Plumbing is an important part of your everyday 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 # 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 through the state. Alternatively, they count on city and county groups to supply oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to obtain a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed specialist is the ideal way to minimize the possibility of poor workmanship, scams and health concerns.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to get a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the crucial 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 usually take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The subject areas covered consist of 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 different licenses and certifications based on their knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are necessary in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of field experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some places only demand one or two years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and working experience. Receiving ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and demands annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most current industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. 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:
- Superb workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Completing even the most clear-cut jobs, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of expertise. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done.
- Liability insurance: A large number of states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs frequently need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the necessary permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you could face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber knows the proper methods 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.
- Legitimate services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can file an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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 Barlow 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 a Barlow Service Experts office near you today!