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What is a Master Plumber?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
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A master plumber is a licensed professional who installs and repairs various commercial and residential plumbing systems. He or she might specialize in designing new systems, laying or fitting pipes, or performing repairs and maintenance on appliances and fixtures. Master plumbers are often self-employed, though many work for local governments, construction companies, and plumbing supply stores.

Plumbing experts are vital to the design and construction of municipal, commercial, and residential water systems. Engineers often work with a master plumber to create blueprints for new systems and determine the cost of implementing new systems. Plumbers involved in design often allocate all the necessary materials and lead an installation team. After the construction of a new system, a master plumber might perform a detailed inspection to ensure that it is working properly and conforms with local plumbing codes.

Homes and businesses require the skills of a master plumber to install and repair pipes, appliances, and fixtures. A plumber usually follows blueprints and building codes when installing various fixtures, such as sinks and bathtubs. When a pipe or appliance stops functioning properly, a plumber will inspect the system, diagnose the problem, and perform any necessary replacements or repairs.

Master plumbers are usually knowledgeable about many different aspects of plumbing, though some choose to specialize in one or more areas. Pipelayers, for example, install pipes of all sizes to be used for water and gas transport. They connect pipes between sewers or water mains to to different facilities. Master pipefitters usually specialize in working with pressurized water systems, such as those used in manufacturing firms and power plants.

To become a master plumber, a person must typically obtain an associate degree from a community college or complete a training program at a vocational school. Many plumbers begin their careers as apprentices, where they assist experienced plumbers for four to five years to learn the trade firsthand. After completion of an apprenticeship, a plumber can begin practicing independently and prepare for a state- or country-specific licensing exam. Written exams test a person's general plumbing knowledge as well as his or her understanding of local plumbing codes and regulations.

There is generally a strong demand for licensed master plumbers to implement new water systems and maintain existing ones. Urbanization and population growth result in the need for experienced professionals in both residential and industrial facilities. Technological advances in waste water treatment plants and municipal water systems present new opportunities for plumbers working in all specialties.

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Discussion Comments
By anon351471 — On Oct 14, 2013

Thanks for all the great advice. I need to get some industrial plumbing done, but was wondering who I call for that.

By anon334230 — On May 11, 2013

All you have to do is call your local, or state plumbing board usually located in the Public Works Division and request a list of licensed contractors of that particular trade specific you are requiring.

Example: If you want to find a Master Plumber (like myself) request from your public works division an approved plumbing contractors List (or whatever trade you are looking for, as long as they are an approved contractor).

If they are approved, then that most likely means they not only are a Certified Master Plumbing Firm, but also usually have a on file bond with the state or local jurisdiction in case of any property damage.

The ones approved on the list usually have general liability coverage to register with the public works that further safely covers the client

By anon303528 — On Nov 14, 2012

Thanks for this information and post! Plumbers are readily available in most cities, however it is important to find one that fits your needs.

By uniqturtl — On Jun 08, 2011

@FebFM10 - Master plumbers are licensed by the state and each state has a regulating agency (state plumbing board) they have to register with on a yearly basis. There is a fee to register and they have to maintain their license by attending state-sponsored continuing education courses with so many hours per year being required.

Additionally, most cities require that a master plumber who wants to work in their city register with them as well, providing proof of licensing with that state and that they carry liability insurance.

Texas, for instance, requires that the master plumber carry his plumbing license on their person at all times and that at least a journeyman plumber be present on the job with the apprentices when the master is not on the jobsite.

Consult your state's plumbing board by looking for it online. The state website is full of helpful information including how to file a complaint if you need to.

By FebFM10 — On Jun 07, 2011

Who licenses the master plumber and how do I check to make sure that my plumber holds a master plumber's license?

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