How to Become a Plumber in Michigan? (+Income Updates)


(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

So you’re interested in a plumbing career in Michigan? That’s great, this is the perfect guide for you!

A plumber is a tradesperson who specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for water, sewage, and drainage. Plumbers are responsible for ensuring that these systems are installed correctly and function properly. The work involved could be complicated and may impact the health and safety of the community, 

In Michigan, all plumbers are required to obtain a license from the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs – Licensing Division.

There are three types of plumbing licenses in Michigan:

  • Journeyman License
  • Master License
  • Contractor License

To become a licensed plumber in Michigan, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma, complete the plumbing education and apprenticeship program, and obtain 6,000 hours of plumbing work experience. Prospective licensee must also pass the Journeyman Plumber Exam, and submit an application and fees to the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Licensing Division.

In this guide, you will learn about the steps to obtaining a plumbing license in Michigan. You will also find income updates, education programs, and FAQs on this profession.

So read on to learn more about what it takes to launch your plumbing career!

8 Steps to Become a Licensed Plumber in Michigan

Plumber meeting client

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or its equivalent GED. 

As you can imagine, there will be lots of measuring and gauging while working in the field. Therefore, having good math skills such as geometry, algebra, and metric measurements is certainly an asset.

Also, a strong understanding of science is necessary to understand how plumbing systems work. Physics, chemistry, and thermodynamics are particularly important for those who want to enter this field.

Step 2: Complete the plumbing education

Now, it’s time to equip yourself with the technical skills and knowledge required for the job.

There are several ways to do so, such as attending a training program at a vocational school, trade school, community college, or plumbing association.

Community colleges usually offer certificate or diploma programs, which can be completed in one to two years. Alternatively, some schools also offer two-year associate degree programs.

The curriculum should cover topics such as draining, venting, pipe cutting & soldering, water heating systems, the local plumbing codes, and electrical basic.

Although this is not a mandatory requirement, qualified education may count toward one year of credit work experience. I will discuss more about it in the next step.

Step 3: Enroll in an apprenticeship program

Apprentice plumber working with a supervisor

The next step is to register yourself as a plumbing apprentice. Here’s the registration form and there is a fee of $15.

All registered plumbing apprentice in Michigan must be obtain at least 6000 hours work experience in no less than 3 years.

You may join an apprenticeship program offered by a local trade organization or union. For example, you may check out the apprenticeship program offered by the Plumbing Union Local 98.

Alternatively, you could work as an entry-level worker under the supervision of a licensed master plumber.

The advantage of going through an apprentice program is that you’ll receive both on-the-job training and classroom instruction. During the on-the-job training, you’ll learn about a plumber’s day-to-day tasks while working under a licensed contractor’s supervision.

Meanwhile, the classroom instruction will cover topics such as blueprint reading, first aid, and safety.

Step 4: Pass the Michigan Journeyman Plumber Exam

Qualifying party writing plumbing exam

The Michigan Journeyman Plumber Exam is a 3-hour exam with 125 questions. The required passing score is at least 70%. It is administered by the PSI Testing Services and there is an exam fee of $100.

Step 5: Apply for the Michigan Journey Plumber License

Now that you’ve completed all the requirements, you can apply for a “Journey Plumber” license from the Michigan Licensing Division. To do so, you’ll submit a license application along with relevant documents. There’s a license fee of $300.

In the application, you would provide your personal info: education, technical courses, apprenticeship, experience, examination scores. 

Since the Licensing Division has the responsibility to protect the public interest, they will also require you to disclose if there have been any disciplinary actions against your professional or trades license. You are also required to go through a background check.

If you have any questions, you may contact the Licensing Division:

Step 6: Upgrade to a Master Plumber license

If you want to upgrade your career to the next level, you should consider upgrading to a “Master Plumber” license. With a Master Plumber license, you can work on larger projects and demand a higher salary.

Furthermore, a journeyman can only provide plumbing services by working for a master plumber. A master plumber, on the other hand, can take on plumbing jobs independently.

To become a master plumber in Michigan, an applicant:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Have at least two years of experience (4,000 hours) as a journey plumber immediately preceding the date of application.
  • Pass the Master Plumber exam
  • Submit a license application and pay the $300 license fee.

Step 7: Obtain a Plumbing Contractor license

If you are looking to start your own plumbing business, getting a “Plumbing Contractor” license is the way to go.

This allows you to advertise the plumbing services, get commercial insurance coverage, pull building permits and pass inspections, bid on public and government projects. You may also employ other licensed plumbers.

To become a Plumber Contractor in Michigan, an applicant must:

  • Hold a Master Plumber license or employ a master plumber licensee as representative, 
  • Must be an owner of a sole proprietorship or partnership, or an officer of a corporation or limited liability company,
  • Provide full business or employment information for the preceding 5 years
  • Pass the Plumbing Contractor exam
  • Submit a license application and pay the $300 fee

Step 8: Renew the plumbing license

All Michigan Journey Plumber licensees must to renew their license annually. The renewal fee is $40.

On the other hand, all Master Plumbers must renew their license every three years and there is a renewal fee of $300.

To ensure that you’re keeping up with the Michigan Plumbing Code, all licensed plumbers are required to take an approved 5-hour code update course within one year after a new edition of Code is published.

Usually, the Licensing Division will notify you about it.

More info on the Michigan Plumber Exams

writing Michigan plumbing exam

The Journeyman Plumber Exam Questions: Based upon drainage systems, vent systems, fixtures, and water distribution along with backflow prevention, special waste systems, testing and inspections. Ability to gather information from an isometric drawing representing the practical side of plumbing.

Master Plumber Exam Questions: Based upon drainage systems, general knowledge, fixtures, water distribution, backflow protection, storm drains, special waste, testing, inspections, venting, and knowledge of the Skilled Trades Regulations Act, 2016 PA 407.

Contractor Plumber Exam Questions: Knowledge of the Skilled Trades Regulations Act, 2016 PA 407, any rules promulgated under this act, the Stille-Derossett-Hale single state construction code act (1972 PA 230) and the administration and enforcement procedures of the Michigan Plumbing Code.

Exam# of QuestionsMinimum passing scoreTime
Journeyman Plumber12570%3-hour
Master Plumber13070%3-hour
Contractor Plumber5070%2-hour

FAQ on being a plumber in Michigan

Plumber working on site

How much do plumbers make in Michigan?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021), plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters in Michigan make an average yearly income of $63,460. The income range typically ranges between $46,680 and $78,600. Top earning Michigan plumbers make over $84,360.

Your earning ability as a plumber is subjected to many variables such as your experience, licensing level, the type of properties you specialize, the company size, its location, and most importantly, the amount of effort you are willing to put into this career. 

How long does it take to become a plumber in Michigan?

It takes at least three years to become a journeyman plumber in Michigan and five years to become a master plumber or contractor plumber. That is the minimum period to fulfill the work experience requirement. The duration would also depend on how long you complete the apprenticeship program, and pass the state-required exam.

How much does it cost to become a plumber in Michigan?

It costs $400 to obtain a plumbing license in Michigan, which includes the exam fee and license fee. The fees would depend on the plumbing license you’re pursuing.

In addition to the above, there will be other expenses such as tuition, E&O insurance, and plumbing equipment.

Some companies may pay or reimburse you if you work as their employee. But if you are running your own practice, these are the cost you need to account for yourself.

Which states have plumbing license reciprocity with Michigan?

Michigan has no reciprocity agreement with any other states at this time.

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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on this site may contain views and opinions from individual not related to JCHQ Publishing. They do not necessarily reflect our view or position.

Reference:

  • Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (source)
  • CANDIDATE INFORMATION BULLETIN (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters (source)
  • Candidate Information Bulletin (source)

Author

  • Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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