Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's years of experience 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 issue plumbing licenses through the state. Actually, they depend on city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to reduce the possibility of mediocre workmanship, rip-offs and health problems.

Educational Requirements for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training covers all the vital skills plumbers use every day.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The topics covered deal with plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can attain various licenses and certifications based on their training and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Many states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing 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 places only expect 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and working experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhausive than typical plumber licensing and demands 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 could be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only choose a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Awesome workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Performing even the most basic jobs, 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 will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs often need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the necessary permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Furthermore, you may face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber adheres to the proper strategies 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.
  • Reliable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to scam you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can make a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, resulting in a hefty fine or even causing them to lose their license. Knowing this provides extra peace of mind when hiring a plumber for the first time.

Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Stevenson Service Experts, we go above and beyond to provide the best plumbing services to our customers throughout 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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