How to become a licensed plumber in the state of Michigan

How to Become a Licensed Plumber in the State of Michigan

Everyone knows the value of a good plumber. The most common reasons people call on a professional plumbing company include; clogged drains, low water pressure, dripping faucets, leaky pipes, and general maintenance.  Anyway you look at it, plumbers will always be in demand.  Becoming a plumber in Michigan is a great career option.

In the following article, we will provide guidance and insights into the following areas:

  • Licensing programs in Michigan
  • Categorizations of plumbers
  • Contact information to obtain a license
  • Costs to get certified
  • Salary expectations for a plumber
  • Prevalence of plumbers in the United States
  • Michigan’s definition of a plumber

What are the licensing programs in Michigan?

The state of Michigan offers two programs for those interested in obtaining their plumbing licensure.

  1. Master plumber license – Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and must have had two years of experience as a journey plumber. At the time of application, they will be expected to pay for an examination and pass, and upon passing, will need to pay a license fee.
  1. Journey plumber license – Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and must have had at least three years of experience in practical installation of plumbing while under the supervision of an authorized master plumber. For those who have graduated from a recognized trade school in an applicable field, one year of credit towards the aforementioned three years may be provided. At the time of application, they will be expected to pay for an examination and pass, and upon passing, will need to pay a license fee.

What are the various categorizations of plumbers?

To determine the right path for you, it is important to understand the difference between the two categorizations of plumbers.

  1. Apprentice – Within every state in the United States, any person who is looking to develop a professional skill or craft must undertake an apprenticeship in the applicable skill or craft. In Michigan, you must have obtained your high school diploma or GED, and must be at least 18 years of age. Preferred academic coursework includes High School math, science, architectural drawing, welding, auto mechanics, and machine shop, and a typical apprentice program is five years. A portion of the apprenticeship program will overlap time as an actual apprentice, working with an experienced plumber. After two to six years of experience in this program, an apprentice will be able to work as a journeyman, upon obtaining the proper licensing as mentioned above.
  1. Journeyman – A journeyman is able to take on work on his or her own without the supervision of a master plumber, and can either work independently or for a licensed plumbing company. However, journeymen are not permitted to start their own plumbing contracting companies, nor can they become business owners until they obtain their master plumber license.
  1. Master – A master plumber has been through an apprenticeship and journeyman period, and has several years of experience, plus has passed the state certification exam.

Who do I contact to start the process to get a license?

Michigan Department of Labor
Bureau of Construction Codes/Plumbing Board
7150 Harris Drive
P.O. Box 30254
Lansing, MI 48909

(517) 241-9330

How much does it cost to get a plumbing certification?

For an apprentice to be registered, they must pay a registration fee of $15, and must be registered by the state of Michigan as an apprentice plumber. To take the journey or master plumber exam, an application fee of $100 must be paid. After passing the exam, the fee for a journey license is $40 up front, which must then be renewed every year thereafter as a cost of $40. For a master’s license, after passing the example, the fee is $300, which is then renewed every three years for $300.

Journeyman and master plumbers must complete an approved five-hour code update course within one year after the adoption of the most recent Michigan Plumbing Code. Those with licenses in good standing are notified by the plumbing division in Michigan when this course must be taken. Approved course instructors are able to set their own pricing for approved courses.

All applicants at the apprentice, journeyman, or master plumber must submit to a criminal background check.

How much does a plumber make in Michigan?

The amount you can make as a plumber will vary and is based on a number of factors, including your plumbing education and schooling, at what level you are working, your years of experience, and who you are working for.

The average and anticipated annual salary for a licensed plumber in Michigan is $43,761. While there will always be outliers, the majority of plumbers have salary ranges between $35,169 and $49,932, as of May 2019.

When starting out as an apprentice, the annual salary is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 for the first one to three years. And some master plumbers can make as much as $100,000 or more after several years of experience.

Journeymen tend to make the most per hour in the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo areas of Michigan.

How many plumbers are there?

As of 2016, it was believed that there were 480,600 plumbers in the United States, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for plumbers is expected to grow faster than the average trade, in future years.

Further, a career in plumbing is believed to lead to many other trade opportunities down the road through work in various sectors such as new construction, residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Plumbers can also move into management and sales positions within the companies that they work for, as they are viewed as experienced and trustworthy professionals in the business.

What is a licensed plumber?

In the state of Michigan, a licensed plumber has obtained their trade qualification successfully through a recognized institute of higher education, that offers an apprentice plumbing program. In the state of Michigan, a licensed plumber is trained and has the ability to properly attend to all aspects of plumbing, including irrigation systems, utility connections, gas piping to water heaters, laundry equipment, kitchen equipment, gas grills, and swimming pool heaters.

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs (LARA) and the Bureau of Construction Codes (BCC) are responsible for the regulation and licensing of plumbers in Michigan.

Verify a plumbing license in Michigan

Once you’ve obtained your license, you can verify its status online, by visiting the LARA site here.


To read this article in Spanish click here.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top