Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's years of experience can help, the main 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. Alternatively, they count on city and county groups to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to reduce the risk of poor workmanship, scams and health issues.

Educational Requirements for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the necessary skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, 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. Criteria to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level.

Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications

Plumbers can receive 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: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight.
  • Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some states only demand one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the maximum level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards.

Benefits 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. Why chance it? — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Excellent workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Completing even the most basic jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
  • Liability insurance: Most 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 an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home.
  • Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs usually have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly turned down the needed permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you may face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber adheres to the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Legitimate services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is much less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge a formal 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 Comfort Masters Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our communities 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 a Comfort Masters Service Experts office near you today!

chat now widget box