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 clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and considering the company's reputation can help, the first 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 at the state level. Actually, they expect city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the ideal way to minimize 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: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training covers all the necessary skills plumbers use every day.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship courses that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials covered deal with plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria 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 training 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: Certain states only require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of practical experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only demand 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and experience. Attaining ACE certification is more exhausive than typical plumber licensing and demands yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job could save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only choose a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Superb workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Performing even the most direct jobs, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the 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 medical bills if a plumber has an mishap 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 turned down the needed permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could receive code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you might face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber knows the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Reputable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, leaving the plumber with a steep 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 Stallion Heating Plumbing Air Conditioning, we go above and beyond to offer 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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