Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you hire a plumber to clear your drains, repair 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 years of experience can help, the main thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only six states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they count on city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed Expert is the ideal way to minimize the possibility of low-quality workmanship, scams and health problems.

Educational Requirements for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the vital skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages during the course of their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive 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 earn multiple licenses and certifications based on their education 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: Many states only require plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of on-site experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only expect 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more exhausive than most plumber licensing and usually requires yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most current industry standards.

Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don’t risk it — only hire a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Superb workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most clear-cut tasks, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done.
  • 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 liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home.
  • Legal and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs usually require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely turned down the required permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you could face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber adheres to the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to reduce the risk of water pollution, 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 swindle you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file 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.

Schedule Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At R & M Climate Control Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver 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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