Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you call 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 evaluating the company's years of experience 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 assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they depend on city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to reduce the possibility of low-quality workmanship, rip-offs and health concerns.
Educational Criteria for Plumbers
Here's a summary of what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship programs that bundle classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs normally take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The topics covered consist of 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 available in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of hands-on experience.
- Master plumber: The requirements 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, whereas others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and experience. Receiving ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and usually requires yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most current industry standards.
Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job might be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Superb craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Conducting even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs often have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could face code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Additionally, you could face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber understands the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to decrease 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. However, a fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to scam you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, resulting in a hefty 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, we go above and beyond to offer 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office near you today!