Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your everyday life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, fix 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 reputation 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 issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they expect city and county groups to supply oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed professional is the best way to decrease the possibility of mediocre workmanship, fraud and health problems.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

This is what it takes to get a plumber's license:

  • Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes 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 practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to earn 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 state-to-state and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can earn multiple licenses and certifications based on their training 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 limited scope of work. This is primarily an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The requirements to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and working experience. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and usually requires annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job could save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only choose a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Superb workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps 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.
  • Legal and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs commonly have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically turned down the required permits. If they continue with the job, you could face code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Additionally, you could face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary 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 far less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, resulting in a hefty fine or even causing them to forfeit 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 Strand Brothers Service Experts, 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 us today!

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