Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company's history can help, the number one thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only six states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they count on city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to get a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to reduce the chance of low-quality workmanship, rip-offs and health issues.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training covers 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 normally last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The subject areas 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 attain multiple licenses and certifications based on their training and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Many states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some states only demand 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others call for 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. Earning ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job may be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only work with a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Excellent workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, 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 prevents you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs often have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the needed permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber adheres to the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Reputable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is far 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, resulting in a hefty fine or even causing them to forfeit their license. Knowing this provides extra peace of mind when hiring a plumber for the first time.

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our clients 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!