How to Become a Licensed Plumber in Pennsylvania: A Complete Guide

Becoming a licensed plumber in Pennsylvania requires completing an apprenticeship program and passing exams to obtain an apprentice, journeyman, or master plumber license, which are issued at the local level. This guide outlines the steps and requirements to establish eligibility, apply for, and renew a plumbing license in Pennsylvania.

Plumbing License Requirements in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania does not issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Instead, licenses are administered through county or city offices. Aspiring plumbers must contact their local building department to satisfy licensing and registration requirements.

Plumbing licenses are issued for:

  • Apprentice Plumber
  • Journeyman Plumber
  • Master Plumber

The requirements are similar across Pennsylvania’s counties and cities, with slight variances in fees.

Major Cities’ Plumbing License Requirements

Below are links to plumbing license applications and requirements for some of Pennsylvania’s largest cities:

Plumbing Apprentice Requirements

A plumbing apprentice learns skills under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber. Requirements include:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum 18 years old

Apprenticeship programs must be state-approved and typically take 4 years to complete the required 576 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.


  • Application Fee: $25
  • License Fee: $25 (annual renewal)

Plumbing Journeyman Requirements

Journeyman plumbers have completed an apprenticeship program and can work independently, but under a master plumber’s supervision. Requirements include:

  • 4 years as a registered apprentice
  • Completed state-approved apprenticeship
  • Passed licensing exam
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum 18 years old


  • Application Fee: $25
  • License Fee: $100 (annual renewal)
  • Exam Fee: $100-150 per exam

Plumbing Master Requirements

Master plumbers can work independently. They typically oversee apprentices and journeymen. Requirements include:

  • 2 years experience as a journeyman
  • Passed master plumber licensing exam
  • Completed state-approved apprenticeship
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum 21 years old


  • Exam Fee: $250 per exam
  • License Fee: $375 (annual renewal)

Applying for a Pennsylvania Plumbing License

Follow these steps to obtain a plumbing license in Pennsylvania:

  1. Complete plumbing education/apprenticeship training. Enroll in a plumbing trade school program or registered apprenticeship. Classroom and on-the-job training duration varies by license type.
  2. Submit a license application to your local authority. Contact the building department in your municipality or county to apply. Supply required documents proving your qualifications.
  3. Pass the required exams. Apprentices are exempt, but journeyman and master plumbers must pass licensing exams within 12 months of applying.
  4. Pay license fees. Pay application filing fees upfront and licensing fees after approval. Most licenses need annual renewal.
  5. Obtain business registrations. Register your plumbing business with state and local authorities and obtain necessary tax IDs.
  6. Meet insurance requirements. Carry general liability insurance, workers’ comp, etc. as required in your region.

The entire licensing process can take 4+ years including the apprenticeship program. Application processing time varies by jurisdiction – allow 2-6 weeks.

Pennsylvania Plumbing License Reciprocity

Pennsylvania has no statewide reciprocity agreements. Instead, check with your local building department. Some allow reciprocity if you hold a valid plumbing license from another municipality within Pennsylvania.

For example, Allentown has reciprocity with:

  • Bethlehem
  • Easton
  • Scranton
  • Wilkes-Barre

So plumbers licensed in these cities can obtain an Allentown license without re-testing.

Pennsylvania Plumbing License Renewal

Plumbing licenses in Pennsylvania need to be renewed annually. Fees vary by license type but are typically $25 for apprentice and around $100-375 for journeyman and master.

Renewal applications are submitted to your local building department. You must meet continuing education requirements and carry proper insurance to renew your license. Understanding the Pennsylvania plumbing insurance cost is crucial for every plumbing business in the state.

Late renewals may incur an added fee or result in having to re-take exams. Confirm renewal dates with your issuing authority to avoid lapses in licensure.

Pennsylvania Plumbing License Bond Requirements

Some municipalities in Pennsylvania require plumbers to obtain a license bond to register their business and work legally. This protects consumers against property damages resulting from poor workmanship.

Bond amounts range from $1,000 – $50,000 depending on your local jurisdiction. The cost is usually 1-15% of the bond amount.

For example, Philadelphia requires master plumbers to carry a $50,000 license bond that costs approximately $500-750 per year.

Research bond requirements for plumbers in your county or city and obtain the surety bond from an authorized bond producer before applying for your plumbing contractor’s license.

Insurance Requirements for Pennsylvania Plumbers

Plumbers in Pennsylvania need certain insurance policies to work legally and protect their business. Required coverages include:

  • General Liability: Covers property damage and bodily injuries caused by your work. Minimum $500,000 policy.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Covers medical and lost wage expenses for injured employees. State-mandated minimums apply.
  • Automobile Liability: Covers injuries/damages from company vehicles. Minimum $300,000 policy.
  • Professional Liability: Recommended to cover losses from design errors or faulty work.

Verify the insurance requirements in your jurisdiction and work with an agent to obtain adequate policies. Keep certificates of insurance on file as proof of coverage.


Obtaining a plumbing license in Pennsylvania takes several years but provides the legal authority to work as a plumbing professional. Be sure to complete the required classroom and on-the-job training hours, pass your local exams, and renew your license annually. Some cities also mandate plumbing license bonds and insurance policies to practice legally. Check with your county or city building department for their specific application and operating requirements.