Iowa Plumbing License

Iowa Plumbing License

There are so many things you need to do to become a certified plumber. Yet, the effort and time you will put into them can lead to a lucrative and long-lasting career.

The work of tradesmen in this sphere is complicated and has an impact on the safety and health of society. Correspondingly, almost every state requires them to be certified.

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Iowa hires 4,590 tradesmen of the 469,900 known nationwide. So, the state claims workers to get an Iowa plumbing license in the first place.


In IA there are 4 main certification types and one sublicense. Here they are:

  • Apprentice
  • Journeyman
  • Master level
  • Contractor
  • Reconnect/Disconnect Plumbing Technician Specialty

To qualify for the licensure, the applicants should meet the requirements of each of the above-mentioned types. To make it easier, we have combined those requirements in a short, a few-step guide for you below.

Licensing requirements

The Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems’ Board  is accountable for the licensing process of plumbers, contractors, and mechanical specialists.

So, initially, you must be:

  1. no less than 18 years old;
  2. a graduate of GED equivalent/high school.


  • Register in an apprentice program organized by the US Department of Labor, Apprenticeship Office;
  • Apply with the Board for an apprentice certification, meet all needs, make payments and get the certification;
  • Work under a certified journeyman/master’s supervision for four years;
  • Request, take/pass exams, meet the needs, pay the fee and get a Journey level license;
  • Get employed by a licensed master and gain a two-year experience as a certified journeyman;
  • Request, take/pass the examinations, meet the requirements, make payments and receive a Mater level certification;
  • Work for an unspecified period of time for a certified contractor or register with the IA Division of Labor and the board AND (if you want to operate your own business);
  • Meet all the needs including unemployment insurance, public liability insurance, surety bond, workers compensation insurance, pay the fees and apply/receive the contractor license.

Note: Apprentice programs last from four to five years. They include 2,000 hands-on training and 144 classroom instruction hours.


In short, you can apply online or send a paper version to:

Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board, Dept. of Public Health
321 E 12th Street Des Moines,
IA 50319

The exams

So far, the IA Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board approves exam requests only for Master/Journeyman:

  • Plumbing
  • HVAC/Refrigeration
  • Mechanical
  • Sheet Metal
  • Hydronics

After you submit the request to the board office, they verify the information and send an Exam Approval Letter. The latter helps you to schedule your examination through Kirkwood Community College.


For the Iowa Examination Candidate Request, you must pay a $35 fee for each trade exam. Also, an additional $109 must be given to Kirkwood College to schedule your test.

The time

A minimum of 42 months the licensee spends to complete and reach a journey level. Master’s will take you 2 years. Additional time will take the appliance to become a contractor.

However, there is good news. You can still earn money as an apprentice and the wage will increase. Moreover, it will continue growing at the journeyman and master levels.

The costs

For an apprentice, the costs are quite low. For a three-year period, you need $50 for the license application.
Similarly, the other authorizations have various fees for the three-year period:

  • Journey: $180
  • Master: $240
  • Contractor: $250 to PMSB, $150 to the IA Workforce Development/Division of Labor for registration.

Note: The amount of money depends on when exactly during that period you apply.

The Wage

According to the US Bureau of Labor, the mean wage is $59,050 annually. Yet, it is due to increase with more experience.
For an apprentice plumber, it is $20.06 for an hour and $5,404 annually. Journeymen receive $27.11 for an hour and $6,75 yearly.

However, your current location and other factors like extra skills, education, certificates, and years of experience in this field can impact the salary.

Alla M.

Alla M.

Alla is a SEO specialist and a content writer with an experience of 10 years. She has written many articles for different websites and companies. Alla has been working with writing challenged clients for over four years. She provides ghost writing, coaching and ghost editing services. Her educational background in family science and linguistics has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. Alla writes SEO articles for businesses that want to see their Google search rankings surge. Her articles have appeared in a number of websites, including, and She contributes articles about SEO techniques regularly. Her articles focus on balancing informative with SEO needs–but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read.