Plumbing is an important part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, service 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 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 assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Instead, they use city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed Expert is the best way to decrease the chance of poor workmanship, fraud and health problems.
Educational Criteria for Plumbers
Here's a summary of what it takes to get a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the crucial skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The subject areas covered consist of 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 receive 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 familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having four years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only expect one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and experience. Attaining ACE certification is more exhausive than most plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most current industry standards.
Perks 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. Why chance it? — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Excellent craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most direct jobs, 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 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 prevents you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home.
- Legal and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs often require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the needed permits. If they proceed with the job, you could encounter code violations and accompanying fees later on. Similarly, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber knows the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce 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. In the end, homeowners can file a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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.
Set up Any Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Climate Control Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our customers 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!