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 clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company’s reputation can help, the first thing to look for is a plumbing license. 

Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they depend on city and county governments to offer oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the best way to decrease the chance of mediocre workmanship, deception and health issues. 

Educational Requirements for Plumbers 

Here’s a summary of what it takes to obtain a plumber’s license: 

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the essential skills plumbers use every day. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The topics covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements to take the exam vary state-to-state and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can earn various 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: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor. 
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 – 5 years of field experience. 
  • Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some assessments only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while 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 experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards. 

Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don’t risk it — only choose a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Superb craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most straightforward tasks, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem. 
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home. 
  • Legal and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs often need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly refused the required permits. If they continue with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you can face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only hiring a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber adheres to the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don’t have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, 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 offer the best plumbing services to our customers throughout 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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