Plumbing is an essential part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's reputation can help, the first 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 expect city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to get a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to decrease the possibility of poor workmanship, rip-offs and health issues.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the essential skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs typically last 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 acquire a license. The topics covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements to take the exam vary state-to-state 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 offered in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight.
- Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some assessments only expect one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, while others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and experience. Receiving ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the most current industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job might be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don't gamble on your plumbing — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Excellent craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, 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 demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while completing work in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs commonly need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the required permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Furthermore, you may face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to minimize the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to swindle you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge an official 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.
Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Peachtree Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our clients 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!