Plumbing is an essential part of your day-to-day life. When you trust a plumber to clean your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's years of experience can help, the # 1 thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t require plumbing licenses through the state. Instead, they use city and county groups to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed professional is the top way to reduce the possibility of poor workmanship, deception and health problems.
Educational Criteria for Plumbers
This is what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training encompasses all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that blend classroom learning with on-site 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 test, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The materials 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 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 typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of on-site experience.
- Master plumber: The requirements to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only require 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others call for 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 exhausive than most plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Advantages 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 stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only hire a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Superb workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Completing even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. 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: Most states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the necessary permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Furthermore, you could face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber adheres to the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Legitimate services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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.
Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our communities 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning office near you today!