Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you’d expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and evaluating the company’s reputation can help, the main thing to look for is a plumbing license. 

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they count on city and county governments to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed Expert is the best way to reduce the risk of low-quality workmanship, scams and health concerns. 

Educational Criteria for Plumbers 

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

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the essential skills plumbers use every day. 
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship training that bundle classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training. 
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Qualifications to take the exam vary state-to-state and licensing level. 

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications 

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

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor. 
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the required years of on-site experience. 
  • Master plumber: The criteria to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some places only require 1 – 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience. 
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and practical experience. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most current industry standards. 

Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber 

Using an unlicensed plumber for the job might save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits end. Why chance it? — only work with a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience: 

  • Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most direct jobs, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done. 
  • Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home. 
  • Legal and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs commonly have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the necessary permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and fines later on. Furthermore, you could 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 qualified plumber understands the proper strategies 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. 
  • Reputable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is much less likely to try to swindle you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file a formal 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 & Plumbing, we go above and beyond to deliver 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office near you today! 

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