Plumbing is an essential part of your everyday life. When you hire a plumber to clear your drains, fix your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of getting the job done right. While reading reviews and considering the company's history 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 issue plumbing licenses at the state level. Actually, they depend on city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by city, you can be certain that hiring a licensed specialist is the best way to reduce the chance of mediocre workmanship, fraud and health issues.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
This is what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges provide plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the essential skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship programs that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The topics 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 earn multiple licenses and certifications based on their knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are available in every state, but the most familiar plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Many states only require plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is primarily an apprentice-level plumber working with master plumber oversight.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having four years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary significantly by location. Some places only require 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, while 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. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and demands yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Perks of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job could 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 the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Conducting even the most basic tasks, like snaking a drain, requires specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will solve the problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This prevents you, the homeowner, from being left responsible for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an mishap while performing services in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Big plumbing jobs often have to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly turned down the necessary permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could receive code violations and accompanying fees later on. Similarly, you could face legal issues if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only choosing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber adheres to the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to minimize the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Reputable services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to swindle you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can lodge an official 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.
Set up Any Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At A-PLUS 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 receive reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a A-PLUS Service Experts office near you today!