How to Get a Plumber’s License in Oregon

Becoming a licensed plumber in Oregon requires completing an apprenticeship program or verifying sufficient on-the-job training and classroom hours. You must then apply for and pass the appropriate licensing exam for the type of plumbing work you plan to do.

This guide provides an overview of the different license types, steps to gaining eligibility, and resources to help you through the Oregon plumber licensing process.

Types of Plumbers Licenses in Oregon

Oregon offers several plumbing license types. Each has specific requirements that must be met before qualifying to take the licensing exam.

  • Journeyman Plumber (JP): Allows work in all areas of plumbing installation, alterations, and remodeling.
  • Solar Heating and Cooling Installer (STL): For solar thermal system work.
  • Water-Treatment Installer (WTI): For water treatment and filtration work.
  • Residential Water-Heater Installer (WHI): For like-for-like water heater replacements.
  • Plumbing Contractor (PB): Allows owning and operating a plumbing business.

Steps to Getting a Plumber’s License in Oregon

Follow these main steps to become a licensed plumber in Oregon:

1. Gain the Required Experience

Oregon has no statewide pre-apprenticeship programs, so you must find an employer willing to sponsor your apprenticeship or attend trade school classes while gaining on-the-job training hours.

Formal apprenticeships last 4 years for journeyman plumber candidates. Water treatment installer apprenticeships run 18 months.

Alternatively, you can gain experience while working under a licensed plumber. You need:

  • Journeyman Plumber: 576 hours of classroom training plus 3,850 commercial and 3,850 residential work hours
  • Water Treatment Installer: 210 hours of training plus 3,000 work hours

Search for Apprenticeships

2. Apply for License Exams

Submit a license application for the category you want along with:

  • Proof of completing an approved apprenticeship or training program
  • Documentation of your classroom and on-the-job training hours

Journeyman Plumber Application

Specialty License Applications

Application fees:

  • Journeyman Plumber: $100
  • Specialty Licenses: $100
  • Contractor License: $250

You’ll receive exam authorization within 1 week.

3. Pass the Licensing Exam

Oregon has testing locations statewide. You must pass with a minimum score of 75%.

You’ll receive your results and license by mail within 2 weeks.

4. Consider a Contractor License

Contractors can operate their own plumbing business. You must:

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Complete 16+ hours of approved business training
  • Pass a business exam
  • Obtain liability insurance and surety bonds

Plumbing Contractor Application Guide

Plumber License Reciprocity in Oregon

Oregon has reciprocal licensing agreements for Journeyman Plumbers with:

  • Idaho
  • Montana

To get an Oregon license through reciprocity, you must:

  • Hold an active journeyman license from the above states
  • Have qualified for that license by passing an exam
  • Have worked at least 6 months (1,000 hours) under your home state license
  • Not have failed the Oregon journeyman exam in the past 2 years
  • Pay a $100 reciprocity fee

You’ll need to provide:

Check the BCD reciprocity page for full requirements.

Plumbing License Bond Requirements in Oregon

Licensed plumbing contractors in Oregon must obtain a surety bond of $10,000 – $20,000.

This bond provides financial protection if the contractor fails to fulfill licensing requirements or violates regulations.

  • Covers damages up to the bond amount
  • Must be filed before starting work
  • Must be maintained for all active periods
  • Can be purchased through insurance agents or bonding companies with good credit

Higher risk contractors may need to pay a higher premium percentage to obtain a bond.

Insurance Needs for Plumbers in Oregon

Licensed plumbers in Oregon must carry:

  • $50,000 minimum General Liability Insurance – Covers 3rd party injury/damage claims
  • $25,000 minimum Property Damage Insurance – For damages to a client’s property during work

Other recommended policies:

  • Professional Liability – Covers losses due to plumbing errors or negligence
  • Business Property – Protects office, equipment, tools, inventory
  • Commercial Auto – For vehicles used for work purposes
  • Workers’ Compensation – Covers injuries to employees

Work with an insurer familiar with Oregon’s regulations for plumbers to find the right policies. Having adequate insurance protects your business from costly claims. Learn more about the Oregon plumbing insurance cost in our in-depth article.

Resources for Oregon Plumbing Licenses

Oregon Building Codes Division

Issues plumbing licenses. Provides applications, testing, renewals, and verifications.

Phone: 503-373-1268

Licensing Page

Oregon Construction Contractors Board

Regulates contractor licensing. Offers license applications and renewals.

Phone: 503-378-4621

Licensing Page

Associated Builders and Contractors

Trade organization providing apprenticeship programs, training, and journeyman exam preparation courses.

Oregon Chapter

Conclusion

Becoming a licensed plumber in Oregon requires dedication to complete the mandated experience hours, coursework, testing, and ongoing renewal requirements. However, the licensure process ensures plumbers have the proper skills and qualifications to provide quality services safely. Use this guide as a roadmap to start your plumbing career or transfer your out-of-state license in Oregon!