Becoming a Plumber in Delaware

Plumbing installation and repair services are in constant demand throughout the U.S. That’s true because no home or business can function for long without reliable water and sewer lines. In many places, plumbers also install and maintain residential and commercial gas lines.

As you might guess, experienced plumbers make a good living while putting their hard-earned skills to use. However, you can’t just pick up a set of tools and decide to offer plumbing services. Instead, you must go through a process that’s designed to provide you with a verifiable set of skills. Here’s what you need to know if you hope to work as a plumber anywhere in the state of Delaware.

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Plumber Registration and Licensing in Delaware

To get a legitimate plumbing job in Delaware, you must follow rules established by the state’s Board of Plumbing, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Examiners. This board authorizes two types of plumbers: journeymen and masters. Journeymen have less experience than masters. They also hold a different kind of state permit. Journeymen working in Delaware hold a Journeyman Certificate. The state’s master plumbers hold a Master Plumber License.

Before you can work as a journeyman plumber, you must complete an approved apprenticeship program. In Delaware, these programs are overseen by the state’s Department of Labor and the federal government. All qualifying apprenticeships provide you with either 8,000 hours or four years of plumber training. They also provide you with 144 hours of classroom training. In addition to completing an approved program, you must work two years or more under the guidance of a master plumber.

Unlike some states, Delaware allows you to obtain a master plumber license without ever being formally registered as a journeyman. You can skip the journeyman stage if you do two things. First, you must show proof that you’ve worked for a master plumber for seven years or longer. In addition, you must get a satisfactory score on the state By-Pass Exam.

Plumbers already licensed in Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland can work in Delaware without showing proof of their plumbing experience. That’s because these states have licensing standards that are more or less the same as Delaware’s. You have to submit proof of your experience if you’ve worked as a plumber in any other state.

Becoming an Apprentice Plumber in Delaware

If you’re interested in a career path as a plumber in Delaware, the place to start is a plumbing apprenticeship. This involves working in the field through paid, on-the-job training. You start at this level and, through time, experience and other qualifications, can work your way up to a career as a journeyman and then a master plumber.

An apprenticeship allows you to make income while training to be a plumber. This on-the-job training method offers the benefit of a job that pays well from the start with little to no school debt and steady increases in pay over time. During your apprenticeship, you observe and assist a licensed journeyman or master plumber and also participate in classroom training to gain more in-depth plumbing knowledge.

While some states require up to 10,000 hours of apprentice training, Delaware requires 8,000. You also participate in 144 hours of classroom education. Generally, these programs last for four years.

To find a plumbing apprenticeship program in Delaware, check the Delaware Department of Labor’s information on participating employers or go through Workforce Delaware. Other options are to search for location-specific opportunities through job boards like Indeed or through a Google search. Examples of available programs include the Plumbers & Steamfitters Apprenticeship Program in Seaford or the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 74 apprenticeship in Newark.

Plumbing Schools in Delaware

There are some important financial rewards to joining a plumber apprenticeship program in Delaware. Graduates of these programs usually earn high wages when they move on to journeyman and master positions. In fact, typical former apprentices make about $300,000 more during their working life than plumbers who never held jobs as apprentices.

The state’s Department of Labor maintains a list of apprenticeships offered by working master plumbers. You can check your current options on a county by county basis. You can also enroll as an apprentice in an institution-based training program. Institutions offering such programs include:

Salary Expectations for Plumbers in Delaware

In Delaware, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters have an average annual salary of $57,990, which is slightly below the national average of $60,090. The lowest 10% of earners in Delaware make $32,080, compared to the national low of $37,250. At the high end, the top 10% of workers in Delaware earn up to $96,480, whereas the national high reaches $101,190.

National vs. Delaware Salary Comparison

Location 10% Low 25% Low Median 75% High 90% High
United States $37,250 $46,630 $60,090 $78,960 $101,190
Delaware $32,080 $41,600 $57,990 $81,260 $96,480

Salaries by Regions in Delaware

Region 10% Low 25% Low Median 75% High 90% High
Dover, DE $26,000 $37,400 $57,730 $77,440 $84,930
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD $40,950 $46,560 $63,550 $98,500 $119,380
Salisbury, MD-DE $30,940 $37,610 $48,610 $59,800 $68,360

Plumbing Trends in Delaware

The employment landscape for plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in Delaware shows promising growth. As of 2020, there were 1,170 professionals employed in this sector within the state. By 2030, this number is expected to rise to 1,350, representing a growth rate of 15%. This rate is significantly higher than the national average growth rate of 2% projected from 2022 to 2032.

Annually, Delaware is projected to have about 150 job openings in this field from 2020 to 2030, accounting for both new positions due to industry growth and replacements for retirees or those changing careers. This consistent number of openings suggests a stable demand for skilled labor in plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting across the state.


Location Employment (Start of Period) Projected Employment (End of Period) Projected Growth Projected Annual Job Openings
Delaware 1,170 (2020) 1,350 (2030) 15% 150
United States 482,700 (2022) 493,600 (2032) 2% 42,600

Sources of data:

  1. State Data: The projections for this State from 2020 to 2030 are provided by Projections Central, which offers long-term projections for occupational employment.
  2. United States Data: The nationwide employment projections from 2022 to 2032 are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which regularly publishes detailed employment projections for a wide range of occupations across the United States.