The plumbing industry is a crucial part of Colorado’s infrastructure. It ensures the safe delivery of water, gas, and waste services to homes and businesses. This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step of the process to become a licensed plumber in Colorado.

General Qualifications

Before applying for a plumbing license in Colorado, you must meet certain qualifications. These vary depending on the level of licensure you’re seeking:

  • Residential Plumber:
    • Responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing plumbing systems in residential buildings.
    • Must verify two years (3,400 hours) of practical experience.
  • Journeyman Plumber:
    • Skilled professional who can work independently on a variety of plumbing tasks.
    • Must have four years (6,800 hours) of practical experience.
  • Master Plumber:
    • Highly experienced professional who can manage large-scale plumbing projects and supervise other plumbers.
    • Must furnish evidence of having obtained five full-time years (8,500 hours) of practical experience.

One month of full-time experience is equivalent to 163 hours.

Obtaining a License Through Examination

Once you’ve met the experience requirements, the next step is to pass the state’s plumbing examination. This exam is administered in English only through a private testing agency. The examination is in a multiple-choice format and covers a wide range of topics. To pass the written portion of the examination, residential and journeyman examinees must score at least 70%, while master examinees must score at least 75%.

Obtaining a License Through Endorsement

If you’re already a licensed plumber in another state, you may be eligible for licensure by endorsement in Colorado. This process recognizes the qualifications and credentials you’ve already earned, allowing you to become licensed in Colorado without having to repeat the entire licensure process.

Apprentice Registration

If you’re just starting your career in the plumbing industry, you’ll likely begin as a plumbing apprentice. In Colorado, all plumbing apprentices must be registered until they’ve obtained a Colorado plumber’s license.

Steps to Get a Plumbing Contractor License in Colorado

To become a licensed plumbing contractor in Colorado, you must first have a master plumber’s license. Once you have this, you can apply for a contractor’s license. The application process involves providing proof of your master plumber’s license, submitting a completed application form, and paying the required fee. You’ll also need to provide proof of a $6,000 bond issued by a surety company authorized to do business in Colorado.

Application Process

Once you’ve met the qualifications and passed the examination (or qualified for licensure by endorsement), you can apply for your plumbing license. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies provides all Plumbing and Plumbing Contractor applications and forms online.

License Renewal

Maintaining your plumbing license in Colorado involves regular renewals. All Plumbing and Plumbing Contractor licenses expire on the last day of February of odd-numbered years.

Plumbing License Reciprocity in Colorado

In the plumbing industry, license reciprocity refers to the agreement between states that allows a licensed plumber in one state to practice in another without having to go through the entire licensing process again. However, not all states have reciprocity agreements, and the specifics can vary widely.

Colorado, for instance, does not have a broad reciprocity agreement with other states for plumbing licenses. This means that if you hold a plumbing license in another state and are planning to work in Colorado, you will need to apply for a Colorado plumbing license. However, Colorado does consider the experience and education gained in other states when you apply for a license.

License Bond Requirements in Colorado

In Colorado, plumbers are required to post a license bond before they can receive their license. A license bond is a type of surety bond that protects your clients. If you fail to fulfill your contractual obligations, your client can make a claim against your bond. The bond company will then compensate your client for any financial loss up to the full amount of the bond.

The Colorado State Plumbing Board requires a $12,000 bond for a master plumber and a $6,000 bond for a plumbing contractor. The bond must be issued by a surety company authorized to do business in Colorado.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in Colorado

Insurance is a critical aspect of running a successful plumbing business in Colorado. It protects your business from potential lawsuits, damage, and financial liabilities. Here are the types of insurance that plumbers typically need:

  • General Liability Insurance: This covers claims of third-party bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: This covers claims of professional negligence, error, breach of contract, or failure to deliver a service on time.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: Most plumbing businesses have some type of work truck or work van they use for transportation to each job site. A commercial auto policy protects your business from liabilities arising from your work vehicles.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Businesses that have employees are usually required to purchase workers compensation insurance. This policy pays for the medical bills of any employee who is injured on the job.
  • Tools and Equipment Insurance: This covers the cost to repair or replace equipment that is damaged or stolen.

Remember, the types and amounts of insurance you need can vary based on the size of your business, the type of work you do, and other factors. It’s always a good idea to consult with an insurance professional to ensure you have the right coverage for your specific needs. Understanding the intricacies of Colorado plumbing insurance cost is crucial to protect your business from unexpected expenses.

Contact Information

For further information, you can contact the State Plumbing Board:

  • State Plumbing Board
  • 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
  • Denver, CO 80202
  • Phone: 303-894-7800
  • Fax: 303-894-2310
  • Email:

Please note that this guide is intended to provide a general overview of the process and requirements for becoming a licensed plumber in Colorado. Always check with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies for the most current and comprehensive information.