Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your daily life. When you hire a plumber to clear your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company's history can help, the main 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 use city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to decrease the chance of poor workmanship, fraud and health issues.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber:

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that bundle classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The topics covered consist of 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 different licenses and certifications based on their knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are offered in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having four years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only require 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and experience. Earning ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most current industry standards.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job may be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only hire a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps 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: Major plumbing jobs frequently require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the needed permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you can 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 qualified plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Trustworthy services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can file 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.

Arrange 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 across 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 us today!

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