How to Become a Plumber in Iowa

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The Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board is in charge of all plumbing and mechanical licensing in the state.

Actually, all contractors must be approved by not only the Board but also the Iowa Workforce Development Division of Labor.

So as to reach plumbing contractor licensure, you will need to make a progress from a state-approved apprenticeship to a journeyman license and finally to a master’s license.

In our article, you will find the information about all you need to know to start your journey towards a plumbing license.

Iowa Plumbing License Reciprocity

It is worth mentioning that license reciprocity in Iowa is available for journeymen and masters from the states of Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Plumbers with this level of experience may waive the required exam if they already have a similar license.

In order to receive reciprocity, plumbers must attach proof of licensure and a certificate of good standing, issued by their state.

Iowa Master Plumbing License Requirements

Master Plumber is the highest level of licensure in the state of Iowa.

Master plumbers are individuals who are allowed to work in the planning and supervising of plumbing-related projects.

Licensed journeymen and apprentices will work under their supervision.

A master plumber in the state of Iowa can become a person who meets the following criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years old;
  • Must provide legal documents of any past criminal offenses;
  • Must pass the licensing exam.

Two important things to mention – Before being allowed to sit for the exam, both master and journeymen must submit an examination approval application, and upon passing their exams, both must submit a post-examination application for licensure.

IowaPlumbing Journeyman License Requirements

If you reach the level of a licensed journeyman in Iowa, you will be allowed to perform designs, installations, or repairs either alone or under the supervision of a master plumber.

There are again some requirements for becoming a licensed journeyman including:

  • Must be at least 18 years old;
  • Must provide legal documents of any past criminal offenses;
  • Must have completed at least four years of practical experience from an apprenticeship training program registered by the U.S. Department of Labor;
  • Must pass the licensing exam.

Plumbing Journeyman Exam

The Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Boards are in charge of examinations and there are various exams for the following fields:

  • Master and Journeyperson Plumbing;
  • Master and Journeyperson Hydronics;
  • Master and Journeyperson HVAC/Refrigeration;
  • Master and Journeyperson Mechanical;
  • Journeyperson Sheet Metal.

For each of the fields, there is a fee of $35 that has to be paid.

Journeymen applications and fees can be sent either by mail or online.

In the email that was sent to you within 1 hour after your registration, there is your user name and password needed to take the test.

You should arrive at least 30 minutes earlier in order to verify your identity and allow time for you to sign in.

On the spot, you must present a valid form of identification before you can test such as a driver’s license, state-issued identification card, military identification card, or passport.

The Journeymen with the gas exam is an open book exam consisting of 75 questions and applicants have 3 hours to finish it.

Some of the subjects that are covered in this exam are:

  • General Knowledge of the Uniform Plumbing Code 31%
  • Drainage, Waste, and Vent Systems 36%
  • Water Supply and Distribution 22%
  • Fuel Piping 11%

Master Plumber with the Gas exam is also an Open Book exam which includes 125 questions and you will have 5 hours to finish it.

Subjects covered by this exam are:

  • Chapter 2 – Definitions 2%
  • Chapter 3 – General Regulations 4%
  • Chapter 4 – Plumbing Fixtures and Fixture Fittings 3%
  • Chapter 5 – Water Heaters 20%
  • Chapter 6 – Water Supply and Distribution 12%
  • Chapter 7 – Sanitary Drainage 12%
  • Chapter 8 – Indirect Wastes 2%
  • Chapter 9 – Vents 2%
  • Chapter 10 – Traps and Interceptors 3%
  • Chapter 11 – Storm Drainage 2%
  • Chapter 12 – Fuel Gas Piping 4%
  • Chapter 13 – Health Care Facilities and Medical Gas and Medical Vacuum Systems 4%
  • Chapter 14 – Firestop Protection 2%
  • Chapter 15 – Alternate Water Sources for Nonpotable Applications 2%
  • Sizing – Water Systems Sizing 9%
  • Sizing – Drain, Waste and Vent Systems Sizing 10%
  • Sizing – Fuel Pipe Sizing 6%

You can choose the testing center that is closest to your place among the following testing locations:

  • Ankeny IA
  • Des Moines IA
  • Dubuque IA
  • Cedar Rapids IA
  • Council Bluffs IA
  • Creston IA
  • Estherville IA
  • Fort Dodge IA
  • Ottumwa IA
  • Marshalltown IA
  • Mason City IA
  • Sheldon IA
  • Sioux City IA
  • Tipton IA
  • Waterloo IA

Iowa Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements

When choosing which apprentice program you will attend it is important to make sure that it is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.

Plumbing apprentices must be licensed with the Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board.

Once you reach your licensure, as an apprentice, you can work only under the direct supervision of a journeyman or master.

Plumbing-specific requirements for apprenticeship include:

  • Must be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate, or have your GED;
  • Must provide legal documents of any past criminal offenses;
  • Must prove you are working under the supervision of either a licensed journeyman or master plumber;
  • Must be enrolled in an apprenticeship program that is registered under the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship.

When applying for an apprenticeship, you are supposed to complete the Apprenticeship Application Form and pay the required fees.

You should send completed applications:

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

Plumbing Apprentice Jobs

It is very useful to take advantage of job search tools like Indeed.

There you can find apprenticeships in Iowa, but it is your responsibility to check and make sure that any apprenticeship found there is certified by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeships.

Plumbing Trade Schools in Iowa

State-approved plumbing apprenticeships are conducted at community colleges in Iowa and these are just some of the most prominent ones:

Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA

  • Institution: Public/Trade School;
  • Tuition(in-state): $176 per credit hour;
  • Duration of Program: 35 credits;
  • For more information, call 319-398-4983.

Hawkeye Community College in Cedar Falls, IA

  • Institution: Public/Trade School;
  • Tuition(in-state): $925 for level 1 classes;
  • Duration of Program: 144 training hours for level 1;
  • For more information, call 319-296-4290.

Salary

The average Plumber salary in Iowa is $54,914.

Annual Salary Range:

$47K
$54K
$62K

Average Salary of Plumbers in Iowa

City NameSalary
Des Moines$55,510
Cedar Rapids$54,444
Davenport$54,196
Sioux City$47,742
Waterloo$51,873
Iowa City$53,996
Council Bluffs$54,251
Dubuque$53,803
Ames$54,994
West Des Moines$55,510
* Salary information last updated 2020

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