Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your day-to-day life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's reputation can help, the first thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses through the state. Actually, they expect city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to decrease the chance of low-quality workmanship, deception and health issues.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training covers all the vital skills plumbers use every day.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that blend classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The topics covered include 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 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 common plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of hands-on experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only expect 1 - 2 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 top level of professionalism and practical experience. Earning ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job may save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only choose a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Awesome craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most clear-cut jobs, like snaking a drain, needs 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: A large number of states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as a condition 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 working in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Furthermore, you may face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber understands the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to decrease the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Reputable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can make an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our clients 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 request an appointment for reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office near you today!

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