Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All 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 like the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company’s history 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. Alternatively, they depend on city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed specialist is the ideal way to decrease the chance of low-quality workmanship, fraud and health problems. 

Educational Expectations for Plumbers 

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

  • Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the crucial skills plumbers use every day. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to receive 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 based on where you are and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can earn multiple 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: Many states only need plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight. 
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having four years of field experience. 
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some assessments only demand 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 working experience. Receiving ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards. 

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

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

  • Awesome workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most basic jobs, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem. 
  • Liability insurance: A good number of states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home. 
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely turned down the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you may face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Remove these risks by only choosing a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber understands the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to minimize the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Legitimate services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to swindle you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can file an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, leaving the plumber with a steep 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to deliver 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office near you today! 

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