Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your day-to-day life. When you hire a plumber to clear 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 years of experience 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 issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they expect city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to decrease the possibility of mediocre workmanship, scams and health problems.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber:

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The subject areas covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can earn 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 familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of on-site experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only demand one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and practical 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.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job could be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only choose a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Excellent workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done.
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
  • Legal and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs commonly need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the necessary permits. If they proceed with the job, you could encounter code violations and fines later on. Additionally, you might face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber knows the proper techniques 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. A fully licensed team is much less likely to attempt to swindle 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 forfeit 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, 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!

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