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Getting Your Idaho Plumbing Contractor License

Getting Your Idaho Plumbing Contractor License

Getting your Idaho plumbing contractor license has only three main requirements. But fulfilling these requirements is challenging. This short article will take you through the steps to go from a plumbing apprentice, to a journeyman, and a contractor license.

The Difference

Before getting into the details of ascending through the Idaho plumbing licenses, let's highlight the different types of plumbing licenses because this will impact the route you take.

Plumbing Apprentice

This is not an official license. However, when you start your plumbing career, you must start by registering as a plumbing apprentice.

Being an apprentice is how you will gain the knowledge and learn the skills so progress in your career.

Plumbing Journeyman

Once you obtain a level of education and on-the-job experience, you can obtain your journeyman license.

Journeyman plumbers are the individuals or businesses who are doing the installations, improvements, or alterations of various plumbing systems.

Plumbing Contractor

Once you obtain the necessary experience as a journeyman plumber and you take a specialized exam, you can obtain your plumbing contractor license.

This is the highest level of plumbing licensure in Idaho. This role typically is the agent of a firm or corporation and skilled in the planning and supervision of the construction, installation, and improvement of any type of plumbing system.

Specialty Plumbing Classification

Specialty plumbing licenses have a focus and expertise in:

  • Water heating appliances
  • Water treatment
  • Air and space temperature equipment that involves portable water
  • Temperature and pressure relief values
  • Condensation drainage
  • Indirect drainage
  • Water pump speciality

Ascending From Apprentice To Contractor

There are 3 steps to ascend to a full plumbing contractor. First, register as an apprentice. Second, get licensed as a journeyman. Finally, get licensed as a contractor license.

Step 1 Register as a Plumbing Apprentice

An apprentice must register with the Division of Occupation and Professional Licenses and being registered is the only way accrued hours of experience will be counted. Plus all hours must be under the supervision of a licensed journeyman plumber.

Step 2 - Get a Plumbing Journeyman License

You can get licensed as a journeyman by accruing 8,000 hours and 576 hours from an accredited school. Or you can accrue 16,000 hours of total hours in the field experience.

There are three ways you can qualify for a Journeyman license:

  • Apprenticeship school pathway
  • Work experience pathway
  • Reciprocity pathway

The Apprenticeship School Pathway

Attend an approved plumbing apprenticeship program and accrue 576 hours of in-class instruction.

Here's a list of the current Board approved programs. Keep in mind this can change so keep up to date on the Idaho Division of Occupation and Professional Licenses website.

  • College of Southern Idaho
  • College of Western Idaho
  • College of Eastern Idaho
  • Idaho State University
  • Lewis-Clark State College
  • North Idaho College
  • Porter House Inc. (Shelley and Mountain Home locations)
  • Treasure Valley Community College
  • Boise Plumbing JATC (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee)
  • Pocatello Plumbing JATC

In addition to the 576 hours of in-class instruction, 8,000 hours of in-the-field instruction under the supervision of a journeyman plumber is required.

Remember, for the hours to count, you must be officially registered as a plumbing apprentice.

Work Experience Pathway

This pathway is very straight forward.

If you accrue 16,000 hours of supervised plumbing work, you can qualify through this pathway. Pipefitting and appliance specialty work does not count towards the hours.

Just to put 16,000 hours into context, this would easily take 5 to 6+ years to complete.

Reciprocity Pathway

Reciprocity means you're taking experience as a licensed plumber from another state and using it to get licensed in Idaho.

Idaho has agreements with the following states:

  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Washington

You can use your experience from these states by filling out the License Verification Form.

If you're using experience from Montana or Washington, you must show active residency in those states and be actively holding the licensure from those states while applying for Idaho licensure.

Whichever state you're bringing experience from, your verification must show:

  • A list of requirements for obtaining a license in the the state
  • Proof of an active license in the state
  • Proof of licensure through examination

Journeyman And Specialty Journeyman Examination

The exams for the Journeyman and Specialty Journeyman license cover the state plumbing code. You're allowed to use the following as approved references:

  • 2017 Idaho State Plumbing Code
  • 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code

The exam for Journeyman licenses is 4 hours covering all of the plumbing code. There is no business or law examination requirement.

The exam for Specialty Journeyman is 2.5hours covering Appliance and water pump code. There is no business or law examination requirement.

Step 3 - Plumbing Contractor License

There are two main requirements for getting your contractor license. One you need to complete a 4 hour license exam and two, you must purchase a surety bond.

Once you have your Journeyman license, there are only two steps required to become a Plumbing Contractor:

  • Take the 4 hour contractor plumbing exam
  • Purchase a $2,000 surety bond

The Plumbing Contractor exam covers come plumbing code topics but the main purpose is to test your knowledge of the Idaho Business and Law material.

Finally, the last step is purchasing a surety bond.


What is a Surety Bond?

This is not like traditional insurance. It's a required purchase you must make for the protection of your customers.

A surety bond is a type of insurance required by the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses.

This is not like your traditional insurance that you purchase to protect you and your business. Rather you're required to purchase this surety bond as protection for your customers.

A surety bond is one of the primary ways a licensing agency, like the Division, can hold plumbing contractors accountable to the promises they make to their customers.

This surety bond - often called a contractor license bond - protects customers from purposeful acts of misconduct and/or fraud that harm a plumber's customer.

Example of these fraudulent actions can include:

  • Not starting on a project after collecting a down payment
  • Not using the appropriate materials for the job to save money
  • Not following plumbing code and purposefully performing inferior work

If a plumber is found guilty of any of these actions, the customer can make a claim against the bond for financial recourse. However, the claim must be valid and less than or equal to the $2,000 bond amount.

How Much Is The $2,000 Plumbing Bond?

Get your bond today. You can purchase your Idaho plumbing bond today for a fixed price.

$2,000 is the bond amount.

The price a is small fraction of this amount. For most contractor bonds, personal credit is the determining factor.

But for the Idaho Plumbing contractor bond, Surety Bonds Direct has already secured a low fixed price of $100 that requires zero credit check.

Bond Type Bond Amount Purchase Today
Idaho Plumbing Contractor $2,000 Purchase Today

You can purchase your bond today and have it issued without one business day.

Continuing Education Requirements

Finally, there are continuing education requirements for both Journeyman and Contractor licenses.

Journeyman licenses require:

  • 8 hours of continuing education for every 3 year license cycle
  • 4 of the hours must be plumbing code related
  • 4 of the hours must be industry related training

You can opt out of the 8 hours by taking an exam administered by the Division.

Plumbing Contractors require 16 hours of continuing education for every 3 year license cycle.

If You Need To Get Bonded Surety Bonds Direct Can Help

I hope this article helped explain the process and license types for Idaho plumbing.

As you can see, the process is not complicated but the amount of experience required is significant.

Whether you're a standard plumber or specialty, you're not required to get your Plumbing Contractor license. Yet, if you choose to get your contractor license, we are here to help you get bonded fast.

Click here to visit our Idaho contractor surety bond page.

You can read more about the bond itself and purchase it as well.

Surety Bonds Direct   Owen Hardy  

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