How to Become a Plumber in Tennessee

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How the licenses for plumbers in Tennessee are categorized depends on the scope of work and the value of the projects that plumbers plan to do.

Plumbers will need to fulfill the requirements to obtain a general contractor’s license in Tennessee to obtain a plumbing license.

To perform plumbing work in Tennessee, you will likely need to be licensed for one of two classifications:

  • Contractor (CMC-A) license which is recognized statewide, and you need to possess it if you plan to wor on plumbing projects exceeding $25,000. It falls under the “subcontractor” classification when applying to be a general contractor in Tennessee and applicants will be required to take the Tennessee Business and Law exam.
  • Limited Licensed Plumber (LLP) is necessary if you plan to work on projects under $25,000. It is usually issued to an individual, rather than a business entity and he/she will take a smaller exam than what is required for a CMC-A. Tennessee plumbers may also need to obtain licenses from the city/county they are aiming to perform work in.

Both the above-mentioned licenses will be issued through the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Board for Licensing Contractors once you provide your proof of experience, exams, and various insurance documents.

Tennessee Plumbing License Reciprocity

Eight states offer a reciprocal agreement with a Tennessee contractors license with the exception of Ohio which does not include plumbing:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Ohio

An LLP license has no reciprocity with these states, but Ohio does offer a reciprocal agreement to waive the trade exam if you have the CMC-A plumbing license in Tennessee.

It is worth noting that reciprocity for the states only waives the trade exam, meaning that you have to fulfill all the necessary requirements to obtain a plumbing license in Tennessee even though you already hold one in one of those eight states.

Tennessee Plumbing Journeyman License Requirements

The CMC-A license is very close to a traditional journeyman plumber’s license in Tennessee.

A Tennessee contractor’s license is required to obtain a CMC-A plumbing license.

We would like to inform you that the successful completion of a Tennessee contractors license (and CMC-A plumbing license) will include the following:

  • An applicant may operate as a sole proprietor, corporation, partnership, or LLC.
  • He/she has to pass the required exams – The Tennessee Business and Law exam which is a prerequisite for all Tennessee contractor’s licenses, and the trade exam deemed necessary for a CMC-A license.
  • A qualified agent must verify at least three years of plumbing experience to take the Tennessee CMC-A mechanical plumbing exam and must fill out a Tennessee Plumbing Exam Pre-Approval Request form.
  • A financial report may be reviewed or audited by a Certified Public Accountant or a licensed Public Accountant.
  • Demonstrating proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance
  • Paying all licensing and the application fee which is $250 for a license that is valid for two years.
  • Submitting your application by the 20th of each month, and an applicant can expect their license to be approved in 4 to 6 weeks.

To get an LLP license in Tennessee, you must complete the following steps:

  • Disclose any convictions;
  • Have and provide proof of at least one year of experience;
  • Take the LLP plumber exam and receive a passing score (the exam will cost $55) through PSI exams;
  • Submit a notarized LLP application — including a $75 license application fee.

Tennessee LLP plumbing exam

Business and Law Management exam consists of 50 questions and you need to score 73%  to pass rate.

You will be given 140 minutes to finish the exam and these are the subjects that are covered with it:

  • 5 Questions – Licensing Requirements
  • 7 Questions – Estimating and Bidding
  • 7 Questions – Business Organization and Financial Management
  • 5 Questions – Tax Laws
  • 5 Questions – Labor Laws
  • 6 Questions – Project Management and Lien Law
  • 6 Questions – Contracts
  • 4 Questions – Risk Management
  • 5 Questions – Environmental and Safety

Limited Licensed Plumber Exam includes 40 questions and you will also need 73% to pass.

Applicants are given 135 minutes to provide correct answers to the questions that cover the following subjects:

  • 5 Questions – General Knowledge and Math
  • 4 Questions – General Requirements (not including Gas) Administrative, Structural, Backflow, Materials and Supports, Joints and Connections, Storm Drains, Testing
  • 4 Questions – Water Supply and Distribution
  • 2 Questions – Fixtures, including Water Heaters
  • 10 Questions – Drain, Waste, and Vent Systems, including Indirect and Special Waste
  • 2 Questions – Traps, Cleanouts, and Interceptors
  • 7 Questions – Isometric Analysis
  • 4 Questions – Gas Appliances and Piping
  • 2 Questions – OSHA Safety

This is an open book exam and you can prepare for it by reading the books:

  • Reading and Understanding the PSI Bulletin
  • Books That You Should Have During the Exam
  • Effective Study Techniques

When coming to the testing site, you need to bring:

  • A silent, nonprinting, non-programmable calculator
  • International Plumbing Code, 2012, International Code Council
  • International Fuel Gas Code, 2012, International Code Council
  • Mathematics for Plumbers and Pipefitters, Lee Smith, 8th Edition, 2013
  • Code of Federal Regulations – 29 CFR Part 1926 (OSHA) OR Code of Federal Regulations – 29 CFR Part 1926 Selections by PSI, with latest available amendments

You can choose the testing location which is closest to your home:

  • Chattanooga
    6918 Shallowford Rd, Suite 314
    Chattanooga, TN 37421
  • Jackson
    368 North Parkway, #3
    Jackson, TN 38305
  • Johnson City
    904 Sunset Drive, Ste 7A
    Johnson City, TN 37604
  • Knoxville
    301 South Gallaher View Rd, Suite 114
    Knoxville, TN 37919
  • Memphis
    Apple Tree Center
    6099 Mt. Moriah Extended, Suite 17
    Memphis, TN 38115
  • Nashville
    The Oaks
    1102 Kermit Drive, Suite 101
    Nashville, TN 37217

Tennessee Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements

If you belong to aspiring plumbers in Tennessee, you have to know that it is obligatory to have at least one year of experience to acquire an LLP license and three years experience for a CMC-A mechanical plumber’s license.

To be able to reach this experience, you will need to enroll in an apprenticeship program.

You can become an apprentice is you possess a high school education or GED and you can also provide a plumbing resume or CV to show any industry-related qualifications.

This may make the application process easier when applying to apprenticeships.

Plumbing Trade Schools in Tennessee

These are the major trade schools in the three most populated cities in Tennessee:

Total Tech – Public, For-profit
909 Murfreesboro Pike
Nashville, TN, 37217
(615) 459-8024

Moore Tech – Private, Non-profit
1200 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 726-1977

Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Public, For-profit
1100 Liberty Street
Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 546-5567

Salary

The average Plumber salary in Tennessee is $ 52,222.

Annual Salary Range:

$45K
$52K
$59K

Average Salary of Plumbers in Tennessee

City NameSalary
Memphis$53,268
Nashville$53,305
Knoxville$53,141
Chattanooga$51,824
Clarksville$51,670
Murfreesboro$52,902
Jackson$52,865
Johnson City$50,028
Kingsport$50,216
Franklin$53,117
* Salary information last updated 2020

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