Plumber License

A plumber license (sometimes referred to as a journeyman plumber license) is required to perform plumbing work, either directly or as an owner or employee of a licensed plumbing contractor.

City of Chicago plumber licenses are issued by the Board of Plumbing Examiners through the Department of Buildings. Plumber licenses issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are also valid and recognized in the City of Chicago so long as the plumber’s employer has a City of Chicago plumbing contractor license.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a plumber license required?

All employees of a City of Chicago licensed plumbing contractor that are engaged in the planning, inspection, designing, or installation of plumbing systems must be plumbers or apprentice plumbers licensed by either the City of Chicago or State of Illinois.

If a plumbing contractor is organized as a sole proprietorship, the proprietor must be a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago.

If a plumbing contractor is organized as a firm, association, or partnership, at least one member must be a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago.

If a plumbing contractor is organized as a corporation, at least one corporate officer must be a plumber licensed by the City of Chicago.

Are there different types of plumber licenses?

No, there is only one type of City of Chicago plumber license.

Who may obtain a plumber license?

Plumber licenses are issued to individuals who have work experience as an apprentice plumber or plumber and have passed written and practical examinations.

What is required to obtain a plumber license?

To obtain a plumber license, an individual must pass written and practical examinations demonstrating their knowledge of plumbing.

To be eligible to take the written examination, an individual must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have one of the following types of experience:
    • engaged in plumbing as a plumber's apprentice for at least four years
    • successfully completed an approved course of instruction in plumbing, sanitary engineering or plumbing engineering in a trade school, college, or university

An applicant will not be allowed to take a practical examination before passing the written examination. 

An applicant who is licensed as a plumber in another jurisdiction may be licensed without examination.

How do I apply for a new plumber license?

Continental Testing Services processes plumber license applications and administers written examinations on behalf of the Department of Buildings.

Applications are submitted through the Continental Testing Services web site.

Applicants who have failed an examination must wait at least 1 month before reapplying.

How do I renew an existing plumber license?

Existing plumber licenses are renewed through the Department of Buildings web portal.

As part of the renewal process, licensed plumbers must verify that they have completed at least 4 hours of continuing education in plumbing.

A plumber license cannot be renewed if it has been expired for 5 or more years. Individuals who were previously licensed as plumbers and are ineligible to renew may apply for a new license if they meet the qualifications.

How much does a plumber license cost?

These fees apply to plumber licenses:

Fee Type Amount
Examination Fee (per exam) $149.00
Initial License Fee $30.00
Renewal Fee (per year) $30.00
Reinstatement Fee (per year or fraction of a year expired) $14.00

How long is a plumber license valid?

A plumber license is valid for one year from issuance or renewal.

Ordinances and Rules 

Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 4-332: Plumbers
Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 4-336: Plumbing Contractors

This information is provided to help you better understand licensing requirements in the City of Chicago. It may not reflect all conditions, limitations, or exceptions that may apply to a particular situation and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. To the extent the information on this page differs from the Municipal Code of Chicago or applicable rules, the ordinance or rule controls.