When you decide to become a plumber in Florida you are left with a few options; working as a general contractor throughout the whole state, or working as an individual plumber in only your local jurisdiction (businesses and employers must possess a state license). In Florida, the individual plumber is licensed by the city or county while the contractual plumber is licensed by the state.
To keep you on your toes, every state has different licensing requirements. Florida plumber licensing is conducted through the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board that is facilitated through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FDBPR). The typical trajectory of a plumber starting out begins with an apprenticeship, progresses to becoming a journeyman plumber, and finishes as a master plumber.
Florida Plumbing License Reciprocity
In Florida, there are no reciprocity agreements. Florida will recognize if you are already licensed as an electrical contractor in particular states, but nothing in terms of plumbing license reciprocity. If you move state-to-state there is a good possibility that you must retake the licensing exam for that particular state; for example, Florida. All specific licenses must appear on the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reciprocal classifications list.
Florida Contractor License Types
Contractor licenses are approved at the state level and operate under the FDBPR. Florida offers two categorizations for licensing:
- Registered license: allows contractors to work throughout Florida;
- Certified license: limits contractual work to local jurisdictions.
After the broad classification is taken care of, the future contractors can specify which type of contractor license they intend to apply for:
- General Contractor: This allows for construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of any building;
- Building Contractor: This allows for construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of buildings that are three stories or under;
- Residential Contractor: This allows for construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of buildings that are two stories or under.
Florida Contractors License Application Requirements
Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board controls many types of contractor license requirements, but generally, the parameters follow as such:
- 18 years of age;
- Proof that current assets exceed the current liabilities;
- Obtaining at least a 660 FICO credit score;
- Submitting electronic fingerprints;
- Proof of insurance;
- Passing the Florida State Construction Exam;
- Completing the application;
- Paying the application and/or licensing fees.
Florida Plumbing Journeyman License Requirements
Journeyman plumbing licenses are dependent on the local government, but generally, the state follows an industry standard. Aside from having at least four years of experience, there are several steps towards becoming a journeyman, such as an apprenticeship training and around 150 in-class hours per year. Although becoming a journeyman plumber yields higher pay and more independence, typically a journeyman is still under the supervision of a master plumber.
License renewal and initial submission requirements are dependent on the county. Application links are provided below for the state:
- General Contractor license for businesses
- General Contractor license for individuals
- Certified Contractor for businesses
- Certified Contractor for individuals
Plumbing Journeyman Exam
The state (or sometimes local) government requires the plumbing journeyman exam as a part of becoming licensed. This is required to safeguard the public and validate plumbing expertise. The exam can be administered via computer or paper-based. Typically the test is around 100 questions and takes anywhere from two to five hours. The exam price varies because there is no statewide license in Florida. There are study guides, practice tests and flashcards available.
Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements
If you do not have your license, a plumbing apprenticeship is an entry-level step towards making plumbing a career. The initial requirements generally include being 18 years of age and obtaining a high school degree (or GED). Plumbing apprenticeships rarely require a license; this is the case for Florida. An apprentice has two options; working independently, or joining a program through an independent agency or trade school. The timeline of plumbing apprenticeships in Florida is five years. These five years are under the supervision of a journeyman or master plumber. Although there are assumptions of pro-bono work with the title “apprentice,” plumbing apprentices are indeed paid. In some cases, there are no tuition fees, nor any other fees for books.
Plumbing apprentices balance on-the-job training and classroom training. The classroom training facilitates safety, plumbing lingo, and other plumbing matters. This typically is a total of 1,800 hours over a span of 5 years. The on-the-job training creates the ability to put the classroom training into applicable action. This typically is a total of 10,000 hours over a span of 5 years.
Following the apprentice route towards becoming a plumber creates a very framed program. There are quite a few apprentice programs available in Florida. Apprentice jobs vary depending on the type of plumber that you apprentice under so speaking to a regional representative is the most viable option, but there are other resources for finding plumbing apprentice jobs including:
- Online job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Ziprecruiter, etc;
- Cold-call plumbing businesses;
- Trade colleges that have connections to apprenticeship sponsors;
- Recommendations from plumbers.
Plumbing Trade Schools in Florida
There are many different types of plumbing trade schools throughout Florida. There are public, private and for-profit plumbing trade schools. Some of these include:
Florida Professional License Search
State governments that assign professional licensing have a database of licensed contractors that are regulated by the FDBPR and can be found online. This acts as a resource for potential employers to verify an electrician’s credentials and it includes the ability to search for contractors by name, license number, city, or type of license. All the public records can be downloaded as well.