Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?
Plumbing is an essential part of your day-to-day life. When you call a plumber to clear your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's years of experience can help, the # 1 thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses through the state. Actually, they use city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to minimize the risk of mediocre workmanship, fraud and health issues.
Educational Criteria for Plumbers
This is what it takes to get a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the necessary skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship training that bundle classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The subject areas covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Qualifications to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can receive various licenses and certifications based on their knowledge 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 need plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of field experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only expect one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and practical experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhausive than typical plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Selecting 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 expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Awesome workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Conducting even the most clear-cut 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 easy knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while completing work in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs frequently need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the necessary permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could face code violations and accompanying fees later on. Similarly, you might face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber adheres to the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is much less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can make a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, 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.
Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our communities 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!