Plumbing is an essential part of your day-to-day life. When you call a plumber to clean your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd like 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 through the state. Alternatively, they use city and county governments to provide oversight and licensing. While the exact requirements to secure a plumbing license vary by city, you can rest knowing that hiring a licensed professional is the top way to decrease the possibility of low-quality workmanship, deception and health problems.
Educational Expectations for Plumbers
Here’s what it takes to become a licensed plumber:
- Education: Lots of vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. In most scenarios, the training encompasses all the necessary skills plumbers use on a regular basis.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship programs that blend classroom learning with practical experience. These programs usually last four to five years, and apprentices earn wages throughout their training.
- Licensing exam: A participating state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to receive a license. The materials covered deal with plumbing fixtures, drainage systems, vents and venting, fabrication, pipe maintenance, administrative procedures and more. Requirements to take the exam vary based on where you are and licensing level.
Types of Plumbing Licenses and Certifications
Plumbers can attain multiple licenses and certifications based on their training 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: Certain states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is ultimately an apprentice-level plumber working with an experienced supervisor.
- Journeyman plumber: In most states, plumbers will take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having 4 - 5 years of field experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to qualify for the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some places only expect 1 - 2 years working as a journeyman plumber, while others require four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Training to be an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and experience. Earning ACE certification is more stringent than typical plumber licensing and requires yearly recertification to ensure techs stay up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job might save you a few dollars up front, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only hire a licensed pro, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Superb craftsmanship: Plumbing is not an easy field. Conducting even the most straightforward projects, like snaking a drain, involves specialized equipment and years of experience. As a result of the intensive training needed for certification, you can rest assured that a licensed plumber will properly diagnose and resolve your plumbing problem.
- Liability insurance: Nearly all states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as a condition of the licensing process. This keeps you, the homeowner, from being held liable for property damage or medical bills if a plumber has an accident while performing services in your home.
- Legitimate and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs frequently have to have permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are regularly refused the needed permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could confront code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Similarly, you may face legal repercussions if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only employing a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber understands 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.
- Legitimate services: Unfortunately, there are plumbers out there that don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is significantly less likely to try to mislead you than an unlicensed company. After all, homeowners can file a formal complaint with the state licensing board if they suspect being cheated, 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.
Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At All American Air Service Experts, 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 schedule reliable plumbing services in your area, please contact a All American Air Service Experts office near you today!