Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, repair 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 assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they expect city and county groups to provide oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to reduce the possibility of poor workmanship, rip-offs and health concerns. 

Educational Criteria for Plumbers 

Here’s a summary of 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 essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs normally last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The materials covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Qualifications to take the exam vary by state and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can earn multiple 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 handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is ultimately 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 four years of field experience. 
  • Master plumber: The requirements to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some places only expect one or two 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 top level of professionalism and practical experience. Receiving ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the latest industry standards. 

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job could save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don’t gamble on your plumbing — only work with a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Completing even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, involves 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 will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem. 
  • Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home. 
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically refused the required permits. If they proceed with the job, you could confront code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you could face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber adheres to the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to minimize the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Trustworthy services: Some plumbers 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. After all, homeowners can make a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, which might cost the plumber a severe 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 & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our communities 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office near you today!