Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company's reputation 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 require plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they expect city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the best way to reduce the possibility of mediocre workmanship, rip-offs and health issues.

Educational Expectations for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship programs that integrate classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each 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 based on where you are 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 complete residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of practical experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some places only require 1 - 2 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 experience. Earning ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most current industry standards.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

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

  • Awesome craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most direct projects, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of expertise. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, 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 demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part 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 mishap while completing work in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs commonly require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive 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 hiring a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, 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.

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Jack Nelson Service Experts, 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 request an appointment for reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!

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