Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you call 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 evaluating the company's reputation can help, the main thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only six states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t assign plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they depend on city and county groups to offer oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can be certain that hiring a licensed professional is the ideal way to decrease the possibility of low-quality workmanship, scams and health concerns.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to get a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges facilitate plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship training that blend classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices receive wages during their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to receive 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 based on where you are and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can earn various licenses and certifications based on their education 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 need plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a minimal scope of work. This is ultimately 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 4 - 5 years of hands-on experience.
- Master plumber: The requirements to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only expect 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and practical experience. Receiving ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and usually requires yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job may save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don't gamble on your plumbing — only hire a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Awesome workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Conducting even the most basic projects, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of expertise. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while working in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs often require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically turned down the necessary permits. If they proceed with the job, you could encounter code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you might face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A qualified plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to minimize the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Not all plumbers have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can file a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect deception, 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.
Set up Any Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Komfort Air Service Experts, we go above and beyond to provide 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!