Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your everyday life. When you hire a plumber to clear your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you want 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 few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses through the state. Instead, they depend on city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to reduce the chance of inferior workmanship, rip-offs and health concerns.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The topics covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can earn different licenses and certifications based on their education 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 require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is primarily an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some assessments only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while 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. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and demands annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job might be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. Why chance it? — only hire a licensed pro, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Awesome craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Completing even the most direct tasks, like snaking a drain, involves 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 solve the problem.
  • Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part 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 performing services in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs commonly need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the required permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could face code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you may face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Remove these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber adheres to the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to reduce the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Legitimate services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can make a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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.

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our clients 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 a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office near you today!