Plumbing is an important 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 considering the company's history can help, the # 1 thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only six states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses through the state. Actually, they depend on city and county governments to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to reduce the possibility of poor workmanship, scams and health concerns.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
Here's a summary of what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the vital skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages during the course of their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, 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. Requirements to take the exam vary by state 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 available in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of on-site experience.
- Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only expect 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, while others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and working experience. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and demands annual recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only hire a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Outstanding workmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most straightforward jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
- Liability insurance: A good number of states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually 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 encounter code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you may face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Remove these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber adheres to the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, 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.
Set up Any 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!