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'd expect the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company's history can help, the first thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only six states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they count on city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed professional is the ideal way to reduce the possibility of poor workmanship, fraud and health issues.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use every day.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship programs that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages during their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, 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. Criteria to take the exam vary based on where you are 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 necessary in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of on-site experience.
  • Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some places only expect 1 - 2 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 highest level of professionalism and practical experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhausive 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

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most clear-cut 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 assured 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 protects you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
  • Legal and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs frequently require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly refused the required permits. If they proceed with the job, you could face code violations and accompanying fees later on. Similarly, you can face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber adheres to the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Legitimate services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that 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. After all, homeowners can make an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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.

Schedule 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 customers 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 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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