Plumbing is an important part of your daily life. When you trust a plumber to clear 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 considering 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 require plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they use city and county agencies to offer oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to get a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to minimize the chance of low-quality workmanship, fraud and health issues.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training includes all the essential skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that combine classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs typically last 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 subject areas covered include plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Qualifications to take the exam vary based on where you are 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 necessary in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Many states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is generally 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 the required years of hands-on experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some states only expect 1 - 2 years 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 working experience. Earning ACE certification is more exhausive than typical plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job may 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:
- Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most direct jobs, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as one component of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically turned down the required permits. If they proceed with the job, you could encounter code violations and accompanying fees later on. Additionally, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Remove these risks by only employing 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 vital to decrease the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, resulting in a hefty 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 Rolf Griffin Service Experts , we go above and beyond to provide the best plumbing services to our clients throughout 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!