Plumbing is an essential part of your everyday life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's reputation can help, the # 1 thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only six states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses through the state. Alternatively, they count on city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed professional is the top way to decrease the risk of poor workmanship, fraud and health issues.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
This is what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship programs that integrate classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages during the course of their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The subject areas covered consist of 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 receive 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 typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only require 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and working experience. Earning ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and demands yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only hire a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Exceptional workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Performing even the most clear-cut tasks, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an accident while completing work in your home.
- Legal and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs frequently have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly refused the needed permits. If they proceed with the job, you could confront code violations and fines later on. Furthermore, you can face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber understands the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to minimize the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Reputable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, resulting in a hefty fine or even causing them to lose 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 Pardee Service Experts, 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!