Plumbing License Reciprocity By State 2021

October 27, 2021
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You’ve already completed the training, exams, and paperwork necessary to work as a plumber. But what happens to your license if you need to move your business to a new state? Every state’s contractor license requirements are different. Sometimes, there are even varying local level requirements for professional and vocational licensing. Will you need to start from scratch and take your licensing exams again to work in a new state? Or will your current license still count? 

 

Do plumbing licenses transfer to other states? 

 

Not all plumbing licenses transfer to other states, but some states' requirements are similar enough to support reciprocity agreements. This makes it far easier for plumbing contractors to transfer their license across state lines and start bidding jobs. Licensed contractors moving to those states will only need to fill out a form to get their license. So, instead of time spent studying and taking a new exam, they can focus on their move and jump right into working.


Even if the state where you’re moving doesn’t have an official reciprocal license agreement, it’s still a good idea to contact the plumbing examiners board. Often, you may still be eligible to waive specific fees and exams. For example, you may not be able to skip the business law exam, but you might be able to transfer your master plumber license because the board has determined your former license and skill level reflects the same standards that state holds. 


What is plumbing license reciprocity?

 

License reciprocity allows plumbers to get a license in another state’s licensing board through an expedited process. This is made possible by various states coming to a license reciprocal agreement, essentially stating that they will honor the requirements that plumbing contractors already went through to become a licensed plumber in their home state. This can exempt them from specific requirements, like exams. This saves plumbing contractors a substantial amount of time, money, and headaches. 


It’s a nice shortcut if you’re moving to another state or plan to expand your consumer and business services. Though the specifics in the plumbing license reciprocity process vary by state and the level of license (ie. master plumbers vs. journeyman plumber), you’re generally required to fill out some paperwork and prove you’ve been working as a reliable and licensed plumber for some time already. As long as you’re up to date on the necessary codes and procedures, you’ll be licensed in your new state and can resume your plumbing work in no time!


How Much Does A Reciprocal Plumbing License Cost?

The cost of a reciprocal plumbing license generally costs anywhere from $50-$400 depending on your license type. For example, master plumbers and commercial plumbers will generally have to pay more for a master plumber’s license or a commercial plumbing license than a journeyman plumber may need to. Additionally, you may need to pay extra for specific certifications if you’re a specialty contractor, such as a specialty residential plumber or a specialty plumbing journeyman. 


What Other Requirements Are Needed To Become A Licensed Plumbing Contractor In Another State?

In addition to licensing, requirements for a plumbing license may include taking exams and obtaining insurance. For example, in some states the requirements for obtaining master plumber license reciprocity may differ from those that a journeyman plumber license requires. Some states also require a law and business exam in addition to a trade exam. While you may be exempted from one, there’s still a chance you’ll have to take others. 


Of course utilizing reciprocal licensing is no walk in the park, but it’s definitely far easier than retaking the entire plumbing licensing exam in your new state. Before your move, you’ll need to locate that state’s licensing department to contact. From there, you’ll need to find out who you’ll need to reach out to in that state’s department of labor, labor board, or labor commission to begin your reciprocity application.


Your first step in the plumber license reciprocity application process is largely going to consist of paperwork. In order to prove to your new state that you’re qualified to work there, you’ll have to prove that you’ve been qualified to work in your old or current state. This just means that you’ll have to provide some sort of license verification, which usually just consists of filling out a form.


Once your form has been processed by your state’s department of labor, labor board, or labor commission, there are a few different ways the reciprocity application can go. Some states still require plumbers seeking license reciprocity to retake exams. These exams could cover that specific state’s business laws, as well as plumbing license laws that are appropriate or relevant for that state. This is just so that the state has more verification that you’re well equipped for plumbing work.


While the process might seem less streamlined than simply retaking a state plumbing license exam, it really was created with the intent to cut down the amount of time it takes for plumbers to be able to obtain their vocational licensing and start their plumbing work in a new state. 


Which states don’t require a plumbing license?


States that don’t require a plumbing license include: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. However, you may be required to have a license on a local level. If this is the case, you’ll need to contact your state plumbing board to check whether it allows for licenses to be transfered. 


How Plumbing Contractors Can Apply For Reciprocity


Because of the varying licensing requirements for each state, research is going to be your best friend transferring your plumbing contractor license. It’s important to get a general idea of the reciprocity process in your new state, and even more important to check that they offer reciprocity to begin with. You’ll have to check what your new state will allow so you can start getting work as soon as possible.


Plumbing contractor licenses are either obtained through the state or through the local municipal government in the city or town you’re working in. Most states only require one or the other, so you won’t need to worry about making sure you have a state license in addition to a local license. This means you’ll have to make sure to contact the right people when looking into license reciprocity. The more you’re prepared when contacting the appropriate department, the faster the overall process will go.


There are a few states that only offer plumber license reciprocity between themselves and specific other states, while others do not offer license reciprocity at all. Though you might not have much choice depending on other outside factors that may be contributing to your move, it’s still important to consider whether you’ll be able to apply for plumber license reciprocity, or whether you’ll need to take the entire state licensing exam, potentially delaying your availability for work as a plumber.


If you need help getting started in your plumber license reciprocity research, we’ve compiled a general list of each state’s reciprocity requirements. While this article won’t cover every tiny detail of license reciprocity, it’s a great jumping off point, and will give you a solid idea of where you’ll need to begin and who you’ll need to contact in order to get started on the reciprocity application process!


Alabama

State Certification Authority: Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board

Reciprocity: None, but you can take an out of state exam.


Alaska

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

Reciprocity: No reciprocity


Arizona

State Certification Authority: Arizona Registrar of Contractors

Reciprocity: No reciprocity, waiver available here depending on other states’ licensing requirements.


Arkansas

State Certification Authority: Arkansas Dept. of Health, Plumbing and Natural Gas Division

Reciprocity: No reciprocity. Possible exam waiver if other license is in good standing


California

State Certification Authority: Contractors State License Board

Reciprocity: Arizona, possible exam waiver. Submit this form


Colorado

State Certification Authority: Colorado Dept. of Regulatory Agencies, State Plumbing Board

Reciprocity: None. Submit an Affidavit of Experience as well as a Verification of Licensure for exam waiver


Connecticut

State Certification Authority: Connecticut State Dept. of Consumer Protection

Reciprocity: None


Delaware

State Certification Authority: Delaware Division of Professional Regulation

Reciprocity: Connecticut, Maryland, Iowa. All others must evaluated by the Board


Florida

State Certification Authority: Florida Dept. of Business and Professional Regulation

Reciprocity: None


Georgia

State Certification Authority: Georgia Board of Construction Industry

Reciprocity: None


Hawaii

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing Division

Reciprocity: None


Idaho

State Certification Authority: Idaho Division of Building Safety

Reciprocity: Montana, Washington, Oregon, Must submit proof of 4 years of schooling, licensure, application and fee ($22.50)


Illinois

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Public Health

Reciprocity: No reciprocal license reciprocity though Chicago plumbers may apply to other districts. To apply to other districts, use this form


Indiana

State Certification Authority: Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Plumbing Commission

Reciprocity: None


Iowa

State Certification Authority: Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board

Reciprocity: Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska for exam waiver


Kansas

No state licensing required, check local licensing requirements


Kentucky

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Housing, Buildings and Construction

Reciprocity: None, experience requirement may be waved but Kentucky exam must still be taken


Louisiana

State Certification Authority: State Plumbing Board of Louisiana

Reciprocity: None but out-of-state license may be used to qualify for exam


Maine

State Certification Authority: Plumbers’ Examining Board

Reciprocity: None


Maryland

State Certification Authority: Maryland Dept. of Labor

Reciprocity: Submit form here


Massachusetts

State Certification Authority: Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters

Reciprocity: Unknown; you’ll need to call or write the board directly so they can compare your plumber license. You’ll still typically need to take an exam, however.


Michigan

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Reciprocity: None


Minnesota

State Certification Authority: Dept of Labor and Industry

Reciprocity: North Dakota, South Dakota, submit this form and $50 fee


Mississippi

State Certification Authority: Mississippi State Board of Contractors

Reciprocity: None for mechanical contractor/plumbing license 


Missouri

No state licensing required to work as a plumber, check local requirements


Montana

State Certification Authority: Montana Board of Plumbers

Reciprocity: Journeyman plumber license only with Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Application here and $400 fee


Nebraska

No state licensing required to work as a plumber, check local requirements


Nevada

State Certification Authority: Nevada Board of Plumbing Examiners Journeyman and Master Plumber

Reciprocity: None for plumbing


New Hampshire

State Certification Authority: New Hampshire Division of Fire Safety

Reciprocity: None


New Jersey

State Certification Authority: State Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers

Reciprocity: None


New Mexico

State Certification Authority: Regulation and Licensing Dept.

Reciprocity: None


New York

State Certification Authority: No state license requirements, info below for New York City licensing 

Reciprocity: None


North Carolina

State Certification Authority: State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors

Reciprocity: North Carolina does not have reciprocity with any other states.


North Dakota

State Certification Authority: North Dakota State Plumbing Board

Reciprocity: Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana


Ohio

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Commerce

Reciprocity: West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina


Oklahoma

State Certification Authority: Oklahoma Construction Industries Board

Reciprocity: None for plumbing, possible exam waiver


Oregon

State Certification Authority: Building Codes Division

Reciprocity: Idaho, Montana


Pennsylvania

No state licensing requirements, check local requirements here


Rhode Island

State Certification Authority: Division of Professional Regulation

Reciprocity: Possible with current license,  and affidavits


South Carolina

State Certification Authority: Contractor’s Licensing Board

Reciprocity: While South Carolina’s state license board doesn’t have a formal agreement with other states, plumbing license exam waivers are possible for an out of state licensed contractor when they submit this form.


South Dakota

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Labor and Regulation

Reciprocity: While South Dakota has no formal reciprocal agreements with other states, you may be eligible to skip exams and waive fees should the commission determine your license is equivalent to a South Dakota issued license required to work as a plumber. Contact the board here for more information.


Tennessee

State Certification Authority: Department of Commerce and Insurance

Reciprocity: Tennessee has a license reciprocity agreement with Ohio. 


Texas

State Certification Authority: Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners

Reciprocity: Texas does not have reciprocal licensing agreements with any other states.


Utah

State Certification Authority: Dept of Commerce, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

Reciprocity: Utah does not recognize licensing from other states.


Vermont

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety

Reciprocity: Contact the board. While Vermont doesn’t officially have reciprocity agreements with other states, they’re likely to recognize licenses issues in other states or municipalities so long as the issuer maintains standards equivalent to Vermont’s. 


Virginia

State Certification Authority: Dept of Professional and Occupational Regulation

Reciprocity: Virginia recognizes licenses from Washington.


Washington

State Certification Authority: State Dept. of Labor and Industries

Reciprocity: Washington has a reciprocity agreement with Idaho, which means you'll be exempt from the trade portion of the exam.


West Virginia

State Certification Authority:  West Virginia Division of Labor

Reciprocity: West Virginia has plumbing reciprocity agreements with Ohio and Tennessee. However, you should contact your local licensing board for more information. West Virginia may accept waive certain requirements.


Wisconsin

State Certification Authority: Dept. of Safety and Professional Services

Reciprocity: Wisconsin does not have reciprocity agreements with any other states. 


Wyoming

No state licensing requirements, check local requirements.


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