Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you hire 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 first thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses through the state. Instead, they depend on city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed specialist is the ideal way to decrease the possibility of poor workmanship, scams and health problems.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the crucial skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship training that bundle classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages during the course of their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The materials covered include things like 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 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 typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is effectively an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of hands-on experience.
- Master plumber: The requirements to be considered for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only require 12 to 24 months 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. Earning ACE certification is more rigorous than most plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only choose a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Superb craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most direct jobs, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
- Liability insurance: A good number of states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly turned down the necessary permits. If they proceed with the job, you could face code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you could face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber knows the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and natural gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Reliable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to scam you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can make a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, 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.
Set up Any Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Coastal Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our clients 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 request an appointment for reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Coastal Service Experts office near you today!