Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and considering 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 require plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they use city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed professional is the best way to decrease the risk of mediocre workmanship, deception and health problems.

Educational Requirements for Plumbers

This is what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:

  • Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs normally last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials covered include things like 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 attain multiple licenses and certifications based on their education and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Many states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of on-site experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only expect 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job may save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don’t risk it — only choose a licensed pro, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Awesome workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most basic jobs, like snaking a drain, involves 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 solve the problem.
  • Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs commonly require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely turned down the required permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and fines later on. Furthermore, you could face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Remove these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber understands the proper techniques 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.
  • Trustworthy services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is much less likely to try to swindle you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can make 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 Winnipeg Supply Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our customers 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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