Article Index

Iowa Contractor Licenses

Select a license to view its requirements, definition, exams, books, and classes. For specifics please contact the Iowa.

State Licenses

Journeyperson HVAC/Refrigeration with Gas

Journeyperson" means any person, other than a master, who, as a principal occupation, is engaged as an employee of, or otherwise working under the direction of, a master in the design, installation, and repair of plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, refrigeration, sheet metal, or hydronic systems, as applicable.

Journeyperson Hydronics with Gas

Knowledge of the installation, service, maintenance, and repair of hot water heating systems.

Journeyperson Mechanical with Gas

In order for an applicant to be certified as a mechanical journeyman or specialty journeyman by the board, the applicant must demonstrate possession of the knowledge, ability and skill to perform mechanical work in accordance with the plans and specifications therefor and in compliance with the building code and other applicable codes and regulations

Journeyperson Plumber with Gas

Installation, repair, maintenance, and extension of any plumbing system, including drains, waste, sanitary vents, water supply, fixtures, and indirect wastes; installation, repair, and maintenance of gas piping systems, including gas piping, appliances, vents, flues, tanks, and other related appurtenances.

Journeyperson Sheet Metal

Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, pollution control, fume hood systems and related ducted systems or installation of equipment associated with any component of a sheet metal system. "Sheet metal" excludes refrigeration and electrical lines and all natural gas, propane, liquid propane, or other gas lines associated with any component of a sheet metal system.

Master HVAC/Refrigeration with Gas

Installation, maintenance, repair, fabrication, alteration, and extension of air conditioning, refrigeration, piping vessels, warm air heating, low and high-pressure boilers, ventilation systems, duct systems, insulation, and related appurtenances within a complete system unlimited in horsepower or tonnage.

Master Hydronics with Gas

Installation, or repair of plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, refrigeration, sheet metal or hydronic systems and is otherwise lawfully qualified to conduct the business of plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, refrigeration, sheet metal or hydronic systems, and who is familiar with the laws and rules governing the same.

Master Mechanical with Gas

A Master Mechanical contractor can install maintain, repair, fabricate, alter, extend or design central air conditioning, refrigeration, heating, and ventilation (including ductwork in connection with a complete system only to the extent such ductwork is performed by the Contractor necessary to make complete an air distribution system) boiler and unfired pressure vessel systems, lift stations, equipment and piping and all appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection therewith.

Master Plumber with Gas

A master plumber with gas contractor can install, maintain, repair, alter or extend plumbing, sanitary drainage or storm drainage facilities, venting systems, public and private water supply systems, septic tanks, drainage and supply wells, swimming pool piping.


Retaking your Examination

  • If you do not pass the exam, you must register and pay for a new exam.
  • To schedule for a retake exam, contact Kirkwood Community College at 319-398-4482 or 319-398-5529.
  • If you miss your appointment or arrive late and are not allowed to test, you will need to reschedule your exam. If you are unable to attend your scheduled exam due to illness or emergency, please notify the test center where you have scheduled your exam.
  • Emergency Closings: Severe weather or an emergency could require canceling scheduled exams. If this occurs, you will need to contact the test center to reschedule your exam.

How to Obtain Your License in Iowa

  • Submit your examination candidate application and appropriate fees to the Board.
  • Once you receive approval from the Board to take your exam(s), you must register for your exam with Kirkwood Community College.
  • Call for an appointment with the test center of your choice.
  • Prepare for your exam, using the content outlines in this bulletin and other materials.
  • Present your required identification at the test center and take the exam.
  • Once you pass, you will need to contact the Board office to submit a Post-Examination Licensure application.

For more information on license fees please visit IDPH Licensure Fees.

Registeration for your exam

  • You may register for your examination by calling 319-398-4482 or 319-398-5529 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (central time), Monday through Friday.

After Your Register

  • Keep receipt of payment for your records.
  • A confirmation letter will be emailed to you. If you do not receive it, please check your spam or junk folder. The confirmation email will contain contact information for test site locations. You will need to select a test site location and contact them directly to schedule a testing time.
  • Within one hour of registration, you will receive an email with the subject line: "[Exam name] (online) Class Log-in Information." If you have trouble finding this email, please check your spam/junk folder. PLEASE KEEP AND TAKE WITH YOU THE DAY OF TESTING.
  • Login credentials will be emailed only be emailed out once, on the first day you register with Kirkwood. Only you will have this information and it is your responsibility to have it at your scheduled testing appointment. If you are taking multiple exams or need multiple attempts please refer to the original email, as your login credentials will be the same each time you take a state exam. For login assistance, please contact 319-398-5529 or 319-398-4482.

Apprentice Requirements

  • To be eligible applicants must submit an application either online or via a paper application and meet the following requirements:
    • Must be at least 18 years old and a high school graduate or GED equivalent;
    • Must provide documentation of criminal convictions related to the practice of the profession, which shall include a full explanation from the applicant;
    • Pay appropriate fees;
    • Must certify applicant is working under the supervision of a licensed journeyperson or master in the applicable discipline; and
    • Must be enrolled in an applicable apprentice program which is registered with the United States Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship and provide the department with the United States Department of Labor sponsorship agreement information found in the indenture agreement. This includes Apprentice Identification Number, Apprenticeship Start Date, Sponsor Program Number, and Sponsor Name & Address.

Journeyperson Requirements(Plumbing, Mechanical, HVAC, Refrigeration, Sheet metal, or Hydronic systems)

  • To be eligible, file an application (online or via a paper application) and pay the appropriate licensing fee for each trade discipline you are seeking a license in. Application requirements are listed below.
    • Must be at least 18 years old.
    • Must provide documentation of any criminal convictions. Applicants with a felony conviction will be subject to review by the board to determine eligibility for licensure.
  • Must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Provide the board with evidence of having completed at least four years of practical experience as an apprentice AND proof of successfully passing the Iowa journeyperson examination for each trade discipline requested. Beginning January 1, 2010, the four years of practical experience required must be from an apprenticeship training program registered by the United States Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship. OR
    • Provide evidence that the applicant possesses a master level license in the same discipline from another jurisdiction.
  • If you are applying for a journey license on the basis of having a master level license in another jurisdiction, you may submit the application for a journey license either online or using the application form below. If you need to sit for the examination, please see the Examination page on our website. You must first submit an Exam Approval Application, schedule and pass the test, then submit a Post-Examination Licensure Application. If you have already completed your exam, please visit the link for Post-Examination Licensure.
  • Note: All qualified Master applicants are eligible to work at all roles defined under Journeyperson duties in addition to the defined Master duties.

Master License Requirements

  • Applicants must submit a post-examination licensure application after passing the master level discipline exam(s) and pay the appropriate license fee. General eligibility requirements for a master-level license are listed below.
    • Must be at least 18 years old.
    • Must provide documentation of any criminal convictions. Applicants with a felony conviction will be subject to review by the board to determine eligibility for licensure.
    • Pass the state of Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board master licensing examination for the applicable discipline. To be eligible to sit for the exam, you must have either 1) a master's license in another jurisdiction; or 2) a journeyperson license with two years of work experience.
    • Pay the master level licensing fee.

Licenses Without Examinations

  • “Disconnect/reconnect plumbing technician specialty license” means a sublicense under a plumbing license to perform work from the appliance shutoff valve or fixture shutoff valve to the appliance or fixture and any part or component of the appliance or fixture, including the disconnection and reconnection of the existing appliance or fixture to the water or sewer piping and the installation of a shutoff valve no more than 3 feet from the appliance or fixture.
  • The Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board issues disconnect/reconnect plumbing technician specialty licenses to applicants with industry training or a Service Technician Associate degree or other board-approved training. Approved organizations are listed below. Other organizations may be considered with the approval of the board.

License Requirements

  • Applications for this specialty license may be submitted either online or via a paper application. License requirements are listed below:
    • Must be at least 18 years old;
    • Must have no record of felony conviction relating to the profession as determined by the board. Applicants with a felony conviction will be subject to review by the board to determine eligibility for licensure.
    • Pay the specialty license fees (see our Fees link on the left for more details);
    • Submit proof that the applicant is receiving or has previously received industry training to perform work covered under this specialty license, or the applicant completed a Service Technician Associate degree, or Board approved equivalent educational or training. If you submit an application online, please fax, email, or mail proof of your training or credentials separately.

Approved Providers for Disconnect/Reconnect Plumbing Technician Specialty License

Hearth Systems Specialty License

  • The Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board per its legislative act will recognize hearth systems specialty license as a sublicense in the HVAC discipline. Certification from the National Fireplace Institute is required for licensure. Other organizations may be considered with the approval of the board.
  • “Hearth systems specialty license” means a sublicense under an HVAC license to perform work in the installation of gas burning and solid fuel appliances that offer a decorative view of the flames, from the connector pipe to the shutoff valve located within 3 feet of the appliance. This sublicense is further allowed to perform work in the venting systems, log lighters, gas log sets, fireplace inserts, and freestanding stoves.
  • Provide the board with evidence that:
    • Must be at least 18 years old.
    • An applicant shall have no record of felony conviction relating to the profession as determined by the board. Applicants with a felony conviction will be subject to review by the board to determine eligibility for licensure.
    • Must file an application and submit appropriate fees.
    • The applicant possesses a valid certification issued by the National Fireplace Institute or equivalent authority approved by the board.

Approved Providers for Hearth Systems Specialty License

  • National Fireplace Institute

Medical Gas Piping Certification

  • The Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board issues medical gas piping certification to medical gas system installers who possess valid certification from the National Inspection Testing Certification Corporation or NITC. Certification from other organizations may be considered with the approval of the board.
  • In addition to NITC, the board has also approved Medical Gas Management (MGM), Medical Equipment Training and Certification, LLC (METC), Environmental & Medical Gas Services (EMGS), Airgas Medical Services, Inc -formerly known as Medical Gas Management, Inc (AMS) and Medical Gas Testing & Certification, LLC (MGTC).
  • "Medical gas system installer" means any person who installs or repairs medical gas piping, components, and vacuum systems, including brazers, who has been issued a valid certification from the national inspection testing certification (NITC) corporation, or an equivalent authority approved by the board."
  • Persons who possess medical gas piping certification must maintain brazing continuity and valid NITC certification or equivalent. Because current certification and brazing continuity must be maintained, no continuing education hours are required for renewal of the medical gas piping certification.

Requirements

  • The requirements for a board-issued medical gas piping certification are as follows:
    • Must submit an application either online or via the paper application;
    • Pay the medical gas piping certification fee;
    • Must be at least 18 years old;
    • Must show proof of NITC certification or a board-approved equivalent certification, including proof of current brazing qualification.

    Private School or College Routine Maintenance Specialty License

    • The Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board issues specialty licenses for those employed with a private school or college and performing routine maintenance within the scope of employment. Routine maintenance is defined as follows:
    • “Routine maintenance” means the maintenance, repair, or replacement of existing fixtures or parts of plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, or hydronic systems in which no changes in the original design are made. Fixtures or parts do not include smoke and fire dampers or water, gas, or steam piping permanent repairs except for traps or strainers. Routine maintenance shall include emergency repairs. “Routine maintenance” does not include the replacement of furnaces, boilers, cooling appliances, or water heaters more than 100 gallons in size.

    License Requirements

    • To apply for a specialty license, an application must be submitted either online or via a paper application. Requirements for the private school or college routine maintenance specialty license are as follows:
      • Must be at least 18 years old.
      • Must have no record of felony conviction relating to the profession as determined by the board. Applicants with a felony conviction will be subject to review by the board to determine eligibility for licensure.
      • Pay specialty license application fee;
      • Provide evidence that the applicant is employed by a private school or college and is performing routine maintenance within the scope of employment with the private school or college.

    Service Technician HVAC Specialty License

    • The Service Technician HVAC specialty license is a sublicense under an HVAC-refrigeration or mechanical license that allows licensees to perform work from the appliance shutoff valve to the appliance and any part and component of the appliance, including the disconnection and reconnection of the existing appliance to the gas piping and the installation of a shutoff valve no more than 3 feet away from the appliance.
    • Certification from North American Technician Excellence, Inc (NATE) or a Service Technician Associate degree or equivalent board-approved training is required for licensure. Approved organizations are listed below. Other organizations may be considered with the approval of the board.

    License Requirements

    • To be eligible, file an application, submit proof of NATE certification or other board-approved training, and pay the appropriate licensing fee. Application requirements are listed below.
      • Must be at least 18 years old.
      • Must no record of felony conviction relating to the profession as determined by the board. Applicants with a felony conviction will be subject to review by the board to determine eligibility for licensure.
      • Submit evidence of valid certification from North American Technician Excellence, Inc. (NATE) or an equivalent authority approved by the board, or evidence that the applicant completed a Service Technician Associate degree or equivalent educational or similar training approved by the board.

    For more information on the approved providers please visit here.

    Appeals Process

    • If you are requesting a response about exam content, registration, scheduling, or test administration (testing site procedures, equipment, personnel, etc.), please submit an appeal in writing. Your appeal letter must provide your name and Social Security number, the exam title, the date you tested, and the details of your concern, including all relevant facts. Be sure to include your signature and return address.
      • Mail your appeal letter to:
        • Kirkwood Community College
        • ATTN: Zach Johnson
        • 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW
        • Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
        • Faxed appeals are not accepted because an original signature is required.

      Renew a License

      • All licenses issued or renewed after May 1, 2020, will expire on June 30, 2023. Licensees have a one-month grace period (for most licenses until the end of July) to renew their license without paying additional penalties or late fees. After the grace period, the following late fees apply:
        • For renewal during the month of August (or 2 months after the expiration date if your license expired prior to June 30), licensees must submit an additional $60 late penalty fee in addition to meeting the other requirements for renewal. The late fee is applied to each license that has not been renewed in a timely manner.
        • For renewal during the month of September (or 3 months after the expiration date if your license expired prior to June 30) and up to one year late, licensees must submit an additional $100 late penalty fee in addition to meeting the other requirements for renewal. The late fee is applied to each license that has not been renewed in a timely manner. The license is not valid for practice.
        • If your license is more than one year past its expiration date, the license is also not valid for practice in Iowa and you must meet the requirements for reinstatement of the license. Licensees will be required to pay the full 3-year renewal fee and shall not be entitled to a pro-rated reduced renewal fee.

      Renewal Requirements

      • To renew a license, applicants must submit an application for renewal (either online or via a paper application)
        • Pay the renewal fee
        • Meet the continuing education requirements for renewal
        • Continuing education hours must be completed during the renewal term of the license to be eligible (unless your license expired over 365 days ago - reinstatement requires either retesting or retaking all continuing education hours).
        • Please see the "Continuing Education" link for details on continuing education requirements.

        Allow up to 4 weeks for processing all applications.

        Reinstatement Requirements (License expired more than 1 year ago)

        • If your license expired more than one year ago, you must meet the requirements for reinstatement. A licensee has two options for reinstatement: 1) either retaking and successfully passing the applicable licensing examination; or (2) retaking and successfully completing all continuing education requirements. The appropriate license renewal fee must also be paid and board rules specify that a licensee shall not be entitled to a prorated, reduced renewal fee.
        • To reinstate by “retaking” continuing education – you must provide evidence of taking the required number of continuing education courses for each license you are seeking to reinstate. The courses must be taken at least one year after the license expiration date to qualify. For example, if your license expired on March 1, 2014, courses must be taken after March 1, 2015, to qualify for reinstatement of your license. If your license has been lapsed for more than one renewal cycle (e.g. before July 2016), you must provide proof of retaking CEUs for each renewal cycle in which the license has lapsed. For example, to reinstate a single plumbing license that lapsed in 2015, 16 hours of CEUs would be required.
        • To reinstate by retaking the applicable licensing exam, download an Exam Candidate Application from our website (located under the link for “Examination”) or submit the online Exam Candidate Application and select reinstatement as the basis for the application. The application must be submitted along with the fee of $35 for each examination. Upon approval, you will be sent information on scheduling your examination through Kirkwood Community College. A testing fee of $95 per examination must be paid directly to Kirkwood.
        • After you have successfully completed your examination or continuing education, submit the application for renewal, along with the correct fee for each license you are reinstating.

        Combining Licenses into a Mechanical License

        • For licensees that currently hold an HVAC/R and a Hydronics license at the same level as a master or journeyperson, you may elect to combine these licenses into a single mechanical license. Renewal fees will be assessed as a single license if converting to a mechanical license. No fee is charged to combine licenses when it is done at renewal. PLEASE NOTE - If you are renewing into the new MECHANICAL license, there are special instructions when doing this via the public portal. In the instructions for individual renewals, see the section marked 'Combine to Mechanical."

        Reciprocity

        • Iowa Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board Application for License by Reciprocity
          • In May 2016, the board approved its first reciprocity agreement with the South Dakota State Plumbing Commission. The agreement allows persons who obtained their license based on written examination to obtain a similar license without passing another exam in the other state. This means that if you received a South Dakota plumbing license based on a written examination, you could apply for reciprocity to obtain an Iowa plumbing license without passing another examination for the state of Iowa. You must agree to abide by all other Iowa laws and rules. The reciprocity agreement applies only to the journeyperson and master plumbing license requirements. To apply for an Iowa license based on reciprocity, apply online or via the paper application. You must include a copy of your South Dakota license and a good standing/license verification certificate from the South Dakota Plumbing Commission. You must also have a non-Iowa resident address at the time your application is submitted.
          • If you are an Iowa plumbing license holder seeking reciprocity with South Dakota, your Iowa license must have been issued based on written examination (persons who were grandfathered into Iowa license requirements are not eligible). Contact the South Dakota State Plumbing Commission http://dlr.sd.gov/ for information about the South Dakota license and application forms. If you need written verification of your Iowa license for South Dakota, submit a written request to our office along with a check or money order for $20, which is the Iowa license verification fee.

        Post-Examination Licensure Requirements

        • Congratulations on the successful completion of your discipline examination! To complete the Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board licensure process, you must now complete a post-examination licensure application. If you are in an apprenticeship program, you must also have graduated from the apprentice program to receive your journeyperson license. The application can be completed either online or via paper. A $25 paper application fee is charged if you do not submit an online application. Online applications can also be processed quicker and allow you to receive your license certificate and wallet card quicker.
        • Please note a 30% discount applies to the fees for active journey and master discipline licenses when purchased in a single transaction. If you will be applying for more than one discipline license, you may elect to wait and apply for all licenses in a single transaction.

Contact Information

Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-007
Phone: (515) 281-7689
Deaf Relay: (Hearing or Speech Impaired) 711 or 1-800-735-2942

If you have specific questions about examination applications and licensing contact:
Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board
Iowa Department of Health
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
http://idph.iowa.gov/pmsb


Frequently Asked Questions

Does an individual who has a journey or master HVAC/R license still have to obtain a special electricians license pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 103?

No, HF 392 provided an exemption. Questions regarding the Special Electrical license will need to be directed to the Electrical Board at 1-866-923-1082.

Does an individual who has a journey or master plumbing license have to obtain a special electrician license pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 103?

The special electrician license was specifically for the HVAC/R trade. Questions regarding the Special Electrical license or any other type of electrical license will need to be directed to the Electrical Board at 1-866-923-1082.

Can a person perform volunteer work on an owner’s principal residence without having to obtain plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, or hydronic license?

Yes, although the volunteer is exempt from having to obtain a license please keep in mind that local jurisdictions may still have permit or inspection requirements. It is the homeowner and volunteer’s responsibility to contact the local jurisdiction prior to starting the work.

Is there a 30-day grace period for all licenses that allows renewing without penalty?

Yes, a 30 day grace period applies for any reason, including completion of CEU requirements. For licenses that have lapsed 31 to 60 days after the expiration of a license, a $60 late penalty will apply. For licenses that have lapsed 61 to 365 days after the expiration of a license, a $100.00 late penalty will apply. Licenses that have lapsed by more than 366 days will be required to submit current CEUs or sit for an examination.

What should I do if I have additional questions regarding the changes?

Please check the applicable section of our website first. You may also contact the Iowa Department of Public Health - Plumbing and Mechanical by phone toll-free at (866) 280-1521.