Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and considering the company’s reputation can help, the number one thing to look for is a plumbing license. 

Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they count on city and county groups to supply oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the ideal way to minimize the risk of low-quality workmanship, rip-offs and health problems. 

Educational Expectations for Plumbers 

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

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the vital skills plumbers use on a regular basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship programs that combine classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials 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 attain 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 common plumbing licenses and certifications include: 

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor. 
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of on-site experience. 
  • Master plumber: The requirements to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some places only require 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and experience. Attaining ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards. 

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only hire a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Excellent craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most basic projects, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of expertise. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem. 
  • Liability insurance: A good number of states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while completing work in your home. 
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically refused the needed permits. If they proceed with the job, you could receive code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only hiring a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber understands the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Reliable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can make a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, which might cost the plumber a severe fine or even causing them to lose 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 & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to provide 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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