Plumbing is an important part of your day-to-day life. When you hire a plumber to clean your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect 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 through the state. Instead, they depend on city and county groups to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed Expert is the best way to reduce the possibility of mediocre workmanship, rip-offs and health issues.
Educational Requirements for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to get a plumber's license:
- Education: Plenty of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training covers all the necessary skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship courses that combine classroom learning with practical experience. These programs normally last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing exam, which candidates must pass to earn 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 receive different licenses and certifications based on their knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are offered in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Certain states only mandate plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers can take the journeyman’s licensing exam after finishing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of on-site experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some assessments only require 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, while others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the top level of professionalism and practical experience. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the most recent industry standards.
Rewards of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job may be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Don't gamble on your plumbing — only work with a licensed expert, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Excellent craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most straightforward jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can be assured knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Most states require plumbers to show proof of liability insurance as part of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from liability for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while completing work in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs usually need to have permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly turned down the needed permits. If they continue with the job, you could receive code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you may face legal problems 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 techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary to reduce the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. However, a fully licensed team is far less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. In the end, homeowners can make an official complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, 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 Orangutan Home Services, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our communities 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact us today!