There are a few different ways to assess a plumber’s competency. The most common credentials that a plumber can have is their journeyman’s license or master’s license. To obtain a journeyman’s license, plumbers need a minimum of 4 years field experience and some classroom training. They then must pass a test administered by the state. In order to take the exam for a master’s license, plumbers need to either hold their journeyman’s card for a year or have at least 10 years of practical field experience. Someone who hasn’t obtained a journeyman or master’s license is referred to as an apprentice or just a plumber. (We hire and train apprentices.)
In our company, we have skill levels that go from 1 to 5, which are based on different criteria. These levels are really important to define what someone is competent to do, even though they might have credentials from the state. There are certain tasks that a skill level 5 can do that a skill level 1 cannot do. Most of our skill level 5 people are either journeymen or master plumbers. (We call people who have credentials to go along with their experience senior technicians.) But it’s important for us to acknowledge that just because someone can pass a test doesn’t necessarily mean they are competent to solve all problems. Someone with a journeyman’s card may be at a skill level 3.
We’re very passionate about making sure we send someone who’s completely competent to solve the client’s problem. If a gas water heater is malfunctioning, we’re not going to send a skill level 1 person to that home because they’re likely not competent in that area. That doesn’t mean that we will not send a skill level 5 person to fix a faucet, though, depending on availability. Sometimes certain problems need to be communicated thoroughly and effectively to the homeowner, too. So whoever we send will have competency both technically and in terms of communication skill.
If you have any questions, reach out to the team at Wisler Plumbing & Air by contacting us online or giving us a call at 540-483-9382.