Embarking on a career as a licensed plumber in Georgia is a rewarding decision. The process, while detailed and requiring commitment, is straightforward and achievable with the right guidance. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the necessary information, resources, and steps to become a licensed plumber in the state of Georgia.

Education and Experience

The journey to becoming a licensed plumber begins with the right education and hands-on experience. Here’s a detailed look at what this entails:

  • Plumbing Program: Enroll in a plumbing program at a trade school or community college. These programs provide the foundational knowledge needed to understand the plumbing trade, including the principles of water systems, piping, and sanitation systems.
  • Apprenticeship: After completing a plumbing program, the next step is to gain practical experience through an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship allows you to work under the supervision of a licensed plumber, learning the trade hands-on. You need to have at least 3 years (or 6,000 hours) of practical experience in the plumbing trade to qualify for the Journeyman Plumber exam, and at least 5 years (or 10,000 hours) of practical experience to qualify for the Master Plumber exam.


Once you have gained the necessary experience, you will need to pass the relevant examination. The exams test your knowledge and skills in the plumbing trade to ensure you are competent to practice safely and effectively. Here’s what you need to know about the exams:

  • Journeyman Plumber Exam: This exam is for those who have completed at least 3 years (or 6,000 hours) of practical experience in the plumbing trade. The exam tests your knowledge and skills at the journeyman level.
  • Master Plumber Exam: This exam is for those who have completed at least 5 years (or 10,000 hours) of practical experience in the plumbing trade. The exam tests your knowledge and skills at the master level.

The Georgia State Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers provides a range of resources to help you prepare for the exam, including a list of industry-related professional organizations and a guide to the Continuing Education (CE) requirements.

Application for Licensure

After passing the exam, you can apply for licensure. This is a crucial step that officially recognizes you as a licensed plumber. Here’s a detailed look at the application process:

  • Application Form: Complete the application form, ensuring all information is accurate. The form requires personal information, details about your education and experience, and proof of passing the relevant exam.
  • Notarization: The application form must be signed and notarized. This is a legal process that verifies your identity and ensures the information provided is truthful.
  • Fees: Pay the required fee. The fee varies depending on the type of license you are applying for. Here are the fees:
    • Initial Application: $30
    • Renewal (Master Plumber): $75
    • Late Renewal (Master Plumber): $100
    • Renewal (Journeyman Plumber): $35
    • Late Renewal (Journeyman Plumber): $45
    • Reinstatement Journeyman (less than 3 years): $70 (no exam required)
    • Reinstatement Journeyman (more than 3 years): $70 plus re-exam
    • Reinstatement Master (less than 3 years): $150 (no exam required)
    • Reinstatement (more than 3 years): $150 plus re-exam
  • Submission: Submit the completed application form, along with all required documentation and fees. Applications can be filed online through the Professional Licensing Portal, or by mail to:
    Georgia Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers 237 Coliseum Drive Macon, Georgia 31217

After You Apply

Once you’ve submitted your application, it’s time to wait for it to be processed. Here’s what you can expect during this period:

  • Processing Time: Applications are generally processed within 20 business days of receipt, excluding weekends and holidays. If you receive a deficiency letter, your 20-day count restarts when the Board receives your correct and complete documentation.
  • Incomplete Applications: Incomplete applications may be withdrawn if noted deficiencies are not satisfied within 60 days of said notification. If your application is withdrawn, you will be required to restart the application process to be considered for licensure, to include submission of all required documents and fees.
  • Review: Completed applications will be initially reviewed by Board staff and may be reviewed by the Board at an upcoming Board Meeting. Applications must be complete and received at least 15 days prior to a Board Meeting to be added to that meeting’s agenda. Otherwise, the application will be reviewed at the next Board meeting.


Maintaining your license is just as important as obtaining it. In Georgia, licenses must be renewed by November 30 of even-numbered years. Late renewal is from December 1 to December 31. The renewal process is completed online.

Plumber License Reciprocity in Georgia

In the plumbing industry, license reciprocity refers to the agreement between states that allows a licensed plumber from one state to practice in another without needing to retake examination or go through the entire licensing process again. However, it’s important to note that not all states have reciprocity agreements, and those that do may not have agreements with all states.

In Georgia, the state does not have a reciprocity agreement with any other state for the Master Plumber and Journeyman Plumber licenses. This means that if you are licensed in another state and move to Georgia, you will need to go through the licensing process in Georgia, which includes passing the state examination.

License Bond Requirements in Georgia

In Georgia, before you can obtain a plumbing license, you are required to secure a license bond. 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 amount of the bond varies depending on the type of license:

  • For a Master Plumber license, the bond amount is $25,000.
  • For a Journeyman Plumber license, the bond amount is $25,000.

These bonds are usually only a couple hundred dollars and can be purchased online with minimal information. It is suggested to purchase a multi-year bond if possible. For the low cost of these bonds and the large consequences of letting it lapse, it is always best to purchase in three-year increments, if available in your state.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in Georgia

Insurance is a crucial part of running a successful plumbing business. It protects your business from potential lawsuits, damage, and financial liabilities. Here are some types of insurance that every plumbing business in Georgia needs:

  • General Liability Insurance: This policy covers claims of third-party bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury. It includes liability from ongoing operations and completed operations. For example, if a water leak is found after a project completed that arose from your work and caused significant water damage to the structure, completed operations liability would cover the damage your work caused to the customer’s building.
  • 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, as well as costs such as lost wages while the employee cannot work. In Georgia, workers compensation coverage is required by law and most commercial customers.
  • 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 (usually at-fault accidents). It can also cover the vehicle if it were damaged, whether it be a collision or some other cause.
  • Contractors Equipment Insurance: From small hand tools to trenching equipment, plumbers frequently have a significant amount of equipment they need to run their business. A contractors equipment policy covers the loss of or damage to the tools or equipment, whether the cause is an auto accident or theft from a jobsite.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: This policy covers claims of professional negligence, error, breach of contract, or failure to deliver a service on time. If you’re installing plumbing for a house remodel and make a mistake in the installation that causes the system to fail, the owner could sue you for the error. This policy would cover your legal and settlement costs associated with the lawsuit.

The cost of insurance for plumbers varies, depending on the type of work, the number of jobs, and company size. On the lower end, general liability and workers compensation policies start at $500 per year per policy, and go up from there. For both of these policies, the pricing is usually determined based on your business’s payroll amount. Understanding the intricacies of Georgia plumbing insurance cost can significantly help in managing your business expenses effectively.

Remember, insurance is not just a requirement but an investment in the protection of your business. It’s always a good idea to consult with an insurance professional to ensure you have the right coverage for your specific needs.

In conclusion, becoming a licensed plumber in Georgia involves a series of steps that include education, experience, examination, and application for licensure. This guide has provided you with the necessary resources and information to navigate this process. Good luck on your journey to becoming a licensed plumber in Georgia!