Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your daily life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and considering the company's history can help, the # 1 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 use city and county agencies to supply oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed specialist is the ideal way to decrease the chance of inferior workmanship, fraud and health concerns.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

Here's a summary of what it takes to get a plumber's license:

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship programs that combine classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The materials covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can receive various licenses and certifications based on their education and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only need plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of hands-on experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria 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 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 practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and usually requires annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job may be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don't gamble on your plumbing — 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 an easy field. Conducting even the most straightforward jobs, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
  • Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs commonly need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically turned down the required permits. If they continue with the job, you could confront code violations and fines later on. Additionally, you may face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only employing 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 fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to minimize the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Reliable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is much less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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.

Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we go above and beyond to provide the best plumbing services to our communities 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 request an appointment for reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office near you today!

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