New York State, characterized by its diverse landscapes and bustling urban centers, offers a myriad of opportunities for skilled plumbers. However, to tap into this potential, understanding the licensing landscape is paramount. This guide provides an in-depth look into the journey of becoming a licensed plumber in New York State, from establishing eligibility to renewing your license.

Licensing Requirements for Plumbers in New York State

New York State does not license plumbers at the state level. Instead, city and county governments handle this responsibility. The state has a uniform Building Code, established in 2020, that sets plumbing requirements across its jurisdictions, ensuring that while licensing procedures might differ, the quality of work remains consistent.

Types of Plumbers Licenses in New York State

Given the absence of a statewide license, each city or municipality has its own licensing criteria:

  • NYC Department of Buildings: In NYC, plumbing licenses are combined with Fire Suppression licenses. To work unsupervised, you need a Master Plumber’s License. Requirements include:
    • Being at least 18 years old.
    • Proficiency in English.
    • Seven years of experience within the last ten years under a licensed Master Plumber in the U.S., with two of those years as a registered Journeyman Plumber with the DOB.
  • Albany: The Examining Board of Plumbers in Albany offers:
    • Class A Plumber License for regular work.
    • Class B License for one-time individual projects.
  • Ithaca: Only issues a Master Plumber License, which is given to the majority owner of a plumbing business.
  • Buffalo: Provides three types of licenses:
    • Master Plumber.
    • Journeyman Plumber.
    • Journeyman Repair.
  • Onondaga County: Has a central agency called Plumbing Control that licenses master plumbers and journeymen and registers apprentices.

Steps to Obtain a Plumber’s License in New York State

  • Age and Education: You must be at least 18 and possess a high school diploma or GED, unless you’re part of an approved BOCES program.
  • Training: Acquire proper training through:
    • A union.
    • College degree program.
    • Employment under a master plumber.
  • Local Licensing: Check the requirements for the area you’ll be working in.
  • Certifications: Earn additional certifications to enhance your marketability.
  • Business Requirements: If you plan to start your own plumbing business, you’ll need:
    • A state-issued business license.
    • Various insurances.
    • A surety bond or cash deposit.

Renewing Your License in New York State

To ensure continuous operation, plumbers must renew their licenses:

  • Renewal Period: Plumbing licenses in New York are valid for one year and must be renewed annually.
  • Continuing Education: Before renewal, plumbers might need to complete continuing education courses.
  • Renewal Fee: There’s a fee associated with license renewal, which varies based on the type of license.

Plumber License Reciprocity in New York State

License reciprocity allows plumbers licensed in one state to work in another without undergoing the full licensing process again:

  • New York’s Stance: New York does not offer reciprocity to contractors licensed in other states. This means that if you’re a licensed plumber in another state and wish to work in New York, you’ll need to undergo the New York licensing process.

License Bond Requirements in New York State

In New York, plumbers are required to post a license bond as part of the licensing process:

  • Bond Amount: The bond amount varies depending on the locality within New York. For instance, in New York City, master plumbers are required to post a $20,000 bond.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in New York State

Plumbers face various risks, from property damage to injuries. To protect against these risks, it’s essential to have the right insurance coverage: If you’re curious about the costs involved in New York plumbing insurance, our detailed article can provide you with valuable insights and data.

  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): This is a comprehensive policy that includes property insurance, general liability insurance, and business interruption insurance.
  • Business Auto Insurance: Covers potential damages to your vehicle and the equipment inside.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance: Covers medical expenses and lost wages if an employee gets injured on the job.


Becoming a licensed plumber in New York State requires understanding the state’s specific requirements, from the licensing process to insurance and bond needs. Always ensure you’re adequately insured and bonded to protect both your business and your customers.