Plumbing is a crucial part of your day-to-day life. When you call 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 learning more about the company's history can help, the number one 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 at the state level. Actually, they expect city and county governments to supply oversight and licensing. While the actual requirements to earn a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest assured that hiring a licensed specialist is the top way to minimize the chance of mediocre workmanship, scams and health concerns.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
This is what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. Usually this training encompasses all the vital skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations provide apprenticeship training that bundle classroom learning with on-site experience. These programs typically last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The subject areas 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 multiple licenses and certifications based on their knowledge and experience. These vary by location, and not all are offered in every state, but the most common plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Certain states only need plumbers to have a certificate to handle residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with a certified supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: In many states, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of practical experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some assessments only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, whereas others require 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. Attaining ACE certification is more rigorous than typical plumber licensing and involves yearly recertification to guarantee that techs are up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Advantages of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job could save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits end. Don’t risk it — only hire a licensed pro, regardless of the job size, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Exceptional craftsmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as it may seem. Performing even the most basic tasks, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. Given the amount of training needed to achieve their certifications, you can rest easy knowing that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to demonstrate proof of liability insurance as one component 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 completing work in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Large plumbing jobs often need to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are typically denied the required permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could receive code violations and fines later on. Similarly, you might face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber damages the local waterways. Eliminate these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A well-qualified plumber adheres to the proper techniques for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are necessary 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 much 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 lose 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 Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts, we go above and beyond to provide the best plumbing services to our clients 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 a Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts office near you today!