Licensed Plumber: Understanding the Licensing Process and Requirements

All American plumbers need state licenses to conduct their plumbing duties. Thus, all aspiring plumbers should get experience by serving as apprentices. Many states also have special exams all apprentices must pass before getting licensed plumber status. Additionally, the type of plumbing certification one requires varies by region. 

Besides, a licensed or master plumber enjoys many perks and advantages. Besides certifications, a plumber’s career is more appealing to potential and existing clients. They enjoy a sense of trust and confidence that shows they know what they are doing.

So, what does it mean to be a certified plumber? How does this professional get state licensing to enable them to operate legally? This post examines what it takes to journey from college to a fully licensed plumber in Pittsburgh and the larger USA.

An Overview of a Licensed Plumber

Inversely, a licensed plumber undergoes thorough and extensive training. They also undergo continuing annual education to sharpen their skills. The law requires all licensed plumbers to go through a 4-year apprenticeship program to gain sufficient experience before certification. Some states require 8,000 hours of apprentice field training under a certified plumber before getting a practice license. 

Every licensed plumber must carry liability insurance cover to take care of any damage that could arise from their activities. Thus, you always have peace of mind, knowing that their insurer will compensate you for any loss.

A licensed plumber’s training is extensive and complex. It covers different academic fields like chemistry and physics. A plumber should understand how gases, pressure, and liquids behave and their chemical properties. This way, they can understand how a simple environmental change can affect a system’s chemical composition. 

Getting a License

A plumber follows a certain journey to certification where they can independently operate their own firm. After completing their education and meeting the minimum experience for licensing, a plumber files for a license with their state’s plumbing board. Although these requirements vary among states, they all have the following standard similarities: 

  • The applicant must prove their experience;
  • All applicants must pay the required application fee;
  • The applicant must also prove their employment record;
  • An applicant must produce a certificate of completion of apprenticeship;
  • Verification of licensure if the applicant is already licensed in other states;
  • The applicant’s photo.

After the board approves an applicant’s license application, they should follow the board’s  instructions on booking the relevant state exam. Successful candidates receive their licenses in their mail after passing their exams.

Every plumber’s license usually expires annually or biennially. Besides applying for permit renewal, plumbers must demonstrate ongoing professional development by completing continuing education (CE) hours. The requirements vary by state and license type. Generally, all states require somewhere between 4 and 8 hours of CE. Plumbers who don’t renew their licenses may face enforcement actions that include license suspension or revocation.

The Plumbing Journey 

The licensing process or journey can be summed into three main stages that depend on academics, experience, and passed examinations. Many states have three levels of licensing plumbers, namely apprentice, journeyman, and master.

  • Plumber Apprentices

This level is the lowest and follows one’s graduation from school. This stage also blends practical training and some classroom stuff. Very few states require these rookie plumbers to hold any licensing. However, the candidates must meet some requirements like holding a high school diploma and being 18 years and over. All aspiring plumbers at this level perform limited plumbing jobs under master or journeyman plumbers.

  • Journeyman Plumbers

Every applicant seeking to get a journeyman license should meet academic and experience requirements. They must also pass an examination. Although applicants generally require a 4-year work experience as apprentices before sitting for a journeyman examination, specific requirements vary across the state. Some states permit some experience levels to substitute classroom hours. 

A journeyman license permits their carriers to work independently. Mostly, these plumbers are hired to supervise apprentices.

  • Master Plumbers

Becoming a master plumber is the peak of the plumbing profession. It’s like getting a doctorate in some academic spheres. Every person aspiring to become one must meet extra experience and examination requirements. Most states require candidates to have a minimum two-year experience as  journeymen before applying for their own master permits. A plumber at this level can supervise other junior plumbers’ jobs and operate a plumbing business.

There you go with all you needed to know about the licensing process and the journey plumbers take. This information should open your eyes to get better insight into what empowers licensed plumbers to meet your plumbing needs.