To protect public health, the State of Illinois regulates plumbing and the plumbing trade. Improper plumbing can result in the introduction of pathogenic organisms into drinking water and the escape of toxic gases into the environment. These outcomes have the potential of leading to disease and adverse health effects. It is also important to regulate the number of plumbing facilities and fixtures adequate for the comfort and convenience of workers and persons in public places. Therefore, individuals who plan, inspect, install, alter, extend, repair and maintain plumbing systems must be licensed in the state of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health licenses about 8,900 plumbers and 1,600 apprentice plumbers. Plumbers must pass a state licensing exam after working as a licensed apprentice for a 48 to 72 month period under a licensed plumber and are then required to maintain their skills with continuing education. Illinois also regulates lawn irrigation systems licensing over 200 lawn irrigation contractors, who have a combined total of nearly 1,000 irrigation employees.
Who does the IDPH license?
Under the Illinois Plumbing License Law, the Department licenses plumbers, plumber’s apprentices, irrigation contractors, and retired plumbers. The Department also is responsible for the registration of plumbing contractors and the creation of a minimum plumbing code of standards.
Click here to order a copy of the Illinois Plumbing Code.
Plumbing Licensing Requirements
Those individuals seeking a plumbing license with the Department must fill out a plumbing license application 30 days before the exam date and pay the required fee of $100 for in-state applicants or $125 for Chicago and out-of-state applicants. Applicants must be U.S. citizens (or in the process of declaring citizenship), and have been employed as a licensed apprentice plumber for at least four years. Successful completion of at least two years of high school or equivalent is required, in addition to an approved course instruction through a college/university/trade school. If a plumbing exam retake is required, applicants must complete the retake examination form and submit the $100 fee to the Department.
Plumber licenses must be renewed by April 30 following the date of issuance via the online renewal page. For Chicago-based plumbing licenses, please use the Application for Plumber's License Reciprocity with the City of Chicago form. The Plumber Application Child Support Certification form also is required of all licensed plumbers.
Requirements for the Licensing of Apprentice Plumbers
Individuals must be at least 16 years old, fill out the Application for Apprentice Plumbers License and provide proof of sponsorship by an Illinois licensed plumber or an approved apprenticeship program. After a maximum apprenticeship period of six years, those individuals who do not apply for the plumber’s licensing exam (or fail the exam) will not be eligible for a renewal of the apprentice license. If a licensed plumber terminates sponsorship of an apprentice plumber, the following form must be filled out and submitted to the Department.
Requirements to Obtain a Retired Plumbing License
The retired plumber license is intended for those individuals who wish to retire and do not expect to continue practicing plumbing in Illinois. It allows plumbers to carry a state license proving competence, while still providing the option of reinstating or restoring their plumbing license at a lower cost than renewing an expired license. To be eligible for the license, an individual must hold a valid Illinois plumbing license, be at least 62 years old or physically unable to perform the responsibilities of a licensed plumber, and voluntarily surrender their current Illinois license for a retired plumber license. A retired plumber cannot perform plumbing as defined by the Illinois Plumbing Code, cannot sponsor or supervise apprentice plumbers, and cannot inspect plumbing. The application and additional information can be found here: Retired Plumber’s License Application.
Requirements of Irrigation Contractors
Irrigation contractors install or supervise the installation of lawn sprinkler systems. Each irrigation contractor in the state of Illinois must register yearly with the Department by filling out the Application for Registration for Irrigation Contractor . Additionally, employers must register all employees who install or supervise installation of lawn sprinkler systems, as well as inform the Department when employment is cancelled via the Notice of Cancellation of Employment Registered Irrigation Employee.
Plumbing contractors are any licensed plumber or apprentice plumber who performs plumbing for another person. All plumbing contractors must register with the state and pay an annual fee: Plumbing Contractor Application for Registration or Renewal. Plumbing contractors also must maintain minimum general liability insurance, bodily injury insurance, property damage insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance.
Each city, town, village, township and county in Illinois can have their own plumbing inspectors. These inspectors, who must be licensed plumbers, make sure plumbing meets the Illinois State Plumbing Code. To apply to be a plumbing inspector, fill out the: Application for Examination for Certification of Plumbing Inspectors.
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of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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