Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your everyday life. When you call a plumber to clear your drains, fix 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 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 assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they expect city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed specialist is the ideal way to reduce the risk of low-quality workmanship, fraud and health issues. 

Educational Requirements for Plumbers 

This is what it takes to get a plumber’s license: 

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the crucial skills plumbers use every day. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship programs that combine classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The materials covered include 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 training and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include: 

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor. 
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of field experience. 
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only demand one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others call for four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhaustive than most plumber licensing and usually requires yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most current industry standards. 

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job may be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only hire a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Excellent workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. 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 demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while completing work in your home. 
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs frequently need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely turned down the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could receive code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you could face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only employing a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber understands the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks. 
  • Reliable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don’t have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to swindle you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can make an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, 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. 

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our communities across 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! 

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