Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you trust a plumber to clean your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's history 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 require plumbing licenses through the state. Instead, they expect city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed Expert is the ideal way to minimize the chance of inferior workmanship, scams and health concerns.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

This is what it takes to get a plumber's license:

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the essential skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship programs that bundle classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The subject areas covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria to take the exam vary state-to-state 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 common plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Many states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only expect one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.

Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job might be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only hire a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Awesome craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting 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 rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: Most 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 an injury on-site if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs commonly need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the required permits. If they continue with the job, you could confront code violations and accompanying fees later on. Similarly, you could face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber knows the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to minimize the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Reliable services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, which might cost the plumber a severe 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 Teays Valley Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our communities across 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 us today!

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