Plumbing is a crucial part of your everyday life. When you trust a plumber to clean your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about 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 issue plumbing licenses through the state. Alternatively, they count on city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to decrease the risk of inferior workmanship, fraud and health problems.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the necessary skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship courses that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages during their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing assessment, 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. Qualifications to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can attain 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 typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Certain states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of on-site experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some places only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, but others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more exhausive than most plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most current industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job may be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only hire a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Superb craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Completing even the most basic tasks, 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 assured that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
- Legal and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs often have to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the necessary permits. If they continue with the job, you could face code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you might face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber knows the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Reputable services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is much less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, leaving the plumber with a steep fine or even causing them to forfeit 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 Norrell Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our customers 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 a Norrell Service Experts office near you today!