Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your day-to-day life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's reputation can help, the first thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Instead, they count on city and county agencies to supply oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to minimize the chance of mediocre workmanship, deception and health issues.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the necessary skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that blend classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The subject areas covered include things like 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 attain 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 familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of on-site experience.
  • Master plumber: The requirements to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some assessments only expect 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and experience. Receiving ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only work with a licensed pro, no matter how simple or complex the job is, 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 jobs, like snaking a drain, needs 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 will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs commonly require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could receive code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you may face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber adheres to 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.
  • Legitimate services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, 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 Roland J. Down Service Experts , we go above and beyond to provide 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 us today!

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