Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Most States?

Plumbing is a crucial part of your day-to-day life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and considering the company's years of experience 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 require plumbing licenses through the state. Instead, they depend on city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to decrease the risk of poor workmanship, fraud and health issues.

Educational Criteria for Plumbers

This is what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:

  • Education: Numerous 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 programs that blend classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
  • Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The materials covered deal with 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 multiple licenses and certifications based on their training 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 mandate plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a modest scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
  • Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of hands-on experience.
  • Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only require 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while 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 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.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job may be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only work with a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Outstanding workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Conducting even the most clear-cut tasks, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber has what it takes for a job well done.
  • Liability insurance: Most 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 mishap while completing work in your home.
  • Legal and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs frequently require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly denied the needed permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber understands the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to reduce the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
  • Reliable services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to scam you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can file 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.

Set up Any Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional

At McKinley Heating Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our customers 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 us today!

chat now widget box