Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you’d expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company’s reputation can help, the number one thing to look for is a plumbing license. 

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t assign plumbing licenses through the state. Alternatively, they count on city and county governments to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the ideal way to minimize the risk of poor workmanship, deception and health concerns. 

Educational Requirements for Plumbers 

This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber: 

  • Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use on a regular basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship training that bundle classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages during their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Qualifications to take the exam vary state-to-state and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can earn different licenses and certifications based on their education and experience. These vary by location, and not all are offered in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include: 

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight. 
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having 4 – 5 years of field experience. 
  • Master plumber: The requirements to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some places only demand 1 – 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others require four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and working experience. Receiving ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and usually requires annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards. 

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job may save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only hire a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Conducting even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem. 
  • Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home. 
  • Legitimate and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs commonly require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could receive code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Additionally, you could face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Remove these risks by only contracting a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber adheres to the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to decrease the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Reliable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, which might cost the plumber a severe fine or even causing them to forfeit their license. Knowing this provides extra peace of mind when hiring a plumber for the first time. 

Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our clients in North America. First, we are licensed, insured and ACE-certified. What’s more, everything we do is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. To receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office near you today! 

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