Plumbing is an essential part of your day-to-day life. When you trust 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 learning more about the company's history can help, the main thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they use city and county agencies to supply oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to decrease the chance of low-quality workmanship, fraud and health issues.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
This is what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship courses that integrate classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs normally last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during the course of their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating 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. Qualifications to take the exam vary by state and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can receive different licenses and certifications based on their knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of hands-on experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some assessments only demand 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, while others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhausive than typical plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job may be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — 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 you might think. Completing even the most clear-cut projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. 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 accident while completing work in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs frequently have to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the necessary permits. If they proceed with the job, you could receive code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you may face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber adheres to the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to minimize the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is much less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. In the end, 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.
Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Finch Air Conditioning & Heating, 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Finch Air Conditioning & Heating office near you today!