Plumbers are professionals who help both residential and commercial building owners with their plumbing issues. Not only can they repair and replace parts of the system, but they can also install new systems. With a strong career outlook for the future and a high earnings potential, no one would blame you for wanting to learn more about this job. Find out how you can become a plumber in Texas and what steps you need to take.

Types of Plumbers

Before you look at becoming a Texas plumber, decide what type of work you want to do. The Lonestar State offers five types of licenses, all of which have different steps:

  • Tradesman Plumber
  • Journeyman
  • Master
  • Plumber Inspector
  • Apprentice Plumber

Apprentice Plumbers

Becoming an apprentice plumber helps you learn from one or more professionals who already work in the field. Texas requires that apprentices apply for a license before they start a program. You must be 16 or older and a legal American citizen. Texas accepts apprentices who are resident aliens, nationals, or meet other eligibility standards.

As an apprentice, you have the right to work under the guidance and support of a licensed plumber. You can only do manual labor such as digging trenches if a licensed pro isn’t available. Once you apply and register, any work you do will count towards the number needed to get your license. You must also pay a $15 application fee and a $15 renewal fee. The Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners (TSBPE) helps you apply and register online.

Tradesman Plumber

Tradesman plumbers can do more work than apprentices can. They can build, repair, service, and install plumbing systems and parts. The state also gives you the right to supervise apprentices as long as you work on buildings that can only house one or two families. If you want to work on larger job sites, Texas requires that a Master or Journeyman Plumber be there to oversee your work.

To become a tradesman plumber, you must be a citizen, a legal alien, or a national. You can apply if you are an apprentice nearing the end of your program or have a Master or Journeyman license from another state. The TSBPE accepts workers who have completed a minimum of 4,000 hours of plumbing work. You will also need to show that you’re in or completed a program approved by the United States Department of Labor or the TSBPE. TSPBE programs help you earn 24 credits or more. The board waives this requirement for those who have a license from a different state.

When you apply, you need to fill out the Tradesman Plumber Examination Application offered by the TSBPE. It asks for your current mailing address, full name, social security number, employer’s name and contact information, and details about your experience. Your employer must submit a separate form that includes the total number of hours you worked for them and what type of experience you gained.

The TSBPE will not consider your application until you also submit your fingerprints, which is part of the criminal background check. You need to fill out a form that lists any convictions you had in the past. Once you finish the form, you can submit your fingerprints to a local police station for processing. Tradesman plumbers pay a license fee of $35 and a $36 exam fee. Only after you pass the exam can you get your plumbing license.

If you want to work as a plumber in Texas and clean drains for your clients, you also need to register. Texas has a Drain Cleaner Restricted license for those who received a passing score on the license exam and currently work as an apprentice. You qualify for the full license once you finish your apprenticeship and spend 4,000 hours working in the drain cleaning field. Texas will not let anyone register until they receive a passing score on the Drain Cleaner Verification of Training Affidavit exam.

Journeyman Plumber

In addition to meeting the requirements for the last license, you also need to have a minimum of 8,000 hours of plumbing experience and pass a training course worth 48 credits approved by the TSBPE. The TSBPE will accept credits earned through other approved programs as well as experience hours earned at the apprentice or tradesman levels. It waives this requirement for applicants who already have a license.

There are three forms necessary to become a Texas journeyman plumber:

  • Exam Application
  • Employer Certification Form
  • Supplemental Criminal History Information Form

As with the requirements at the last level, the exam application asks you to share some personal information. You will file it at the same time you pay the $40 exam fee and submit the certification form from your employer. The employer must be familiar with your experience and state how long you worked for them and how many hours of employment you completed. The supplement form shows any criminal charges you had in the past and goes along with the background check done when you submit your fingerprints. Once you pass the exam, you’ll pay $40 for your license.

In Texas, journeyman plumbers have the right to work on different job sites. You can renovate, repair, service, and install any part of a system or the entire system as long as a master plumber is on-site. Journeyman plumbers can add other endorsements to their licenses to work on medical gas lines, water supply lines, and fire suppression systems.

Master Plumber

Becoming a master plumber in Texas also requires a license. The TSBPE offers licenses to journeyman plumbers from other states with four years of experience, master license holders from other states, and those who meet other requirements. Those requirements include submission of the Master Plumber Examination Application and Supplement Criminal History Information Form.

A $175 application fee is due when you file these forms. You will also submit your fingerprints and take the licensing exam. As long as you receive a passing score on the test, the TSBPE will issue a master plumber license in your name once you pay the $75 initial fee.

Master plumbers can supervise tradesmen and apprentices on job sites. Texas also allows them to work on buildings that house two or more groups/families.

Plumbing Inspector

If you want to help people install systems that are up to code and look for violations in older systems, you must have a plumbing inspector license in Texas. You can apply once you have your GED or high school diploma and complete 500 hours of plumbing training. The TSBPE also requires that you have another type of plumbing license in the state or one from another.

Print copies of the Plumbing Inspector Examination Application, Plumbing Employer Certification Form, and Supplemental Criminal History Information Form. Fill out each one and submit them to the TSBPE along with your $55 fee. You can also apply for other endorsements at the same time that allows you to work on fire suppression systems and gas pipes. There is a $55 license fee due when you pass the inspector exam.

Join the Plumbing Family in Texas

At On Time Experts, we only hire licensed plumbers to join our family. Getting your credentials can help you qualify for a good pay rate and lots of benefits like paid sick leave and vacation days. The steps that you need to take to become one of the plumbers working in the Lonestar State depend on how much experience you have but include paying an application fee and passing a licensing exam.

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