Licensing and Registration

Once you complete your apprenticeship as a Plumber and Drainer in the NT, you should immediately apply for a Journeyman Registration to enable you to continue working in the industry. If you then decide to move interstate, you can apply for registration in that state under the Mutual Recognition system. If you do not register as a Journeyman in the NT before leaving, it will be more difficult to register elsewhere at a later date.

Journeyman registration

You should apply for Journeyman registration as soon as you complete your apprenticeship. If you leave it for a year and the course content  changes, you may have to do additional units to meet the new requirements. Also if you want to travel interstate, it will be easier to register there if you  have a current Journeyman registration.

A registered Journeyman may carry out plumbing / draining work under the general direction of an Advanced Tradesman. A Journeyman may supervise the work of apprentices and trades assistants but is not permitted to contract for plumbing / draining work in his own right.

Application forms may be downloaded from the forms page of this site, obtained from the Board's office or from the nearest Territory Business Centre. The application form lists the information you need to submit to the Board with your application. Applications will not be processed until all information is provided.

If you completed your training in another Australian State or Territory and you are registered in your home state you can apply for a Northern Territory registration under Mutual Recognition.

Advanced Tradesman licences

If you hold an Advanced Tradesman's licence, you may carry out plumbing / draining work in your own right, and direct / supervise the work of apprentices, journeymen and trades assistants, but you cannot certify work. To certify work you must be registered as a Certifying Plumber and Drainer with the Building Practitioners Board.

Licence requirements

All applicants for Advanced Tradesmen licences must show that they have

Required units of competency

Core Title
CPCPCM4011A Carry out work based risk control processes
CPCPCM4012A  Estimate and cost work
BSBSMB401A Establish legal and risk management requirements of small business
CPCPDR4011B Design and size sanitary drainage systems
CPCPDR4012B Design and size stormwater drainage systems
CPCPDR4013B Design and size domestic treatment plant disposal systems
CPCPSN4011B Design and size sanitary plumbing systems
CPCPWT4011B Design and size heated and cold water services and systems
CPCPWT4022A Commission and maintain backflow prevention devices
CPCPWT4023A Commission and maintain hot water temperature control devices

In the NT these units are available from Charles Darwin University (08 8946 7508), however you may complete them at any training organisation of your choice.

Application forms may be downloaded from the forms page of this site, obtained from the Board's office or from the nearest Territory Business Centre. The application form lists the information you need to submit to the Board with your application and applications will not be processed until all information is provided.

Endorsements for Backflow Prevention and / or Hot Water Temperature Control Devices can be added to your licence card on receipt of evidence that you successfully completed the relevant course.

If you hold a current licence in another Australian State or Territory you may apply for a Northern Territory licence under Mutual Recognition.

Licence renewal

If you fail to renew your licence within three months of the expiry date,  you will need to satisfy the Board that you meet the current licence requirements.

Overseas qualifications

If you want to work as a plumber in the NT but you qualified overseas, please read the Board's policy on assessment of overseas applicants and the information sheet. Other information for overseas applicants can be found at:

Skills maintenance

In recent years, as in other states and territories, third party inspections of work in the Northern Territory have been reduced, it is now more important than ever for plumbers to maintain their skills and keep abreast of current installation requirements and standards.

The NT plumbing industry has a licence period of three years. This provides the opportunity, at the time of renewal, to check that the plumbing worker’s skills have been maintained by having the applicant provide information about work carried out over the licence period on the renewal application form.

As the main reason for licensing is to ensure the health and safety of plumbing workers and the community, it is difficult to argue that skills maintenance is not an important obligation for everyone in the industry.

Consequently, at the time of renewal the Board requires detailed evidence of work experience and an audit of the experience listed may be performed if there is any doubt about the evidence provided or the competence of the applicant.

Further information on this subject can be found in the Board's information sheet titled Skills Maintenance for Plumbers.

Anyone who does not demonstrate an appropriate amount of work experience at renewal time will be referred for a skills assessment by the Plumbing Department at Charles Darwin University. The Trade School may be contacted on (08) 8946 7508 or email to find out more about Skills Maintenance and/or enrol for the assessment.

Backflow prevention/thermostatic mixing valves

Courses are held at Charles Darwin University's Darwin campus from time to time. For bookings and information about future courses, contact CDU on 8946 7508 or by email.

Once you have completed a course, send the Registrar a copy of your certificate and she will issue you with a new card, complete with the appropriate endorsement.

The history of a Journeyman

In medieval Europe all tradesmen (plumbers, wheelwrights, glaziers, roofers, blacksmiths, thatchers etc) aspired to be Guildsmen, ie members of their respective trade “Guilds”.

A young apprentice was indentured to a master tradesman for two to seven years of training and at the conclusion of the training period he became a Journeyman. The Journeyman was required to leave his town / village and journey around other towns and villages for three years and one day, working at his trade to gain experience. Hence the name Journeyman.

At the end of the year, the Journeyman could return to his home town and submit a piece of his best work to the guild for approval.  If this “master-piece” was accepted he could become a master craftsman and open his own shop.  Some European trades still follow this tradition.

Incidentally, the term Journeyman has nothing to do with traveling; it comes from the French word "journee" (day), and meant that the journeyman was paid by the day for his work.

Thanks to Peter McDonald of Alice Springs for the above information.