Nebraska, known for its vast agricultural lands, also boasts a thriving urban environment with a constant need for skilled plumbers. Whether you’re in Omaha, Lincoln, or any other city, understanding the licensing process is crucial. This guide aims to provide a detailed overview of the steps and requirements for plumbers in Nebraska.

Understanding the Importance of Licensing

Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to understand why licensing is crucial:

  • Professional Recognition: A license validates your skills and training, making you more marketable to potential employers and clients.
  • Legal Requirement: Operating without a license can lead to hefty fines and legal complications.
  • Safety: Licensed plumbers ensure that all plumbing works adhere to safety standards, protecting both the plumber and the client.

License Requirements for Plumbing Professionals in Nebraska

Unlike many states, Nebraska’s plumbing licenses are city-regulated. However, there are general requirements:

  • State Registration: All plumbing contractors and subcontractors must register with the Nebraska Department of Labor.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Plumbing businesses with employees must provide a current workers’ compensation certificate of insurance.

Omaha Plumbing License Types and Requirements

Omaha, being one of the major cities, has its specific set of requirements:

Apprentice Plumber Certificate:

  • Registration: Must register annually with the City of Omaha Plumbing Board.
  • Education: A high school diploma or GED is mandatory.
  • Fees: A $20 registration fee is required, with an annual renewal fee of $20.

Journeyman Plumber License:

  • Role: They can install, repair, alter, or extend plumbing systems but must operate under a master plumber’s supervision.
  • Examination: Applicants must submit an examination application to the City of Omaha Plumbing Board and provide proof of work history or schooling.
  • Fees: A $50 test fee is required. Additionally, an annual $19.50 fee for an identification badge and a $20 initial annual license fee are mandatory.

Master Plumber License:

  • Role: They can design, plan, lay out, and supervise plumbing and drainage systems.
  • Examination: Like the journeyman, an examination application must be submitted.
  • Insurance: A minimum insurance requirement of $1 million is mandatory.
  • Bond: A minimum $10,000 surety bond is required.
  • Fees: A $75 test fee, $100 for the initial annual license, and a $75 renewal fee.

Lincoln Plumbing License Types and Requirements

Lincoln, another significant city, has its licensing nuances:

Apprentice Plumber:

  • Fees: An annual license fee of $25.

Journeyman Plumber:

  • Continuing Education: Six hours annually.
  • Fees: An annual license fee of $50.

Master Plumber:

  • Continuing Education: Ten hours annually.
  • Fees: An annual license fee of $75.

Master Contractor Plumber:

  • Continuing Education: Proof of 10 hours annually.
  • Insurance: Commercial or comprehensive general liability with a minimum combined single limit of $500,000 aggregate.
  • Bond: A payment bond of $5,000 if excavating in city right-of-way.
  • Fees: An annual license fee of $250.

Steps to Obtain a Plumbing License


  • Be at least 20 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Complete a state-approved training program or apprenticeship.

Application Process:

  • Submit an application to the Nebraska Department of Labor.
  • Pay the application fee (varies by location and type of license).
  • Provide proof of training or apprenticeship completion.


  • Once your application is approved, you’ll be eligible to take the state plumbing examination.
  • The exam tests knowledge of plumbing codes, best practices, and Nebraska-specific regulations.
  • A passing score is required to obtain a license.

License Issuance:

  • After passing the exam, you’ll receive your Nebraska plumbing license.
  • Display your license prominently in your place of business.

Renewing Your Plumbing License

Continuing Education:

  • Nebraska requires plumbers to complete continuing education hours to stay updated with industry changes.
  • The number of hours varies based on the type of license and location.

Renewal Process:

  • Submit a renewal application before your license expires.
  • Pay the renewal fee (varies by location and type of license).
  • Provide proof of completed continuing education hours.

Plumber License Reciprocity in Nebraska

License reciprocity allows plumbers licensed in one state to work in another without undergoing the full licensing process again. This is particularly beneficial for plumbers looking to expand their services across state lines.

For Nebraska, the state does not have a statewide regulating body for plumbing licensure. Instead, licensing and reciprocity are managed on a city-by-city basis. In Omaha, for instance, the municipal code states that license reciprocity will be extended to individuals “licensed as a journeyman in a city of equivalent size that requires similar qualification criteria.” This means that if you’re a licensed plumber in a city comparable to Omaha in terms of size and licensing standards, you might be eligible for reciprocity. However, you’ll need to submit evidence of your licensure upon application to the plumbing board to maintain your licensed status.

License Bond Requirements in Nebraska

A license bond is a type of surety bond that ensures the holder will adhere to state regulations and laws related to their profession. For plumbers in Nebraska:

  • The bond amount varies depending on the type of contractor, location, and specific project.
  • Multiple counties and cities in Nebraska require contractors to post surety bonds before starting work. These bonds guarantee that the principal (contractor) will comply with all applicable rules and legislation specific to their classification of work. They also protect consumers from damages resulting from negligent or faulty work.
  • In Omaha, contractors are required to post a surety bond to become registered to work. The bond amounts are currently $10,000 for a $100 premium for general contractors. However, bond requirements can differ based on the city or county, so it’s essential to check with local authorities.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in Nebraska

Insurance is crucial for plumbers to protect against potential risks associated with their profession. Here are the types of insurance plumbers in Nebraska should consider:

  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): A comprehensive package that includes property insurance, general liability insurance, and business interruption insurance.
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Protects against claims arising from errors or negligence during work.
  • Business Auto Insurance: Essential for plumbers who travel frequently to job sites. It covers business vehicles and the tools and supplies inside them.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance: Mandatory for businesses with employees, covering workplace injuries and accidents.
  • Inland Marine Insurance: Protects tools and equipment while they’re being transported between job sites.

It’s essential for plumbers in Nebraska to work with an insurance agency familiar with the local business landscape to ensure they have the necessary coverage and protection. Understanding the intricacies of Nebraska plumbing insurance cost is imperative for anyone in the business.

In conclusion, obtaining and maintaining a plumbing license in Nebraska involves several steps, from education and exams to insurance and bond requirements. By understanding and following these guidelines, plumbers can ensure they operate legally and protect both their business and their customers.