Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an essential part of your daily life. When you hire 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 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 issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they depend on city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed Expert is the ideal way to minimize the chance of poor workmanship, fraud and health problems.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

Here’s what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training covers all the crucial skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with practical experience. These programs normally take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The materials covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Qualifications to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can attain various licenses and certifications based on their knowledge 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: Many states only require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some assessments only expect one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and working experience. Attaining ACE certification is more exhausive than typical plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.

Rewards 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. Don’t risk it — only choose a licensed expert, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Completing even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
  • Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to show 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 mishap while completing work in your home.
  • Legitimate and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs usually have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you might face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber adheres to the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to reduce the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, which might cost the plumber a severe 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 Levy & Son Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer 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 us today!

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