Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is a crucial 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 a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company’s years of experience can help, the number one thing to look for is a plumbing license. 

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they use city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the ideal way to minimize the chance of mediocre workmanship, rip-offs and health problems. 

Educational Criteria for Plumbers 

This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber: 

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that bundle classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during their training. 
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to earn 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 state-to-state and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can receive different 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 handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision. 
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of on-site experience. 
  • Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only require one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Progressing to 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 ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most current 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 stop. Don’t gamble on your plumbing — only choose a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Awesome craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Conducting even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem. 
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while completing work in your home. 
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually have to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically refused the needed permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you may face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only hiring a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber knows the proper techniques 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 contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Trustworthy services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, 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. 

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to provide 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office near you today! 

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