Plumbing is a crucial part of your day-to-day life. When you trust a plumber to clear your drains, service your water heater or install a water softener, you want the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and learning more about the company's history 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 require plumbing licenses at the state level. Alternatively, they count on city and county groups to supply oversight and licensing. While the specific requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by region, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the best way to reduce the risk of mediocre workmanship, scams and health problems.
Educational Criteria 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. In most scenarios, the training covers all the vital skills plumbers use on a daily basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations have apprenticeship courses that integrate classroom learning with hands-on experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices receive wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing assessment, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The topics covered consist of plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Criteria to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can earn different licenses and certifications based on their training 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: Certain states only need plumbers to have a certificate to work on residential jobs with a moderate scope of work. This is generally an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the required years of hands-on experience.
- Master plumber: The prerequisites to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary greatly by location. Some states only expect 1 - 2 years 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 practical experience. Attaining 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 current industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Using an unlicensed plumber for the job might be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits end. Don't gamble on your plumbing — only work with a licensed pro, no matter the job, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Awesome craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Performing even the most basic jobs, like snaking a drain, needs specialized equipment and years of experience. Because of the need to complete classroom education and hands-on training, 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 part of the licensing process. This protects 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 commonly require permits to guarantee safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely refused the needed permits. If they proceed with the job, you could encounter code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you might face legal problems if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only hiring a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A certified plumber understands the proper strategies for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and gas lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to minimize the risk of water pollution, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. But a fully licensed team is far less likely to attempt to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file a complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, resulting in a hefty fine or even causing them to lose 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 Stark Services, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our clients in North America. First, we are licensed, insured and ACE-certified. What’s more, everything we do is backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. To request an appointment for reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a Stark Services office near you today!