The Difference between an Apprentice, Journeyman, and a Master Plumbers

The Difference between an Apprentice, Journeyman, and a Master Plumbers

The plumbing industry and other construction trades use designations to determine the skill level of employees. The titles that we are familiar with today are Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master. Let’s explore the difference between these different classifications of plumbers.


These are plumbers who are new to the trade and are just starting to learn. In most states, apprentices are part of a program where they are required to put in four years of on-the-job training under the strict supervision of a Master Plumber. Once the apprentice has four years of experience, they can then take a written exam to become a Journeyman. 


These plumbers have passed a state test to achieve the designation. Once they do so, they are allowed to work for a business or contracting company of their choosing. Depending on location, they may also need to pass city-level exams to be able to work in residencies. 

Master Plumbers 

Master Plumbers are the boss of it all! To become a Master Plumber, one needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the plumbing code, demonstrate mastery of mechanical skills, and have extensive on-the-job experience. If a Journeyman plumber wants to open their own plumbing business, they are required to pass another test that qualifies them as a Master Plumber. Every plumbing business must have at least one licensed Master Plumber in order to qualify as an operating business. This system ensures that whichever plumber a business sends out, is someone who knows exactly what they are doing.

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