Plumbing is an important part of your everyday life. When you hire a plumber to clear your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company's years of experience can help, the # 1 thing to look for is a plumbing license.
Only a handful of states — Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming — don’t issue plumbing licenses through the state. Alternatively, they use city and county agencies to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed Expert is the top way to decrease the possibility of low-quality workmanship, fraud and health issues.
Educational Criteria for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Many vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training encompasses all the crucial skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually take four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages during the course of their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to earn a license. The materials 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 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 require plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is primarily an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having four years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only require 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others insist on four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and practical experience. Receiving ACE certification is more exhausive than most plumber licensing and usually requires annual recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Selecting an unlicensed plumber for the job may be less expensive at first, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only hire a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Outstanding craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of expertise. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or an injury on-site if a plumber has an mishap while working in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs often need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you could face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber impairs the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber knows the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are essential to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Reputable services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is significantly less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can lodge an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect fraud, 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 BW/Cook Service Experts, we go above and beyond to offer 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!