Why Do Plumbers Need a License in Almost All States?

Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you call a plumber to clear your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and evaluating the company's reputation can help, the number one thing to look for is a plumbing license.

Only a few states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they count on city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed Expert is the best way to reduce the risk of poor workmanship, scams and health issues.

Educational Requirements for Plumbers

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

  • Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training includes all the necessary skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
  • Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship courses that bundle classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually take 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 earn a license. The topics covered include 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 receive multiple licenses and certifications based on their education and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:

  • Plumbing certificate: Some states only need plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is more or less an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
  • Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having four years of field experience.
  • Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some states only demand 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, but others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
  • ACE certification: Progressing to an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and experience. Attaining ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and involves annual recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most current industry standards.

Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber

Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job could be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. But when it comes to your home’s plumbing — only choose a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:

  • Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Completing even the most direct tasks, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of expertise. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, 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 prevents you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
  • Legitimate and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs usually require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely turned down the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and accompanying fees later on. Furthermore, you might face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
  • Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber knows the proper strategies 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: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can make an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, which might cost the plumber a severe 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 Becht/Givens Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer the best plumbing services to our communities 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!

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