How to Become a Plumber in Iowa

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If you’re eyeing a career as a plumber in Iowa, you’re setting your sights on an impactful and rewarding profession.

Iowa’s blend of vibrant cities and expansive rural regions creates a consistent demand for adept plumbing professionals.

Plumbing services in Iowa are essential for maintaining effective water systems and guaranteeing the smooth operation of various configurations.

This article will help you take the necessary steps to become a plumber in Iowa.

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How to Become a Plumber in Iowa – Step by Step

To start your journey in Iowa you must be at least 18 years old and a High School graduate, or have the GED equivalent.

The first step is to enroll in an apprenticeship program that is approved by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship program.

Apprentices work under the supervision of highly trained licensed plumbers, who will teach them everything they need to know about the career.

It is essential to obtain 4 years of apprenticeship before you can go on and apply for a plumbing license.

Iowa issues the following plumbing licenses:

  • Apprentice (Apprenticeship program, not an actual license)
  • Journeyman
  • Master

Journeyman Plumber License

As we mentioned you need to complete 4 years of an apprenticeship program before you can apply for your journeyman plumbing license.

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

You need to submit an application form and pay the application fee which costs $35.

There is also an exam fee, which costs $109.

The trade is an open-book exam that consists of 75 questions total and has a 3-hour time limit.

The exam covers topics including:

  • General Knowledge of the Uniform Plumbing Code
  • Drainage, Waste, and Vent Systems
  • Water Supply and Distribution
  • Fuel Piping

You need a score of 75% or higher to pass the exam, and you will be shown your results on the screen immediately after completing it.

If you have passed the exam you can go on to apply to get your journeyman plumber license.

You need to submit your licensure application to the Board Office.

The license fee is $180.

If you have failed your exam, you can apply and pay the application and exam fee again.

Master Plumber License

To get your Master Plumber license in Iowa you must have at least 2 years of experience as a journeyman plumber in Iowa.

You can also apply if you are a licensed Master Plumber in a different state.

The application and examination process is similar to the journeyman exam.

Submit the application form and pay the $35 application fee.

The exam fee is $109.

The trade is an open-book exam that consists of 125 questions total and has a 5-hour time limit.

It covers topics including:

  • Definitions
  • General Regulations
  • Plumbing Fixtures and Fixture Fittings
  • Water Heaters
  • Water Supply and Distribution
  • Sanitary Drainage
  • Indirect Wastes
  • Vents
  • Traps and Interceptors
  • Storm Drainage
  • Fuel Gas Piping
  • Health Care Facilities and Medical Gas and Medical Vacuum Systems
  • Firestop Protection
  • Alternate Water Sources for Nonpotable Applications
  • Water Systems Sizing
  • Drain, Waste, and Vent Systems Sizing
  • Fuel Pipe Sizing

Just like for the Journeyman exam, you will be shown your results on the screen right after completing your exam.

If you have a score of 75% or higher you have passed and can go on to apply for your Master Plumber License.

The license fee for a Master Plumber is $240.

Both Journeyman and Master Plumber exams are being taken in the following cities:

  • Ankeny
  • Des Moines
  • Dubuque
  • Cedar Falls
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Council Bluffs
  • Creston
  • Estherville
  • Fort Dodge
  • Ottumwa
  • Marshalltown
  • Mason City
  • Sheldon
  • Sioux City
  • Tipton

It is also important to note that if you decide to own your own plumbing business you must get a contractor license.

Plumbing Schools in Iowa

Iowa offers some of the best apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, and college courses to ensure their aspiring plumbers can get the best knowledge and on-the-job training to prepare for the fieldwork ahead.

Here are some of the current best options to choose from

Western Iowa Tech Community College

Western Iowa Tech Community College offers a program called the Plumbing Systems Diploma Program.

It is a program that combines classroom education and on-the-job training allowing you to become an apprentice and work 2,000 hours annually.

After completing the program you will get an Associate of Arts Degree, and have a total of 38 credits.

To learn more about the tuition, how to apply and so much more visit their website.

Kirkwood Community College

Kirkwood Community College offers a 2-semester long pre-apprenticeship program that teaches you the entry-level skills and knowledge needed to enter into the plumbing field.

The program starts in the fall semester and includes classes such as:

  • Applied Plumbing Math
  • Plumbing Theory
  • Plumbing Practices
  • Plan and Print Reading for Plumbing
  • Plumbing Math Concepts
  • Advanced Plan and Print Reading
  • Workplace Communications
  • Oral Communications in the Workplace

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

School Name Address
Western Iowa Tech Community College 4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, IA 51106, United States
Kirkwood Community College 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404, United States


The state of Iowa pays its plumbers fair wages for the hard work they do to ensure that all the plumbing systems are working in order daily.

The annual wages vary anywhere from $45204 to $76685.

Currently, the estimated average annual wage is $60883.

The current highest annual averages are in Des Moines and West Des Moines, estimated at $61437.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Des Moines $61,437
West Des Moines $61,437
Cedar Rapids $60,870
Ames $60,865
Davenport $60,378
Iowa City $60,374
Council Bluffs $60,147
Dubuque $60,052
Waterloo $57,848
Sioux City $55,227

Regional Salary in Iowa

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ames, IA150$56,100$26.97$77,760$37,820
Cedar Rapids, IA640$67,410$32.41$87,840$39,630
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL690$67,930$32.66$96,220$39,240
Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA1,640$66,110$31.79$89,310$36,750
Dubuque, IA170$61,480$29.56$83,720$38,080
Iowa City, IA200$61,290$29.47$79,600$40,760
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD300$61,390$29.51$82,020$39,250
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA200$62,240$29.92$81,140$39,070
* 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

Can I work as a plumber in Iowa with a license from a different state?

Iowa has granted reciprocity with South Dakota, so If you were licensed in South Dakota you can apply to get a license in Iowa without taking the trade exam.

If you were licensed in any other state, you must retake the trade exam to get licensed in Iowa.

When should I renew my Iowa plumbing license?

In Iowa, the licenses expire on June 30th every three years, so you should get your license renewed up to that date.

Licenses expired and were renewed by June 30th this year, and the next renewal should be done in 2026.

How much does a plumbing license renewal cost in Iowa?

The fee for your plumbing license renewal in Iowa differs depending on the license.

  • Journeyman Plumber License Renewal – $180
  • Master Plumber License Renewal – $240

The fees change if you are late for your renewal, there are additional lateness fees.

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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