Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an important part of your everyday 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 evaluating the company's reputation 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 through the state. Actually, they expect city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to decrease the chance of inferior workmanship, deception and health issues.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training encompasses all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship programs that blend classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The topics covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements 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 available in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of practical experience.
  • Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some states only expect one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and working experience. Receiving ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and usually requires yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. Why chance it? — only choose a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most direct jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
  • Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
  • Legitimate and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs often require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you may face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber knows the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Trustworthy services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can make a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, leaving the plumber with a steep 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 Chief/Bauer Service Experts, 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!

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