What is the Kentucky Division of Plumbing?

Written by Kacie Goff

If you work in a number of specific industries in the state of Kentucky, you’re going to have to go through the Public Protection Cabinet’s Department of Housing, Buildings & Construction to get the proper license. But if you’re a plumber, you need to get even more specific. To obtain and renew your license, you need to work with the Department of Housing, Buildings & Construction’s Division of Plumbing.

Yes, that’s a lot of bureaucratic layers. But it does mean that as a plumbing professional, you have an entire division dedicated to making it possible for you to maintain an active plumbing license. 

What does the Division of Plumbing do?

This division is dedicated to protecting consumers and public health. They do this by overseeing pretty much everything that goes on related to installing and updating plumbing throughout the state. Specifically, this division:

  • Reviews applications for plumbing construction permits and issues them as appropriate
  • Inspects plumbing installations to make sure everything complies with the Kentucky State Plumbing Code
  • Issues and renews licenses for journeyman and master plumbers throughout the state

All told, the Kentucky Division of Plumbing’s goal is to make sure that all plumbing installed statewide is safe and effective. They also aim to ensure that all plumbing professionals throughout the state are properly educated.

How does the Kentucky Division of Plumbing make sure plumbing professionals are educated?

Kentucky makes sure you know your stuff before they issue your license and each time you renew. Here’s a look at how they do it. 

Testing your knowledge with a pre-license exam

Working with the Division of Plumbing starts as soon as you begin pursuing a plumbing license. One of this division’s primary roles is to serve as the administrator for the state’s plumbing exam. And if you want to become a licensed plumber, you’ll have to pass this test. 

The exam is offered in February, May, August, and November every year. When you apply to take the exam, you’ll get scheduled for the next available one. If you apply less than three weeks before the exam that month, you’ll get invited to sit for the next exam. You’ll get written notification of the exam date and time for which you’re scheduled at least two weeks before the exam date so you can prepare and clear your schedule. 

The exams are offered across the state. Locations can vary, but there are usually tests offered in Louisville, Lexington, Morehead, Madisonville, Reidland, and Hazard. Here’s a bulletin the state issues to give you a bit more information. 

The applications you need to send in to apply to take this exam — and to get your license — are only a couple of pages. You can access them at these links:

Note that these applications come with fees: $50 for journeyman plumbers and $150 for master plumbers. Make your check out to the Kentucky State Treasurer. 

If you don’t pass the exam on your first try, don’t panic. The state lets you retake your exam provided you reapply and pay the required fee again. But make sure you show up for your exam, even if you don’t feel totally prepared. If you miss it, they won’t accept another application from you for one year. 

If you want more info, check out the Division of Plumbing’s license testing page. There’s contact information at the bottom of the page if you want to reach out to someone to get answers to specific questions.  

Keeping you informed with Kentucky plumbing continuing education

Once you pass that exam and get your license, you need to keep it active. This means renewing your license annually. Your license renewal is due on the last day of your birth month (e.g., if your birthday is January 10, it’s due by January 31) each year. To renew your license, you need to do two things:

  1. Send in the required renewal fee. It’s $250 for master plumbers and $60 for journeyman plumbers. 
  2. Complete the required KY plumbing continuing education classes.

(If you’re a master plumber, send in proof of insurance along with your fee.)

That second point — the Kentucky plumbing continuing education — is the way the Division of Plumbing makes sure you stay informed about the latest codes and plumbing technology. And they don’t make you go through a ton of hours to do that. The requirement for both journeyman and master plumbers is just six hours of continuing education units (CEUs) each year.

More good news: you don’t have to go to a classroom to complete your hours. You have the option to do your CEU online. There are a bunch of state-approved providers of online continuing education. And when you choose to do your continuing education online, you get flexibility. You can take your six hours at any time that’s convenient for you at any location that has a computer with internet access. 

You can knock out your Kentucky Division of Plumbing continuing education at any point throughout the year. Just make sure you’ve finished by the time your plumbing license is due for renewal. Your education provider will report that you’ve completed your hours to the state, usually within a week of you finishing the required course.

Working with the Kentucky Division of Plumbing to get — and keep — your plumbing license

All told, the process for both getting and maintaining an active plumbing license is pretty straightforward in the state of Kentucky. The Division of Plumbing has fairly minimal requirements and significantly less paperwork than other states, so keeping your license up to date shouldn’t be a major burden. Just make sure you mark your calendar at some point during your birth month so you can stay on top of your renewal. 


Want to get more information about the process for securing and maintaining a journeyman or master plumbing license in Kentucky? You can call the Division of Plumbing at (502) 573-0397 or email them at Alternately, your continuing education provider is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of Kentucky plumbing licensing and should be able to answer your questions.