Plumbing is an important part of your daily life. When you trust a plumber to clear 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 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 require plumbing licenses through the state. Alternatively, they depend on city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to decrease the chance of mediocre workmanship, fraud and health concerns.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
Here's a summary of what it takes to get a plumber's license:
- Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training includes all the essential skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that bundle classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The topics covered deal with 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 earn 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: Some states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of on-site experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some states only demand 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and demands yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most current industry standards.
Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only hire a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Completing even the most direct projects, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, 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 protects you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
- Legal and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the required permits. If they go ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you can face legal problems 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 methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential 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. But a fully licensed team is much less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can lodge a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, leaving the plumber with a steep 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 Air Engineers Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver 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 Air Engineers Service Experts office near you today!