As with obtaining a general contractor’s license in North Carolina, becoming a licensed plumber will be done entirely through the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. This includes payments, audits, examinations, and all facets regarding a contractor’s license. There are several classes of contractor licenses that are available and they include:
- Limited License: This classification of license allows for work that surpasses $500,000. The individual must also have a working capital of $17,000, a net worth of $80,000, and a surety bond of at least $350,000;
- Intermediate License: This classification of license allows for work that surpasses $1,000,000. The individual must also have a working capital of $75,000 and a surety bond of at least $1,000,000;
- Unlimited License: This classification of license allows for work of any size. The individual must also have a working capital of $150,000 and a surety bond of at least $2,000,000.
North Carolina Plumbing License Reciprocity
North Carolina does not offer plumbing license reciprocity agreements between states. There are some misconceptions about the license reciprocity because the state of North Carolina offers electrical license reciprocity agreements, but this does not cross over to the plumber licensing.
North Carolina Plumbing License Types
North Carolina differs from most states because their licensing operates entirely at the state level, and there are no journeyman or master plumbers — only plumbing contractors. The types of contractor plumbing licenses available in North Carolina are:
- P-I Contractor (Plumbing-Class I): Operates on potable water and drain, waste, vent piping systems in any type of building;
- P-II Contractor (Plumbing-Class II): Operates on potable water and drain, waste, vent piping systems in single-family housing that is detached from others (no apartments, duplexes, etc.);
- RLP Contractor (Restricted Limited Plumbing): Operates on interior/exterior building sewer piping, and water filtration systems.
In order to obtain one of the following licenses you will need to do the following:
- Purchase and look over the Licensing Board’s Laws and Rules book;
- Meet the state requirements of 2 years of technical training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training, or 4,000 hours of on-the-job training;
- Fill out and mail a license examination application and enclose associated testing fees;
- Take — and pass — the state examination test.
The completed application and examination fee of $25 can be sent via check to:
State Board of Examiner of Plumbing
Heating and Fire Sprinkling Contractors
1109 Dresser Court
Raleigh, NC 27609
Plumbing License Exam
In order to become licensed in the state of North Carolina, you must take (and pass) the North Carolina licensing exam. The exam needs to be taken at a PSI testing center, and a score of 70% is considered passing. The exam costs $100 to take, and it consists of 100 multiple choice questions with an allotted time of four hours. There are plumbing practice tests available to help go over the types of questions on the exam.
Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements
Before you can apply to become a plumber, you need to have either a combination of two years of technical training in a trade school alongside proof of experience apprenticing under a plumber that is licensed within North Carolina, or four years of training under the direct supervision of a licensed plumber in North Carolina. The two options follow as such when broken down into hours:
- 2 years of technical schooling and 2,000 hours apprenticing;
- 4 years — or 4,000 hours — of apprenticing.
North Carolina Plumbing Apprentice Jobs
Apprentice jobs are available through the North Carolina Department of Commerce. It is also recommended by many that have entered the field to speak with someone that is actively practicing the trade, or your regional representative. Other resources to help find plumbing apprentice jobs are:
- Online job boards such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Ziprecruiter, and Linkedin;
- Utilizing career centers within a plumbing trade school;
- Connecting with a head-hunter or recruitment coordinator;
- Cold-calling plumbing businesses.
Plumbing Trade Schools in North Carolina
School: Cleveland Community College
Contact Info: (704) 484-4000
Address: 137 S Post Road, Shelby, NC 28150
School: Forsyth Technical Community College
Contact Info: (336) 723-0371
Address: 2100 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103
School: Haywood Community College
Contact Info: (828) 627-2821
Address: 185 Freedlander Drive, Clyde, NC 28721
School: Stanly Community College
Contact Info: (704) 982-0121
Address: 141 College Drive, Albemarle, NC 28001
School: Wake Technical College
Contact Info: (919) 662-3515
Address: 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603
North Carolina Professional License Search
In order for a company — or an individual looking to hire a contractor — to validate and verify licensing credentials that a potential-hire possesses, they can utilize the North Carolina business & occupational license database to authenticate a license.