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, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you’d expect the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and evaluating the company’s years of experience can help, the # 1 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 through the state. Alternatively, they use city and county governments 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 specialist is the best way to reduce the chance of low-quality workmanship, rip-offs and health concerns. 

Educational Expectations for Plumbers 

Here’s a summary of what it takes to become a licensed plumber: 

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training covers all the crucial skills plumbers use on a daily basis. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs normally take four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to acquire 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 based on where you are and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

Plumbers can earn multiple licenses and certifications based on their education and experience. These vary by location, and not all are necessary in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include: 

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor. 
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the required 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, but others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards. 

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job could be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only work with a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, 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, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done. 
  • Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This protects 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: Large plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly turned down the necessary permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Additionally, you could face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Remove these risks by only choosing a licensed professional. 
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber understands the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to minimize 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. A fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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. 

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional 

At Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, 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 request an appointment for reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office near you today! 

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