How to Become a Licensed Plumber in North Carolina – NC?

Plumbing is somewhat the best skill-based job across the country. It’s long-lasting, lucrative, and offers career security along with never-ending opportunities to grow and a more than average median salary of a US person.

There’s no denying the importance of plumbers. However, it takes efforts of several years to master the trade and familiarize yourself with state-wide government rules. Because plumbing is such a complex job that impacts our society’s health and safety, almost every state requires individuals to get a license before starting plumbing work.

More so, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that there are approximately 12,160 licensed plumbers in NC. And a recent report from CareerOneStop carried out that there would be a significant 19% growth for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.

In fact, almost 70% of firms in NC were looking for skilled craftsmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVACR in 2020, according to the Associated General Contractors of America survey.

So, if you have the urge to become a licensed plumber in NC. Or, if you want to know how to become a licensed plumber in North Carolina, here’s the complete guide. Follow through the article to get to know all the necessary information.

North Carolina Licensed Plumber Complete Guide

To get your general contractor license or plumbing license, you will need to get things done from North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. They manage all the plumbing and construction licenses and applications. It includes payments, routine checks, exams, and everything regarding contractor license. 

North Carolina Available Contractor Licenses and Regulations

For contractors, North Carolina Board offers three types of licenses to acquire before bidding on jobs, including;

  1. Limited License: It allows you to work under surpass of $500K. You must also have a working capital of $17K and a total net worth up to $80K. All in all, it requires you to get at least a $350K surety bond.
  2. Intermediate License: It allows you to manage projects that surpass $1M. You must have a working capital of $75K and a surety bond of $1M as well.  
  3. Unlimited License: It allows you to work for any budget and size. However, you should have a working capital of $150K and possess a surety bond worth $2M.
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What Types Of Licenses Are Available To Plumbers In North Carolina?

Unlike other states, North Carolina doesn’t have the three classifications of lumbers, like master or journeyman or apprentice plumber. In North Carolina, contractors can purchase three different plumber licenses, while plumbing technicians can obtain a sublicense.

  • P-I (Plumbing -Class I) Contractor: Deals in potable water and drain/waste/vent piping systems in a commercial building.
  • P-II (Plumbing-Class II) Contractor: Level 2 plumbers can manage potable water and drain/waste/vent piping systems on single-family housing that is detached. No apartments included.
  • RLP (Restricted Limited Plumbing) Contractor: Operates on exterior/interior building sewer piping and water filtration systems.
  • Plumbing Technician: Can manage potable water and drain/waste/vent piping systems. Though it’s not a general license, so you need to get a sublicense of a P-I, P-II, or RLP Contractor.

How To Get Any Of The Above Plumbing Contractor License In North Carolina?

To get any of the above plumbing licenses in North Carolina, you will need to meet a criterion it includes;

  • Get the Licensing Board’s Laws and Rules book and read it all over.
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training or 2 years of technical training is required by the state.
  • Include a $25 application fee – fill all the necessary options in the application form and mail it.
  • Sit in the state exam and pass it with good grades to get a license.

All in all, you can your examination form to the following address;

State Board of Examiner of Plumbing

Heating and Fire Sprinkling Contractors

1109 Dresser Court

Raleigh, NC 27609

Cost To Get a Plumbing License in North Carolina?

It costs a few hundred dollars to obtain a North Carolina plumbing license. There is a $25 application fee. After that, applicants must pass an examination, and exams can cost up to $100. Licenses are $125 at first, and however, there is a $125 annual license renewal fee.

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Those preparing for their plumbing exam can get many study materials and books. Some of these items are expensive. Nevertheless, they are useful and worth purchasing. But they aren’t must-have items.

Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements

Unlike other states, applying for a plumbing license in North Carolina is easy peasy. However, to get eligible for the exam, you will be required to have;

  • Two years of education in a state-approved trade school/apprenticeship program along with hands-on two years work experience proof under a licensed plumber.  
  • Or, a North Carolina plumber must receive four years of training under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber.

Plumbing License Exam Requirements in North Carolina

North Carolina licensing exams are the only way to become licensed there. If you want to qualify for the license, you must take the test at a PSI testing center and achieve a score of 70% on the test.

During the test, there will be 100 multiple choice questions, and you will need to finish them within four hours. Also, you need to pay a $100 examination fee prior to sitting in an exam.

There are numerous plumbing practice tests available online that you can use to prepare for this exam. In case you’re wondering how to prepare for either the plumber (P-I & P-II) license examination or the restricted, limited plumber (RLP) exam, we have the following information:

Business & Law exam – You will get 1 hour and 30 minutes to attend the exam;

  • Project Management
  • Employee Management
  • Financial management
  • Taxes
  • Liens
  • Record keeping
  • OSHA Safety
  • Licensing
  • Estimating and Bidding
  • Business Organization
  • Risk Management
  • Contracts
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The exam has a plumbing portion that allots 4 hours to be completed; it includes subjects like;

  • Vents
  • Traps, Interceptors, and Separators
  • Storm Drainage
  • Nonpotable Water Systems
  • Subsurface Landscape Irrigation Systems
  • Isometric Theory
  • Plumbing Math
  • General Regulations
  • Fixtures, Faucets, and Fixture Fittings
  • Water Heaters
  • Water Supply and Distribution
  • Sanitary Drainage
  • Indirect and Special Waste
  • Hands-on-Practical Application
  • International Fuel Gas Code
  • Copper Projects
  • Administration, Scope, Intent/Purpose
  • Definitions and Symbols

A Mandatory Criminal Background Check – Nationwide

The approved provider must provide you with background check information. The applicant must obtain a nationwide criminal background check from and attach a copy of the report to the application.

Reporting services charge applicants for costs associated with the reports. Application packets include detailed instructions. Infractions in the past won’t automatically disqualify you. A criminal conviction will be considered by the Board when assessing your application.

North Carolina Plumbing License Reciprocity

Not at all. There is no reciprocity agreement between North Carolina and any other state. North Carolina licenses are awarded to those who meet the requirements and pass the examination(s). Experience gained during active service can be credited to military personnel or spouses. To learn more, click here.

An exception would only be for contractors with a P-II license from South Carolina.

By completing this form, you may be eligible for a technical exam waiver if you are licensed and in good standing with the State of South Carolina. Waivers are only for technical exams; candidates will need to sit for and pass the North Carolina Business and Law exam in addition.

North Carolina Plumber’s Mean Salary

Your goal is to earn a decent salary after getting the license. Plumber salaries vary wildly from city to city in North Carolina, but on average, they are $54,837.

A plumber’s salary is influenced by a number of factors, including the development of the area in which they work as well as their level of expertise and knowledge.

There is no doubt that licensed plumbers earn more money than an apprentice.


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