Learn How to Get Your Plumbing License in Rhode Island

March 26, 2022

Plumbing has become one of the most sought after trade professions. The career is cushioned by high levels of job security and even higher wages. If you’re wondering how to get your plumbing license in Rhode Island, you should know that there are a few things to work out before you begin the process.

Trade schools offer focused courses in plumbing. The courses are of short duration and designed to get you into the workforce as soon as possible. The average fee hovers around $10,483. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers earn a median annual wage of $56,330.

According to a study in 2022, the Rhode Island plumbers enjoy a slightly higher annual wage, earning just over $60,873 per year. In general, the ROI is greater when graduating from a trade school over a traditional college.

In this article, we’ll outline the steps you need to take to get your plumber’s license and provide some tips for success. Whether you’re a beginner, plumbing apprentice, an experienced plumber, or a licensed contractor looking to set up a plumbing business, you can find everything you need to know about the plumbing license requirements in Rhode Island.

How to Become a Licensed Plumber

The steps to becoming a fully licensed plumber can vary in every state. But, the usual steps include:

  • Complete a high school diploma or GED (Duration: 4-years). Some subjects that may help aspiring plumbers are algebra, geometry, and physics.
  • Get a plumbing course at a trade school (Duration: 1-year). Other options include a technical college and online certificate courses. Vocational training prepares you for the profession’s day-to-day tasks and business aspects.
  • Work in an apprenticeship program for a journeyman plumber’s license (Duration: 4 to 5-years). Most students start building connections to help get into an apprenticeship program.
    Apprentice plumbers learn the trade under other experienced professionals and earn an income. Depending on the location, an apprentice plumber may need to spend between 4,000 and 12,000 hours before applying for a journeyman license.
  • Complete the license exam as per the requirement of the state. Test content mainly covers plumbing trade, plumbing codes, business, and law. You will need to pay a $75 fee for a new journeyman or master plumber’s license.
  • Work independently as a journeyman before you can apply for a master plumber’s license (Duration: 2 to 4-years). Once you become a master plumber, you can teach other aspiring students and gain a prominent position in the industry.
    Master plumbers get up to $40 per hour and $100,000 per year, which is significantly higher than the salary of a journeyperson plumber. The fee for a new license is $75, and that of renewal is $240.


Earn your degree in Plumbing & Heating from NEIT and begin your new career path today!


Plumbing License in Rhode Island

Getting a plumbing license

The license issuing authority for all plumbers is the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. The sections below explain the process of getting different plumbing licenses in Rhode Island.

Who Needs a Plumbing License in Rhode Island?

Any aspiring plumber in Rhode Island involved in the following activities needs a license:

  • Assembling tubing, fittings, and pipes.
  • Using welding equipment, clamps, couplings, screws, bolts, plastic solvent, cement, and caulking.
  • Fill plumbing fixtures or pipes with air or water and observe leaks using a pressure gauge.
  • Hanging steel support from the ceiling for holding pipes.
  • Installing pipe assemblies, valves, fittings, home appliances, and toilet fixtures using manual or power tools.

Types of Plumbing Licenses in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers three types of licenses: apprentice plumber licenses, journeyman plumbing licenses, and master plumber licenses.

Getting a Journeyman Plumber License in Rhode Island

Apprenticeship students must follow these steps to get a journeyman’s license in Rhode Island:

  • Provide evidence of being a registered apprentice plumber for at least 4-years with 8000-hours of on-the-job training and hands-on experience. This must include 576-hours of training at a state-approved training program.
  • Submit the license application and a $75 fee.
  • Pass the journeyman plumbing license exam.

Master Plumber’s License in Rhode Island

Journeyman plumbers must follow these steps to get a master license:

  • Hold the journeyman license and have 5 years of work experience.
  • Submit the license application and a $75 fee.
  • Clear the master plumbing license exam.

Does Rhode Island Offer Reciprocity for Plumbing Licenses?

Rhode Island may issue a license to a journeyman or master plumber with another state license. The requirements of Rhode Island must mimic those enforced by the other state. Here is the process for reciprocity:

  • Submit a copy of your current license.
  • The Board of Plumbing or Irrigation of the other state(s) should submit a statement attesting to the applicant’s licensure status to the authorities at Rhode Island.
  • The applicant submits an affidavit of successfully passing the exam for licensure in the state they are coming from.
  • The license should be for the same classification for applying to Rhode Island.

What States Do Not Require a Plumbing License?

Some states in the US operate differently. The following states maintain different licensing requirements:

  • Colorado – State license required for plumbing but not for general contracting.
  • Nebraska – No state-wide license required.
  • Kansas – No state-wide license required. But you may need a local license.
  • New Jersey – No license required to work as a journeyman plumber. But you need state registration.
  • Tennessee – You need a plumbing license for all projects above $25,000. For projects under this value, you must have a limited plumbing license.
  • Wyoming – Only a local license is necessary.

How Much Does a Plumbing Certification and License Cost?

All plumbers must renew the license before expiry by filling out the identification information and online renewal form. The cost of getting a license in Rhode Island is as follows:

  • Apprentice plumber license – New apprentice licenses or renewals are free of cost.
  • Journeyman plumber license – New applications cost $75. Two-year renewals cost $72.
  • Master plumber license – New applications cost $75. Two-year renewals cost $240.

Risks of Plumbing Without a License

Risks of plumbing
A plumbing contractor without a license doesn’t enjoy the same opportunities for work and payouts as their licensed counterparts. This can be explained by the risks involved with specialized tools that require technical or specialized qualifications. It is difficult for a person without a plumbing contractor license to gain a customer’s trust. Listed below are are some of the risks involved for both the plumber and the customer:
  • All customers need a permit before authorizing any plumbing work. Only a certified plumber can get the permit.
  • If a licensed master plumber receives an injury during the job, they can get medical coverage under the company’s insurance. Unlicensed plumbers do not have insurance.
  • An unlicensed working plumber and their client could land in legal issues. If you get a plumbing job that violates the codes and affects the neighbors, they could file a lawsuit against you and the homeowner.
  • Plumbers handle high-risk jobs such as gas pipe fittings and other plumbing systems. If a plumber does a sub-standard job, it can jeopardize the customer’s safety.
  • Unlicensed plumbers do not report to any administrative board. In the absence of any governing authority, there is no place a plumber or the customer can reach out for help.


An associate degree in plumbing from the New England Institute of Technology provides the required knowledge and connections to kick start your career in plumbing. By enrolling in a trade school, you can also apply for federal financial aid to help fund the education.

You can immediately enter the industry and start earning under master plumbing contractors on completing the degree.


Earn your degree in Plumbing & Heating from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



How Long Does It Take to Get a Plumbing License?

You need to spend four years as an apprentice before sitting for the journeyperson licensing process. You must pass the licensing exam with 50 multiple choice questions successfully.

Can I Work as a Plumber Without a Plumbing Training Program?

Vocational training prepares you for the day-to-day tasks and business aspects of the profession. We highly recommend taking a degree course. Without this kind of education, you may expose yourself to health risks and lawsuits and reduced career opportunities in the plumbing industry.

Are Trades Schools and Community Colleges Different?

No. A trade school and community college offer training options in skilled trades, including plumbing. Both the institutions provide hands-on learning opportunities with fundamental knowledge and skills, and you get into the industry faster.