Kentucky plumbing license:
everything you need to know
The Kentucky plumbing industry is growing. Learn an in-demand skill and get your Kentucky plumbing license. This guide contains information about licensing requirements, apprenticeships, and job resources.
What plumbing work can be done without a license?
You can’t engage in any plumbing work without a Kentucky plumbing license.
What are the different types of plumbing licenses available in Kentucky?
There are two types of Kentucky plumbing licenses: a journeyman plumber license and a master plumber license. The Plumbing Division of the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction issue these licenses.
Apprentices must attend a training program at a Kentucky vocational school. You do not need a license to complete your plumbing apprenticeship.
To get a journeyman license, you must have 4 years of experience at the apprentice level, be at least 18 years old, and pass a written test about plumbing techniques. To get a master plumber license, you must have $250,000 of liability insurance. Kentucky awards master plumber licenses to individuals who are at least 18 years old, pass a criminal background check, pass a written exam. The average salary for Kentucky plumbers is $21.54.
How to get a plumbing license in Kentucky
Kentucky is the only state with a “moral character” clause in its plumbing licenses. This clause means you cannot get your Kentucky plumbing license if you have a criminal background. Many schools in the state ask that students pass a criminal background check before enrolling in one of these programs.
Big Sandy Community and Technical College and Gateway Community and Technical College offer training and apprenticeship programs, along with the UA Local 502 in Louisville. Most programs include fieldwork and classes. You will take at least one year of classes and then participate in a four-year apprenticeship.
Most schools provide you with free tools during your classwork. If you cannot afford the cost of community college, you can look for vocational schools that offer continuing and adult education classes. Most of these programs offer financial aid, such as student loans. You also can save money by enrolling in online classes. Tuition can range from around $150 to $300 per credit hour. It usually costs at least $1,000 to complete an online program and up to $3,000 to complete a program through a Kentucky college.
Your classes will prepare you for the licensing exam. You will learn about repairing and installing septic tanks, plumbing fixtures, garbage disposals, and water systems. You also will learn about plumbing codes and construction laws. Kentucky gives you 2.5 hours to complete the licensing exam and requires that you arrive by 7:30 am to check-in at the testing center.
Should I join a union?
Union 502 is one of the top Kentucky unions for plumbers and pipefitters. You usually need a license or some experience before you can join the union. Unions protect their members with guaranteed wages and health benefits. They also can help settle cases with clients.
Insurance for plumbers in Kentucky
Kentucky plumbers need at least $250,000 in liability insurance. If you own your own plumbing business, you will need to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for your employees.
Plumbing work is sometimes dangerous. Contact your doctor about recommended vaccinations.
How to get my first plumbing apprenticeship
Mr. Rooter and other plumbing companies in the Bluegrass State offer apprenticeships. You’ll work with a licensed plumber in the field and go on calls to both residential and commercial properties. Apprentices can make $27,000 or more a year during their training. You can contact a union to get help applying for an apprenticeship.
Does my license work in any other states?
A Kentucky plumbing license is only applicable within the state.
How do I stay up to date with plumbing codes?
Union 502 host meetings throughout the year to help plumbers learn about any changes to plumbing codes in Kentucky. You also can use the online resources available from the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction.
What resources are available in the plumbing industry?
Currently, Kentucky does not offer any trade shows for plumbers; however, you can attend the Tennessee PHCC Annual Convention and Trade Show in Knoxville. It takes place every year near the end of August. You will meet with other plumbers, learn about the latest products and tools, and understand any code changes. Here are a few other resources:
- Trends in the Plumbing Industry
- UA Local 502 in Louisville
- Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction
- Plumbing Trade Shows
- Plumbing Specialties
- Plumbing Blogs
How often do I need to renew my plumbing license in Kentucky?
A journeyman license will typically last for up to 1 year, while a master plumbing license will last for 3 years. You must renew your license prior to the expiration date to remain in good standing.
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