Plumbing is a crucial part of your daily life. When you call a plumber to clear your drains, repair your water heater or install a water softener, you'd expect the assurance of a job well done. While reading reviews and considering the company's reputation can help, the first 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. 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 Expert is the top way to minimize the possibility of mediocre workmanship, scams and health issues.
Educational Criteria for Plumbers
Here's a summary of what it takes to obtain a plumber's license:
- Education: Numerous vocational schools and community colleges offer plumbing certificates or degrees. This classroom training includes all the crucial skills plumbers use every day.
- Apprenticeship: Both union and non-union organizations offer apprenticeship courses that integrate classroom learning with practical experience. These programs typically take four to five years, and apprentices get paid wages during their training.
- Licensing exam: Each state offers its own plumbing test, which candidates must pass to acquire a license. The materials covered include 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 attain multiple licenses and certifications based on their training and experience. These vary by location, and not all are necessary in every state, but the most typical plumbing licenses and certifications include:
- Plumbing certificate: Some states only require plumbers to have a certificate to complete residential jobs with a limited scope of work. This is essentially an apprentice-level plumber working with supervision.
- Journeyman plumber: Usually, plumbers may take the journeyman’s licensing exam after completing an apprenticeship and having the necessary years of field experience.
- Master plumber: The criteria to take the master plumber’s licensing exam vary widely by location. Some states only demand 12 to 24 months working as a journeyman plumber, but others call for four or five years of journeyman experience.
- ACE certification: Becoming an Advanced Certified Expert demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and practical experience. Attaining ACE certification is more stringent than most plumber licensing and requires annual recertification to keep technicians up-to-date with the latest industry standards.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Plumber
Choosing an unlicensed plumber for the job might be cheaper initially, but that’s where the benefits stop. Why chance it? — only hire a licensed expert, no matter how simple or complex the job is, to ensure all the perks of professional experience:
- Superb workmanship: Plumbing is not as simple as you might think. Performing even the most straightforward tasks, like snaking a drain, requires 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: A good number of states require plumbers to display proof of liability insurance as a condition 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 performing services in your home.
- Authorized and code-compliant: Major plumbing jobs often require permits to ensure safety and legality. Unlicensed plumbers are routinely denied the necessary permits. If they move ahead with the job, you could face code violations and subsequent penalties later on. Additionally, you may face legal consequences if an unlicensed plumber harms the local waterways. Prevent these risks by only contracting a licensed professional.
- Preserved health and safety: A competent plumber knows the proper methods for working on water supply lines, sewer pipes and fuel lines. Years of hands-on experience are vital to decrease the risk of water contamination, sewer backups and gas leaks.
- Trustworthy services: Some plumbers don't have your best interest at heart. A fully licensed team is far less likely to try to scam you than an unlicensed company. Besides, homeowners can file an official 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.
Arrange Plumbing Services with a Licensed Professional
At Neal Harris Service Experts, we go above and beyond to deliver the best plumbing services to our communities 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 Neal Harris Service Experts office near you today!