Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your daily life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you’d like the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and evaluating the company’s reputation 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 require plumbing licenses at the state level. Instead, they use city and county groups to provide oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to reduce the risk of poor workmanship, deception and health issues. 

Educational Requirements for Plumbers 

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

  • Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs normally take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The topics covered consist of 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 knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are necessary in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include: 

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is effectively 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 necessary years of hands-on experience. 
  • Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only demand 1 – 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others require four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Becoming 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 guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most recent industry standards. 

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

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

  • Outstanding workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will solve the problem. 
  • Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home. 
  • Legal and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs often need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely turned down the needed permits. If they proceed with the job, you could face code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you might face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber damages 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 gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Trustworthy services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don’t have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can make a formal 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 & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to offer 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 & Plumbing office near you today! 

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