Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your everyday 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 getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company’s history can help, the main thing to look for is a plumbing license. 

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Instead, they use city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed professional is the best way to minimize the risk of mediocre workmanship, deception and health issues. 

Educational Criteria for Plumbers 

Here’s a summary of what it takes to become a licensed plumber: 

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can receive multiple licenses and certifications based on their training and experience. These vary by location, and not all are offered in every state, but the most familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include: 

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor. 
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having 4 – 5 years of hands-on experience. 
  • Master plumber: The criteria to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some places only require one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, but others require four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and working experience. Receiving ACE certification is more exhaustive than most plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the latest industry standards. 

Perks 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. Don’t risk it — only work with a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Exceptional workmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Conducting even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will solve the problem. 
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home. 
  • Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs often require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could face code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you can face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Remove these risks by only employing a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber understands the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to decrease the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Legitimate services: Some plumbers don’t have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, which might cost the plumber a severe fine or even causing them to lose their license. Knowing this provides extra peace of mind when hiring a plumber for the first time. 

Set up Any Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional 

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

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