Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clear 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 evaluating the company's history can help, the # 1 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. Actually, they expect city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed professional is the top way to decrease the chance of poor workmanship, scams and health concerns.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber:

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training covers all the crucial skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship training that bundle classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The subject areas covered deal with plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements 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: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the required years of hands-on experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some assessments only demand one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and working experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhausive than most plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most current industry standards.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only choose a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Excellent craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most straightforward tasks, 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 be assured knowing that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done.
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the necessary permits. If they continue with the job, you could face code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber understands 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.
  • Reliable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge a formal 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.

Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Epperson Service Experts, we go above and beyond to provide the best plumbing services to our customers 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Epperson Service Experts office near you today!

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