Understanding the Basics

Minnesota’s plumbing industry is governed by stringent regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents. Before embarking on a plumbing career:

  • Familiarize yourself with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, the primary regulatory body overseeing the plumbing profession.
  • Recognize the importance of adhering to state safety and professional standards. These standards are in place to protect both the plumber and the consumer.

Practical Work Experience

Hands-on experience is invaluable in the plumbing industry. In Minnesota:

  • Duration: One year of practical plumbing experience equates to at least 1,750 hours. However, only 1,750 hours can be credited within a calendar year.
  • Out-of-State Experience: Experience from outside Minnesota can be credited, but it’s capped at two years unless you first obtain a plumber’s license in the other state.
  • Verification: It’s crucial to have your plumbing experience verified. This verification must be certified by the licensed master plumber responsible for overseeing your work.

Journeyworker Plumber Requirements

Becoming a journeyworker plumber in Minnesota is a significant milestone. To qualify:

  • Complete at least four years of practical plumbing experience as a DLI-registered unlicensed plumber.
  • Successfully finish a DLI-registered apprenticeship program.
  • Hold a current Minnesota restricted journeyworker plumber license or a restricted master plumber license. Additionally, you should have at least two years of practical plumbing experience under this license.
  • If you’re licensed in another state, ensure the licensing requirements there are comparable to Minnesota’s.

Master Plumber Requirements

Master plumbers are at the pinnacle of the plumbing profession. To achieve this status in Minnesota:

  • Accumulate at least one year of practical plumbing experience as a licensed journeyworker plumber.
  • If you’re transitioning from another state, ensure your master plumber license from that state meets Minnesota’s standards.
  • For those with a current Minnesota restricted master plumber license, you should have five years of verifiable experience as a plumbing contractor in the state.

Restricted Plumbing Licenses

Minnesota has specific guidelines for restricted plumbing licenses:

  • Since 2007, only licensed plumbing contractors or licensed restricted plumbing contractors can contract to perform plumbing work statewide.
  • In smaller communities (population under 5,000), plumbing work can be done by those with regular or restricted plumbing licenses.
  • Note that no new restricted individual plumbing licenses are being issued in Minnesota. However, businesses can apply for restricted plumbing contractor licenses if they meet certain criteria.

Registered Unlicensed Plumbers

Not everyone performing plumbing work in Minnesota needs to be licensed. However, they must be registered:

  • Registration: An individual can perform plumbing work if they’re registered as an unlicensed plumber with the state.
  • Supervision: Once registered, they can only work under the direct supervision of a licensed master or journeyworker plumber.
  • Renewal: Registrations must be renewed annually. This involves a fee and the completion of two hours of continuing education related to plumbing codes.

Applying for a Plumbing License in Minnesota

Application Process

The application process is a crucial step towards becoming a licensed plumber:

  • Start by accessing the necessary application forms on the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s website.
  • Ensure accuracy when filling out the forms. Any discrepancies can lead to delays or even rejection.
  • Along with your application, there’s a fee involved. This non-refundable fee covers the administrative costs of processing your application.


Passing the examination is a testament to your plumbing knowledge and skills:

  • The exam is comprehensive, evaluating your understanding of plumbing codes, best practices, and safety measures.
  • Preparation is key. Utilize study guides, attend preparatory classes, and take practice tests to ensure you’re well-prepared.

License Issuance

Once you’ve successfully navigated the application and examination processes:

  • The state will issue your plumbing license, allowing you to practice legally in Minnesota.
  • This license is a recognition of your skills and professionalism. It’s also a responsibility, emphasizing the need to uphold the state’s safety and professional standards.

Renewing Your Plumbing License in Minnesota

Understanding Renewal Requirements

A plumbing license isn’t a one-time achievement. It requires periodic renewals:

  • Be aware of your license’s expiration date. Renewing on time ensures you can continue practicing without interruptions.
  • Minnesota mandates that plumbers complete a certain number of continuing education hours before renewal. This commitment to continuous learning ensures that plumbers stay updated and deliver the best services to residents.

Completing Continuing Education

Education is a lifelong journey, especially in professions like plumbing:

  • Complete the required continuing education hours before your license expires.
  • Choose recognized courses that align with the state’s requirements. This not only ensures compliance but also guarantees that you’re receiving quality education.

Submitting Renewal Application

With the prerequisites in place, it’s time to renew your license:

Plumber License Reciprocity in Minnesota

While the focus of our guide is on plumbing, it’s essential to note that many tradespeople often inquire about reciprocity for plumbers. Reciprocity agreements allow professionals licensed in one state to obtain a license in another state without going through the entire licensing process again.

For Minnesota, the state does have reciprocity agreements with some states, but it’s crucial to check with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to get the most up-to-date information on which states have current agreements and what the specific requirements are.

License Bond Requirements in Minnesota

Every plumbing contractor in Minnesota is required to post a contractor’s license bond. This bond serves as a financial guarantee that the plumber will perform all contracted work in accordance with the state’s regulations and standards. Here are some key points about license bond requirements in Minnesota:

  • Purpose: The bond protects consumers from potential financial loss caused by the actions of the plumbing contractor. If a contractor fails to fulfill their obligations, a claim can be made against the bond.
  • Amount: The bond amount varies depending on the type of license. It’s essential to check with the state’s licensing board for the most current bond amounts.
  • Validity: The bond must remain valid for the entire duration of the license period. If the bond expires or is canceled, the license may be suspended or revoked.
  • Where to Obtain: Bonds can be obtained from surety bond companies. It’s advisable to shop around and compare rates to get the best deal.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in Minnesota

Insurance is a critical aspect of running a plumbing business. It protects plumbers from potential financial losses and liabilities that can arise from accidents, mistakes, or unforeseen events during their operations. Here’s a breakdown of the types of insurance plumbers in Minnesota might consider:

  • General Liability Insurance: This covers claims of third-party bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury. For instance, if a client trips over a tool and gets injured, this policy would cover their medical expenses.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Protects against claims of professional negligence, errors, or failure to deliver a service on time. If a plumber makes a mistake that results in damage, this policy would cover the associated costs.
  • Business Property Insurance: Covers business property or buildings damaged by accidents, weather events, or other hazards. It also protects tools, equipment, and inventory.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Covers medical expenses of employees injured at work. Most states, including Minnesota, require employers to have this insurance.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: For vehicles used for business purposes. It covers accident-related expenses resulting from injuries, property damage, or death.
  • Product Liability Insurance: Protects against claims resulting from a defective product, like a faulty pipe causing damage.
  • Tools and Equipment Insurance: Covers the cost to repair or replace equipment that’s damaged or stolen.

It’s essential to work with an insurance agency familiar with the local business landscape in Minnesota to ensure you have the right coverage. The cost of insurance varies based on factors like business location, number of employees, nature of work, and claims history. Learn more about the intricacies of Minnesota plumbing insurance cost in our thorough article.


Embarking on a plumbing career in Minnesota is both rewarding and challenging. The state’s rigorous standards ensure that residents receive top-notch services. By understanding and adhering to these standards, aspiring plumbers can build successful careers, contributing positively to Minnesota’s growth and development.