How to Become a Plumber in Illinois

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Have you ever faced a plumbing emergency, relying on skilled hands to fix a burst pipe?

Plumbers ensure smooth water flow, tackle leaks, and keep systems running seamlessly.

Plumbing could be your calling if you call Illinois home and envision a career merging hands-on skills, problem-solving, and aiding others.

This guide will help you discover the essentials of becoming a plumber in Illinois—outlining the necessary education, potential earnings, and key insights to support your exploration of this rewarding path.

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How to Become a Plumber in Illinois – Step by Step

To begin your journey into plumbing training in Illinois you must be at least 16 years old.

Some training programs require you to be at least 18 years old because you also need to have a High School degree or the GED equivalent.

In addition to this, you must also be a US citizen or in the process of getting US citizenship, and have a valid driver’s license.

To legally work as a plumber in Illinois you must get a plumbing license after obtaining the necessary training and education.

The state issues the following licenses:

  • Apprentice Plumber
  • Plumber
  • Plumbing Contractor

Apprentice Plumber (Apprenticeship Program)

An apprenticeship program is required before you can apply for any of the plumbing licenses in Illinois.

Some apprenticeship programs allow you to start at 16 with 2 years of high school completed, while others require you to be 18 and a high school graduate or have the GED equivalent.

You must apply for a Plumber’s Apprentice License.

The application fee is $100, and you can go through the state or the city of Chicago.

You must complete at least 4 years of apprenticeship under the supervision of a licensed plumber.

Your apprenticeship can last anywhere from 4 to 6 years, based on your preference.

While you are working as an apprentice you must also obtain classroom education.

You need to complete at least 144 hours of classroom education per year (576-864 hours of classroom education total).

The classes you take must be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.

We suggest taking courses offered by vocational schools or plumbing college programs.

After completing your apprenticeship and classroom education you will be combatant to apply for your plumbing license.

Illinois Plumber License

After you have completed 4 years of apprenticeship, and 576 hours of classroom education approved by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau you can apply for the Illinois Plumber License.

You can also apply for a license if you are a licensed plumber in another state.

You must apply to take the exam at least 30 days before the date of the exam.

The exam fee depends on your circumstances:

  • Illinois licensed apprentice: $175
  • Registered in Chicago: $225
  • Out of state: $225

The exam is divided into 3 parts:

  • True/false assessment on the Illinois Plumbing Code
  • Interpretation of construction drawings or plans – your understanding of plumbing fittings, pipe methods, and code compliance will be evaluated in this part
  • Practical application assessment

Within the practical application assessment, you will need to complete a hands-on project that requires the use of current plumbing techniques and materials.

You are responsible for bringing your tools and materials, and the materials are selected from Appendix A, Table A of the Illinois Plumbing Code.

To pass the exam you need a score of 61 or above on each part of the exam, and a score of 75 or above total.

DPH will notify you if you have passed your exam or not.

Illinois Plumbing Contractor

To apply for your Illinois Plumbing Contractor license you must have a valid plumbing license that is older than 60 days.

The process for applying is fairly similar to the plumber license.

You need to submit an application form as well as a Certificate of insurance, and a Surety/indemnification bond.

The application fee is $150.

There isn’t an exam for Plumbing Contractors.

The plumbing contractor license allows you to start your own plumbing business.

Plumbing Schools in Illinois

Illinois offers some of the best apprenticeship programs and schools to prepare aspiring plumbers for the field, here we’ll share with you some of the current best options.

City College of Chicago – Kennedy-King

City College of Chicago – Kennedy-King offers The Plumbing and Fire Protection certificate program.

This course will prepare students for the Illinois Plumber exam.

It is a 1 semester-long course, and after completing it you will have 20 credit hours.

To apply you must be 18 or older and have a High School Degree or the GED equivalent.

In-district students pay $146 per credit in tuition, while out-of-district students pay $384 per credit.

The fee excludes additional costs for supplies, tools, and the textbook.

To learn more and apply visit their website.

Building and Fire Code Academy

The Building and Fire Code Academy offers a 4-year Plumbing Apprenticeship Program.

Apprentice plumbers will complete both on-the-job training and the classroom education needed.

The study course includes:

  • State of Illinois License Law
  • State of Illinois Plumbing Code
  • Practical Application of Codes and Standards
  • Blueprint Reading and Drawing
  • Construction Document Production and Permits
  • Hydrodynamic Theory
  • First Aid and Safety Procedures
  • Hands-on Shop Instruction and Practical Assembly Techniques
  • Industry Updates – Techniques and Materials
  • Construction and Plumbing Mathematics and Geometry
  • Illinois Plumbing License Examination Preparation

This program is offered twice a year.

You will have 90 credit hours after completing this program.

The tuition is $725 per semester and includes a lab fee of $20.

To learn more about the program and apply visit their website.

School Name Address
City College of Chicago – Kennedy-King 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60621, United States
Building and Fire Code Academy 2420 Vantage Dr, Elgin, IL 60124, United States


The state of Illinois pays its plumbers fairly for the hard work they put in.

Annual wages go anywhere from $48534 to $82335.

The average wage annually is currently $65368.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Chicago $67,111
Cicero $67,111
Aurora $66,543
Elgin $66,025
Naperville $65,879
Joliet $65,408
Waukegan $63,570
Rockford $62,651
Peoria $61,449
Springfield $60,202

Regional Salary in Illinois

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bloomington, IL300$74,850$35.99$100,940$43,260
Carbondale-Marion, IL140$78,450$37.72$106,880$45,510
Champaign-Urbana, IL340$86,680$41.67$106,720$49,000
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI11,190$89,790$43.17$116,860$48,520
Decatur, IL100$79,390$38.17$107,000$48,200
Kankakee, IL130$84,680$40.71$112,840$45,480
Peoria, IL460$81,630$39.24$104,150$48,370
Rockford, IL430$88,230$42.42$109,420$50,900
Springfield, IL270$79,680$38.31$104,260$41,790
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, OCC Code 47-2152, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who issues the plumbing exams in Illinois?

Plumbing exams in Illinois are being issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health Plumbing Program.

When should I renew my plumbing license in Illinois?

In Illinois, plumbing licenses expire on April 30th annually, so they should be renewed annually by April 30th.

How much do plumbing license renewals cost in Illinois?

  • Plumber Apprentice – $100
  • Plumber License – $100
  • Contractor License – $150

Plumber Info by State

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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