Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an important part of your daily life. When you hire a plumber to clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's years of experience 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 through the state. Alternatively, they count on city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to reduce the chance of low-quality workmanship, scams and health concerns.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training covers all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices get paid 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. Requirements to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can attain 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 familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Certain states only require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is generally 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 practical experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, but others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and experience. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only work with a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Outstanding workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Completing even the most clear-cut jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to display 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 completing work in your home.
  • Legitimate and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs often have to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly refused the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could confront code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you may face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber knows the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to minimize the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Legitimate services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is much less likely to try to swindle you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, 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.

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 communities 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 a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office near you today!

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