Starting and running a successful plumbing business in Montana requires more than just expertise in the field. One of the essential steps is obtaining a plumbing license, which ensures that you meet the state’s standards and regulations. This guide will walk you through the steps and requirements to establish eligibility, apply for, and renew your plumbing license in Montana.

Determine Your Eligibility:

Before you can embark on your journey to becoming a licensed plumber in Montana, you need to ensure you meet the basic eligibility criteria:

  • Age Requirement: You must be at least 18 years old. This ensures that you have the maturity and responsibility required for the profession.
  • Educational Background: Possessing a high school diploma or its equivalent is mandatory. This foundational education ensures you can understand and interpret the technical aspects of plumbing.
  • Experience and Training: Montana values hands-on experience. Completing an apprenticeship program or having equivalent on-the-job experience under the guidance of a licensed plumber is crucial. This real-world experience ensures you’re familiar with the practical challenges and solutions in plumbing.

Complete Required Education or Apprenticeship:

Montana places a significant emphasis on proper training and education:

  • Apprenticeship Programs: Enrolling in a state-approved plumbing apprenticeship program is one of the best ways to gain the necessary skills. These programs combine classroom instruction with real-world training, giving you a holistic education in plumbing.
  • Work Experience: If you haven’t gone through a formal apprenticeship, Montana also recognizes on-the-job experience. Typically, you’d need about 4 years (or roughly 8,000 hours) of work experience under a licensed plumber. This experience should cover a wide range of plumbing tasks, ensuring you’re well-rounded in your skills.

Pass the State Licensing Exam:

The licensing exam is a critical step in your journey:

  • Registration: Before you can take the exam, you’ll need to register. Ensure you meet all the prerequisites before registration.
  • Study Materials: Montana’s plumbing code, best practices, and other relevant materials will be your primary study resources. Dedicate ample time to understand these materials thoroughly.
  • Examination Day: On the day of the exam, ensure you’re well-rested and have all the necessary identification and materials. The exam will test both your theoretical knowledge and practical problem-solving skills in plumbing.

Submit Your Application:

Once you’ve passed the exam, you’re on the home stretch:

  • Application Form: Fill out the Montana plumbing license application form with all the necessary details. Ensure all information is accurate to avoid any delays or issues.
  • Fees: There’s an application fee involved, which varies based on the type of license you’re applying for. Ensure you pay the correct amount.
  • Supporting Documents: Along with your application, you’ll need to provide proof of your education, training, and experience. This might include certificates from your apprenticeship program, letters from employers, and your exam scores.
  • Wait for Approval: Once you’ve submitted your application, it will be reviewed by the Montana licensing board. They might ask for additional information or clarifications. Ensure you respond promptly to any queries.

5. Stay Updated:

  • Montana’s plumbing regulations and codes can change. Stay updated to ensure you always meet the state’s current requirements.

Renewing Your Plumbing License

1. Complete Continuing Education:

  • Enroll in and complete the required number of continuing education hours before your license expires.

2. Submit Renewal Application:

  • Fill out the Montana plumbing license renewal form.
  • Pay the renewal fee.
  • Provide proof of completed continuing education hours.

3. Stay Updated on Renewal Requirements:

  • Montana may update its renewal requirements. Regularly check the state’s official website or contact the licensing board to stay informed.

Plumbing License Reciprocity in Montana

Montana offers reciprocity for plumbing licenses, which means that if you’re a licensed plumber in certain states, you can apply for a Montana plumbing license without having to retake the examination. Specifically, Montana has reciprocity agreements for journeyman plumbers with Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota. If you’re licensed in one of these states, you can streamline your licensing process in Montana. However, always ensure to check with the Montana State Board for any updates or changes to these agreements.

Contact for more details: Montana Department of Labor & Industry

License Bond Requirements in Montana

In Montana, plumbers are required to post a contractor license bond as a part of the licensing process. This bond serves as a financial guarantee that the plumber will comply with all state regulations and codes. The bond amount and specifics can vary based on the type of plumbing work and the location within Montana. It’s crucial to check with local county or city regulations as they might have specific bond requirements in addition to the state’s requirements.

For a more detailed understanding and to get the exact bond amount required, it’s recommended to consult with a bond agency or check with the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in Montana

Every plumbing business in Montana, whether residential or commercial, faces unique challenges and risks. To safeguard against these risks, plumbers need specific types of insurance coverages:

  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): This is a comprehensive insurance package that includes property insurance and general liability insurance. It covers damages to your business property, tools, equipment, and potential legal fees from accidents.
  • General Liability Insurance: Protects against potential lawsuits from accidents, injuries, or damages incurred by clients.
  • Business Interruption Insurance: If your plumbing business faces interruptions due to unforeseen damages, this insurance can cover the loss of income during the downtime.
  • Business Auto Insurance: Given that plumbers often travel to different locations with tools and supplies, it’s essential to have business auto insurance to cover potential damages to vehicles and tools.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance: Mandatory for plumbers with employees in most states. It covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees injured on the job.
  • Inland Marine Insurance: Protects tools and supplies when they’re being transported between job sites.

It’s essential to work with an insurance agency familiar with Montana’s local business landscape to ensure you have the necessary coverages and the right amount of protection. Learn more about the factors influencing Montana Plumbing Insurance Guide & Quotes and how to optimize it for your business.

Remember, while these insurance types provide a solid foundation, it’s crucial to regularly review and adjust your coverages as your business grows and evolves. Always consult with an insurance professional to ensure you’re adequately protected.


Obtaining and maintaining a plumbing license in Montana requires understanding various requirements. By following the outlined steps and staying informed about state regulations, plumbers can ensure they operate legally and uphold their profession’s standards. Understanding reciprocity agreements, bond requirements, and insurance needs will further equip plumbers for success in Montana. Always consult with local agencies and professionals for the most up-to-date information.