State Disciplines

State Disciplines

The Iowa Legislature passed the “Iowa Plumber and Mechanical Professional Licensing Act” that created a licensing board under the Iowa Department of Public Health. The Board is responsible for establishing the rules of examination and licensure for plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, mechanical, hydronics, and sheet metal professionals who work in the state of Iowa.

The Board has contracted with Kirkwood Community College to conduct its examination program. This page is your guide to the process of taking Iowa plumbing, HVAC/Refrigeration, Mechanical, Hydronics examinations and the Journeyperson Sheet Metal examination.

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.

Please have your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover information available and an active email account. Once registered you will receive several emails. The following are those that you should save and keep in your records.

After Your Register 

  • Keep receipt of payment for your records.
  • Your registration confirmation will contain information to direct you to test site location and contact numbers to make an appointment for your exam.
  • Within one hour of registration, you will receive an email with the subject line: "[Exam name] (online) Class Log-in Information." PLEASE KEEP AND TAKE WITH YOU THE DAY OF TESTING. 
    • If you do not have this information with you at the test site you will be unable to log into the test. It will contain your username and password to log into the test. Only you will have this information and it is your responsibility to have it at your scheduled testing appointment.

You may pay the exam fee(s) by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. Exam fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • Master Plumber with Gas: $109
  • Journeyperson Plumber with Gas: $109
  • Master HVAC-Refrigeration with Gas: $109
  • Journeyperson HVAC-Refrigeration with Gas: $109
  • Master Hydronics with Gas: $109
  • Journeyperson Hydronics with Gas: $109
  • Master Mechanical: $109
  • Journeyperson Mechanical: $109
  • Journeyperson Sheet Metal: $109

You may take your exam at any of the qualifying test centers in Iowa and once registered with Kirkwood you will need to contact the test center of your choice to schedule your testing time. This list is provided in your confirmation email sent after you have completed your registration with Kirkwood Community College.

Test cities include:

  • Ankeny, IA
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Dubuque, IA 
  • Cedar Falls, IA
  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Council Bluffs, IA
  • Creston, IA
  • Estherville, IA
  • Fort Dodge, IA
  • Ottumwa, IA
  • Marshalltown, IA
  • Mason City, IA
  • Sheldon, IA
  • Sioux City, IA
  • Tipton, IA

Process on Exam Day

Reference materials are allowed for Plumbing, HVAC/Refrigeration, Mechanical, and Hydronics Journeyperson and Master Examinations and Journeyperson Sheet Metal Examinations.

To ensure that all candidates are tested under equally favorable conditions, only approved, bound references are allowed during the exam.

  • Code references may be brought into the exam room in loose-leaf format.
  • Photocopies of reference materials may not be used.
  • No handwritten or additional notes (letters, words, diagrams, etc.) are allowed in reference books. Any reference material that has been written in during the exam will be confiscated.
  • Highlighting and permanent tabbing added before your arrival at the test center is acceptable.
  • Post-it notes are not considered permanent tabbing and will not be allowed. Reference materials will be checked at the examination site before and after the examinations.
  • Sharing reference materials is not allowed.
  • No other reference materials, papers or study materials are allowed at the test center. If you are found with these or any other aids, you will not be allowed to continue the exam and your answers will not be scored.
  • Magnifying glasses.
  • Eyeglasses, if necessary.
  • Architects' scale or rule.
  • Battery-operated calculator that is nonprogrammable, not capable of storing examination information, no ribbon or printing capabilities,
    foreign language/English translation dictionaries, if needed.

 

We recommend that you avoid bringing personal items to the testing center.
Note the following:

  • Electronic equipment like cell phones, PDA's, pagers, cameras, tape recordings, laptops, etc are not permitted in the testing area.
  • Other personal items like watches, outerwear that is not being worn while testing (sweater, jacket, etc.), briefcase, purses, etc. are not permitted in the testing area.
  • If you leave the testing room while an exam is in progress, you must sign out/in on the roster and you will lose exam time.
  • You are not allowed to use any electronic devices or phones during breaks.
  • No guest, visitors, or family members are allowed in the testing area.

Candidates who engage in any kind of misconduct or disruptive or offensive behavior may be dismissed from the examination. Examples are:

  • Giving or receiving help.
  • Sharing supplies.
  • Taking part in an act of impersonation.
  • Removing test materials or notes from the testing room.
  • Using rude or offensive language and behavior that delays or interrupts testing.

Weapons are not allowed at the testing center. Please note all college campuses are smoke-free.

Test center administrators are not allowed to answer any questions pertaining to the exam content. If you do not understand a question on the examination, you should answer the question to the best of your ability.

At the end of your exam, your score will be shown on the screen. The report will indicate percent of correct answers. Exam results are confidential and will be revealed only to the applicant and the Board.

Make sure to take the email that was sent to you within 1 hour after your registration. Subject line "[Exam name] (online) class log in information." Remember this has your username and password needed to take the test.

Arrival: You should arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled examination appointment in order to verify your identification and allow time for you to sign in.

Identification: You must present a valid form of identification before you can test. That identification document must be government-issued (e.g., driver's license, state-issued identification card, military identification card or passport). It must contain both a current photo and your signature and have a name that exactly matches the name used to register for the exam (including designations such as "Jr", or "III").

Important: Failure to provide appropriate identification at the time of the exam will prevent you from taking the exam and you will need to reschedule for a different day.

Reasonable testing accommodations are provided to allow candidates with documented disabilities recognized under the Americans with Disabilities Act an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. There is no additional charge for these accommodations.

To request accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

  • Go to the Kirkwood Community College, Learning Services office in Cedar Rapids located at 2036 Cedar Hall to fill out an application. 
  • Click on the link provided to print out the application and return the completed form to Learning Services: CE Accomodations Request Form
  • For additional information and questions on receiving ADA accommodations please call the Learning Services office at 319-398-5574.

ESL note: If English is your second language, please note that a language barrier is not considered a disability.

Testing generally does not occur on the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Additional state holidays may be observed where you schedule your exam appointment.

The following outlines are the basis of the Iowa plumbing and mechanical exams.

Each outline lists all topics covered in the exam and the approximate percentage of questions asked about each topic. Each outline also indicates the total number of questions on the exam and the maximum time allowed to take the exam.

Exam References: each outline lists references that were used to develop the exams, including those references that may be used during the exam. NOTE: Code references may be brought into the exam room in loose-leaf format.


The following information is for the 2018 exam editions 

IA Master Plumber with Gas
Open Book, 125 questions, 5 hours

Subject Area Percent
Chapter 2 - Definitions 2%
Chapter 3 - General Regulations 4%
Chapter 4 - Plumbing Fixtures and Fixture Fittings 2%
Chapter 5 - Water Heaters 21%
Chapter 6 - Water Supply and Distribution 13%
Chapter 7 - Sanitary Drainage 12%
Chapter 8 - Indirect Wastes 2%
Chapter 9 - Vents 2%
Chapter 10 - Traps and Interceptors 3%
Chapter 11 - Storm Drainage 2%
Chapter 12 - Fuel Gas Piping 5%
Chapter 13 - Health Care Facilities and Medical Gas and Medical Vacuum Systems 4%
Chapter 14 - Firestop Protection 2%
Chapter 15 - Alternate Water Sources for Nonpotable Applications 2%
Sizing - Water Systems Sizing 9%
Sizing - Drain, Waste and Vent Systems Sizing 11%
Sizing - Fuel Pipe Sizing 7%

References allowed during the exam
1 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) www.iapmo.org 
2 Iowa State Plumbing Code 2019 – Amendment Booklet, Iowa Dept. of Public Health, http://www.idph.iowa.gov/pmsb/iowa-code 
 

IA Journeyperson Plumber with Gas
Open Book, 75 questions, 3 hours

Subject Area Percent
General Knowledge of the Uniform Plumbing Code 32%
Drainage, Waste, and Vent Systems 35%
Water Supply and Distribution 23%
Fuel Piping 11%

References allowed during the exam
1 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) www.iapmo.org
2 Iowa State Plumbing Code 2019 – Amendment Booklet, Iowa Dept. of Public Health, www.idph.iowa.gov/pmsb/iowa-code 
 

IA Master HVAC/Refrigeration with Gas
Open Book, 100 questions, 4 hours

Subject Area Percent
HVAC Terms, Principles, Administration 16%
HVAC Installation 14%
Venting, Duct, Combustion Air 18%
Gas Piping 8%
HVAC Electrical 13%
Protection 11%
Refrigeration Term System, Operation 20%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, 19th Edition, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-61960-199-4 Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc., 18604 West Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477-6243, www.g-w.com/hvac-r 
3 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition by National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619

 
IA Journeyperson HVAC/Refrigeration with Gas
Open Book, 75 questions, 3 hours

Subject Area Percent
HVAC Principles, Terms, Administration & Safety 21%
HVAC Installation Requirements 15%
Venting, Combustion, Gas Piping 23%
Boilers, Ducts, Electricals 17%
Refrigeration, Terms, System Operations 24%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 Modern Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, 19th Edition, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-61960-199-4 Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc., 18604 West Creek Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477-6243, http://www.g-w.com/hvac-r 
3 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition by National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619

 
IA Master Hydronics with Gas
Open Book, 100 questions, 4 hours

Subject Area Percent
Water Treatment & Feed 6%
Fuels & Firing methods 14%
General Code 10%
Startup and Shutdown 6%
Piping, Pumps, Valving 10%
Controls & Control Systems 15%
Maintenance & Repairs 15%
Tests & Inspections 9%
Refrigeration 10%
Turbines 5%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 Boiler Operator's Guide - Anthony Kohan, 4th Edition, Hardback McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, Release Date 10/1/1997 ISBN-13 9780070365742 | 978-0-07-036574-2
3 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition by National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619
4 Steam-Plant Operation - 7th edition by Thomas F. Lammers, Everett B. Woodruff and Herbert B. Lammers, Publisher: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, ISBN13: 978-0070361508

IA Journeyperson Hydronics with Gas
Open Book, 75 questions, 2 hours

Subject Area Percent
Water Supply Treat & Feed 7%
Fuels & Firing Methods 17%
General Code 18%
Piping, Pumps, Valving 16%
Controls & Control Systems 16%
Maintenance & Repairs 8%
Tests & Inspections 7%
Refrigeration & Turbines 11%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 Boiler Operator's Guide - Anthony Kohan, 4th Edition, Hardback McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, Release Date 10/1/1997 ISBN-13 9780070365742 | 978-0-07-036574-2
3 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition by National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619
4 Steam-Plant Operation - 7th edition by Thomas F. Lammers, Everett B. Woodruff and Herbert B. Lammers, Publisher: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, ISBN13: 978-0070361508

 
IA Master Mechanical with Gas
Open Book, 100 questions, 4 hours

Subject Area Percent
General Requirements 34%
Appliances & Equipment 11%
Exhaust & Vent 10%
Duct Systems 12%
Combustion Air 9%
Chimneys & Vents 7%
Fuel Supply System 6%
Electrical 9%
Water 2%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition by National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619
3 NFPA 70 – National Electrical Code, 2017 Edition by National Fire Protection Association www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619

 
IA Journeyperson Mechanical with Gas
Open Book, 75 questions, 2 hours

Subject Area Percent
General Requirements & Plan Reading 36%
Appliance & Equipment 13%
Exhaust & Ventilation 11%
Duct Systems 13%
Combustion Air 8%
Chimneys & Vents 7%
Fuel Supply Systems 5%
Electrical 7%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition by National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619
3 NFPA 70 – National Electrical Code, 2017 Edition by National Fire Protection Association www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619

 
IA Journeyperson Sheet Metal
Open Book, 75 questions, 2 hours

Subject Area Percent
Principles and Terminology 4%
Worker Safety 8%
Duct System Materials 13%
Combustion Air 5%
Exhaust Systems 11%
Fresh Air & Ventilation 11%
Grease Hoods 9%
Supply & Return Duct Systems 16%
Appliance Venting 9%
Testing, Adjusting & Balancing 3%
Plan Reading & Analysis 11%

References allowed during the exam
1 International Mechanical Code, 2018, International Code Council, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, IL 60478-5795, www.iccsafe.org 
2 NFPA 54 – National Fuel Gas Code, 2018 Edition National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02619
3 HVAC Duct Construction Standards-Metal & Flexible, 3rd Edition by SMACNA (Jan 15, 2005), http://www.smacna.org/bookstore Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association 4201 Lafayette Center Drive Chantilly, Virginia 20151-1219

 


A score of 75% or above is required to pass each exam. Once you pass your exam, you will need to contact the Board Office to submit a Post-Examination Licensure Application.

If you do not pass the exam, you must register for a new exam.

To schedule for a retake exam, contact Kirkwood Community College at 319-398-7768 or 319-398-5529.

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 SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406
Faxed appeals are not accepted because an original signature is required.

More Questions?

Connect With Us


Continuing Education
6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
319-398-1022
contactce@kirkwood.edu 

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