Plumbing is an important part of your daily life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's history can help, the main thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Instead, they depend on city and county governments to offer oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to reduce the risk of mediocre workmanship, deception and health problems.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training encompasses all the essential skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship training that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs normally take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing assessment, 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 by state and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can attain multiple licenses and certifications based on their training and experience. These vary by location, and not all are offered in every state, but the most familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is more or less 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 the necessary years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some places only expect 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and experience. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job might be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only choose a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Conducting even the most straightforward jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done.
- Liability insurance: A good number of states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This protects you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs frequently have to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically refused the necessary permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could encounter code violations and fines later on. Furthermore, you can face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber knows the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Reputable services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to scam you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can file a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, resulting in a hefty 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 Gordon's Service Experts, we go above and beyond to provide 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 Gordon's Service Experts office near you today!