1. Establishing Eligibility

Before embarking on your journey to become a licensed plumber in North Carolina, it’s essential to ensure you meet the state’s eligibility criteria:

  • Age and Education:
    • Must be at least 18 years old.
    • A high school diploma or its equivalent is beneficial during the training and examination phases.
  • Experience:
    • Contractors need a minimum of 2 years (4,000 hours) of full-time experience under a licensed plumbing contractor.
    • Technicians require 18 months (3,000 hours) of full-time experience.
  • Criminal Background:
    • A clean criminal record is mandatory.
    • Felonies or misdemeanors related to the plumbing profession can disqualify an applicant.

2. Application Process

The application process is a structured pathway to ensure only qualified specialists get licensed:

  • Application Form:
  • Fees:
    • A non-refundable application fee is required.
    • The exact amount can vary, so always refer to the official licensing site for the latest figures.
  • Examination:
    • After application submission, you’ll be scheduled for an examination.
    • This test evaluates your knowledge and skills in the plumbing domain.
    • A passing score is essential to proceed.
  • Review:
    • The State Board reviews your application and examination results.
    • If all criteria are met, your plumbing license will be issued.

3. Renewal Process

Maintaining your license is as crucial as obtaining it:

  • Frequency:
    • Licenses must be renewed annually.
    • Keep track of your license’s expiration date to prevent lapses.
  • Continuing Education:
    • Plumbers must complete a set number of continuing education hours before renewal.
    • This ensures they remain updated with the latest techniques and safety protocols.
  • Fees:
    • Renewal, like the initial application, incurs a fee.
    • Always refer to the official site for current rates.

4. Plumber License Reciprocity in North Carolina

License reciprocity allows plumbers licensed in one state to work in North Carolina without undergoing the entire licensing process again:

  • North Carolina does not have full reciprocity for general contractors, but exam waivers are available for contractors from South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.
  • North Carolina recognizes electrical licenses from several states.

5. License Bond Requirements in North Carolina

In North Carolina, plumbing contractors are required to secure a license bond:

  • Bond Amounts: The bond amount required can vary, but it’s typically set to cover potential damages or financial losses that might arise from the plumber’s work.
  • Validity: The bond remains valid for the duration of the license. If a plumber renews their license, they may also need to renew their bond.
  • Claims: If a plumber fails to adhere to state regulations, a claim can be made against their bond.

6. Insurance Needs for Plumbers in North Carolina

Insurance is crucial for plumbers to protect against potential risks and liabilities:

  • Business Owner’s Policy (BOP):
    • Property Insurance: Protects the building you operate your business from and covers business equipment and tools.
    • General Liability Insurance: Covers legal fees and judgments if a customer gets injured on your business property or if your business causes damage to another property.
    • Business Interruption Insurance: Protects your income if your business is interrupted due to damages to your business building.
  • Professional Liability Coverage: Protects against issues that arise after a job is completed and against nuisance lawsuits.
  • Business Auto Insurance: Essential for plumbers who travel frequently for jobs. It covers business vehicles and the tools and supplies they carry.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance (WCI): Mandatory for plumbers with employees in most states. It covers workplace injuries and accidents.
  • Inland Marine Insurance: Protects tools and supplies as they are transported between job sites.


Becoming a licensed plumber in North Carolina is a rigorous but rewarding process. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application, and renewal processes, as well as bond and insurance requirements, you’re set for a successful plumbing career in North Carolina. Always stay updated with the official licensing site to remain informed about any changes or updates. To learn more about the expenses involved in setting up your plumbing business, you can read our article on North Carolina Plumbing Insurance Guide & Quotes.