Requirements to work as a plumber in Minnesota
In order to work as a plumber in the state of Minnesota, you must be at least 18 years old. You must also have a license from the DLI in Minnesota, or be working under a DLI licensed plumber as a contractor. You may perform work without a license if you are registered as an unlicensed plumber with the DLI, and your work is always supervised by a licensed plumber.
Obtaining a license
You may register as an unlicensed plumber in Minnesota here: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_apprentice_plumber_registration_form.pdf
Along with the application you will need to supply the $14 fee, and the registration will be active for up to a year. All registrations expire on June 30th for the year, at which point they will need to be renewed. Renewals cost $19, and you will need to sit for a 2-hour continuing education class. You will also need to submit a work experience form in order to renew your registration.
Licensing requirements in the state of Minnesota
Categories of plumber available in Minnesota
Contractor plumbing license
A plumbing contractor is someone who is able to be hired for plumbing work across the entire state. However, it is required to have a licensed master plumber at all times in order to maintain compliance and insurance requirements.
Master plumbing license
A master plumber is skilled in planning and overseeing all aspects of plumbing implementation. They are qualified by law to contract for plumbing installations for both interior and exterior water service, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer systems. They are the only licensed plumber that is allowed to sign off on the work of other non-licensed or journeyworker plumbers.
A journeyworker plumber is a plumber as their principal occupation and works under the direction of a master plumber. They are able to install plumbing anywhere in the state, but a master plumber must sign off on their work and they are not allowed to work unless they are working under a master plumber.
Restricted Master plumber
A restricted master plumber is similar to a master plumber in that they are allowed by law to contract for plumbing installations across the state of Minnesota. However, they are restricted to cities and towns with a population of fewer than 5,000 according to the most recent federal census. They must also have at least four years of practical plumbing experience and two years of experience working under a master plumber as a plumbing contractor.
Restricted Journeyworker plumber
A restricted journeyworker plumber must have at least two years of practical experience working under a restricted master plumber. Like a master plumber, they are restricted to working in cities and towns with populations of fewer than 5,000 people.
Unlicensed individual – plumbing
An unlicensed individual in plumbing is someone who works for a plumbing contractor but does not hold a license. They are generally someone learning through practical experience. This is a similar delineation to Apprentice plumbers in other states.
Anyone applying for a plumbing license must have practical work experience that has been certified. A single year of plumbing experience consists of at least 1,750 hours and no more than 1,750 hours can be credited toward your experience in any given calendar year. No more than two years of experience from another state will be credited in Minnesota unless you already obtained a license in that other state. Furthermore, you must verify your own plumbing experience, and it must be certified by the licensed master plumber that was responsible for any work that you performed.
Obtaining a Journeyworker Plumbing License
In order to become a journeyworker plumber in the state of Minnesota, you must first have at least four years of work as a contract plumber under your belt. This work must be done under a master plumber licensed by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. You could also have two years of work as a restricted journeyworker plumber or a restricted master plumber, which would fulfill the requirements for the application of a journeyworker license. Alternatively, you could complete a DLI apprenticeship program, after which point you will be able to apply for a journeyworker license.
Other experience can count toward your qualification for the journeyworker license as well. The following experiences are accepted toward an application for licensure:
- Military service, as long as the military officer certifies the experience
- Experience gained as part of a DLI program or class, as long as the experience has been certified by a DLI representative
- As an apprentice in another state where the experience is certified by the state plumbing certification agency
There are also a few caveats for certain applicants. Applicants who are unlicensed plumbers must demonstrate 2,000 hours of experience with water distribution system applications, 2,000 hours of experience with drain, waste, and vent system applications, and 1,000 hours of fixture installation experience. Applicants with a restricted license must demonstrate 1,000 hours of experience with water distribution system applications, 1,000 hours of experience with drain, waste, and vent system applications, and 500 hours of fixture installation experience. Also, if the applicant is a licensed restricted master plumber they cannot certify their own experience.
Obtaining a Master Plumbing license
In order to apply for a master plumbing license, you must have at least one year of experience as a licensed journeyworker plumber. Alternatively, an applicant may also qualify for a license application if they have 5 years of experience as a restricted master plumber. An applicant may forgo these requirements if they have a master plumber license from another state with similar requirements to Minnesota – at that point, they qualify to apply and sit for the exam in Minnesota.
How to apply for a plumbing license in the state of Minnesota
Applying for a Journeyworkers plumbing license
Once you have met the requirements to apply for a journeyworkers plumbing license, you will need to submit the application (found here: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_plumber_exam.pdf) to register for a license. After your application is approved, you will receive instructions on how to schedule your exam. Once you pass the exam, your license will remain valid until the next odd number year on December 31st. All licenses expire on December 31st in odd-numbered years and need to be renewed at that point.
To renew a license, you will need to sit for 16 hours of continuing education and submit the renewal application along with the $48 renewal fee.
Applying for a Master plumbing license
Once you have met the requirements to apply for a master plumbing license you will need to submit the application (found here: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_plumber_exam.pdf) to register for a license. After your application is accepted, you will need to schedule and pass the master plumbing exam.
Once you pass the exam, you will pay your licensing fee and obtain your master plumbing license. Master plumbing licenses expire on December 31st in years ending with an even number. At that point, you will need to renew your license by submitting the application along with the $88 renewal fee. You will also need to complete 16 hours of continuing education.
Where to apply
Journeyworker and Master plumbing license application: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_plumber_exam.pdf
Unregistered plumber license: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_apprentice_plumber_registration_form.pdf
Restricted plumbing business license application: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_contr_lic16.pdf
Schedule a plumbing exam: https://www.dli.mn.gov/business/get-licenses-and-permits/license-exam-schedule
Plumbing work experience verification form: https://www.dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/pe_work_experience.pdf
Plumbing reciprocity applications: https://www.dli.mn.gov/workers/plumber/plumbing-reciprocity
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