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 clear your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's history can help, the # 1 thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they count on city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to minimize the risk of low-quality workmanship, fraud and health problems.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the crucial skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The materials covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can receive different 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: Many 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 master plumber oversight.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the required years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only require 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas 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. Receiving ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and usually requires annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest 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. Why chance it? — only work with a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Completing even the most direct tasks, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while performing services in your home.
  • Legal and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the necessary permits. If they continue with the job, you could face code violations and fines later on. Additionally, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Legitimate services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file 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.

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At Broad Ripple Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our communities 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!

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