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How to Become a Master Plumber in NYC

Learn how to become a Master Plumber in New York City from Master Plumber John Wood in this Howcast video.


I'm here to talk now about how to become a New York City Master Plumber. Becoming a Master Plumber really varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It can vary across the country. I personally know that New York City and California have the most restrictive policies for becoming a Master Plumber. New York City because of population density. It affects how we do our trade. And California, believe it or not, because of earthquakes.

In New York City, they've just changed the laws. So now you have to work for a licensed Master Plumber like myself for seven years. After you've worked for me for five, you can go and get your journeyman card, which allows you to begin the buildup for the Master Plumbing exam.

Manny Troyce, my good friend over at, runs the Master Plumber class. There are two elements to passing the test for the Master Plumber's exam. There's a written aspect of it, where you have to be versed in three codes, one from 1938, one from 1968, and most recently from 2008. Don't ask me why you have to know all three of these codes, because we only use the '08 code which is going to be soon updated to the '14 or '15 code I believe. But that's just the way it is.

Once you pass the written exam, which is a multiple choice exam consisting of a whole lot of math, then you're eligible to take the practical. The practical consists of a copper project and a steel project that you have to make in the belly of the courthouse down on Elm Street. It's a very medieval way of taking a test, but like everything else in New York that's just the way it is.

There are three entities that you have to be concerned with in the world of plumbing, three primary entities, the Big Kahuna being the DOB, the New York City Department of Buildings. You do not mess with these people. You do your work to code. You do it properly with no exceptions ever, or they'll revoke your license. DCAS is the testing service. They're the agency that conducts the testing for New York City. You can find out all about these entities online. Just search DCAS New York City. You'll have an exhaustive list of resources come up. And lastly but not least is the DEP, the Department of Environmental Protection. They're the regulatory commission that regulates potable water, water meters, backflow prevention, and things of that nature.

So you do have to know your stuff. Finding a good apprenticeship with a good, upstanding, licensed Master Plumber is your first foot in the door.

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