed? Maryland Plumbing License Requirements

Besides a greater potential for job opportunities and higher compensation, you may still be asking yourself, why should I bother to get licensed?

Having a journeyman license means you can oversee your own jobs and projects. A company is much more interested in licensed plumbers because they know you’ve put in the required training hours and you’ve passed the test that verifies your skills and knowledge.

What’s Illegal to do without a plumbing license in Maryland?

Technically, you can work on a project or repair job without a license as long as a master or journey plumber is with you, overseeing your work, and assuming the liability if anything goes wrong. Just know that the Maryland State Board of Plumbing spells out that you are violating the state law and running a risk of going to jail if you operate on your own – without a license and without the oversight of an insured master plumber. 

How to become a plumber in Maryland

The Details on Becoming a Plumbing Apprentice

Everyone who wants to be a plumber must first start as an apprentice with an approved sponsor. The minimum age is 16 years old and you can apply for your plumbing apprentice license on the Maryland Department of Labor website. An approved sponsor can be a master plumber, school, union, company, or plumbing association that provides on-the-job training and/or classroom training. In Maryland, the biggest sponsors are ABC: Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., and PHCC. You can also search for possible apprentice programs here.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Journeyman Plumber?

In order to graduate from an apprentice to a journey/gas-fitter, there is a list of requirements:

  1. The person must have held an apprentice license for at least four years; and
  2. The person must have completed 7,500 hours of training under the control and direction of a licensed master plumber; and
  3. The person must have completed 32 hours of training in backflow prevention device testing; and
  4. The person must pass a comprehensive written examination testing your knowledge of the International Plumbing Code. 

As stated previously, once you are a journey plumber you can repair and oversee projects on your own. However, you still are not able to operate your own company or apply for plumbing permits. 

How Long Does It Take To Become a Master Plumber?

In order to go from a journey to a master plumber license, the following is required:

  1. The person must have held a journey license for at least two years; and
  2. The person must have completed 3,750 hours of training under the direction and control of a licensed master plumber; and
  3. The person must pass a comprehensive written examination.

You will also need insurance through a company approved by a state insurance association.

How Much Does It Cost To Become a Plumber in Maryland?

Relative to the time investment required to become a journeyman and then a master plumber, the actual exam and license fees are minimal.

Here is a breakdown of the exam and license fees at each level:

  • Apprentice
    • License Fee: $15
  • Journeyman
    • License Fee: $35
    • Exam Fee: $65
  • Master
    • License Fee: $70
    • Exam Fee: $65
Maryland plumbing license reciprocity

What About Maryland Plumbing License Reciprocity?

In certain cities and counties in Maryland, you will have to apply for a plumbing license specific to that area. However, generally speaking, reciprocity will allow you to use your state license throughout Maryland.

In terms of working out of state while still residing in Maryland, Delaware is the only state with which Maryland has a reciprocity agreement, allowing you to use your master’s license. 

Qualities of a Good Plumber: What Heil Plumbing DMV Looks For

Heil Plumbing DMV looks for plumbers who demonstrate our core company values: integrity, workmanship, caring. We also look for proven multi-year residential service plumbing experience. 

Since Heil Plumbing is a small company, bringing on an apprentice is a significant undertaking. We are looking for individuals with experience in plumbing, or another similar industry, with quality references. We would also want someone who is great with people and an excellent problem-solver.

If you’re interested in working for a plumber in Baltimore and Howard County, consider employment opportunities at Heil Plumbing. Take a look at our current open positions here.

Heil Plumbing offers a range of reliable plumbing services, including sewer line repair in Jessup and drain cleaning in Jessup and the surrounding areas.

Heil Plumbing is a family-run company owned by a third-generation master plumber. We can help you with a full range of plumbing services, including toilet installation and repair, leak detection and pipe repair, faucet repair and installation, drain cleaning, and water heater repair in Baltimore County and the surrounding areas.