Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's reputation 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. Actually, they count on city and county agencies to supply 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 minimize the possibility of inferior workmanship, deception and health concerns.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training includes all the crucial skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship courses that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The subject areas covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements to take the exam vary state-to-state and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can earn different 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: Some states only need plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
- 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 be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some places only require 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and working experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and usually requires yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job may be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don't gamble on your plumbing — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most basic tasks, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Most 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 accident while performing services in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the needed permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you may face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber adheres to the proper methods 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.
- Legitimate services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can make a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, which might cost the plumber a severe 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 clients in 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!