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Although not all states require contractors who install, repair or inspect septic systems to be licensed, the state licensing boards for those that do vary in their requirements. In Texas, for example, different licensing levels authorize septic system professionals to perform specific tasks. In addition to obtaining the required state and local business licenses, state professional licensing boards generally require successful completion of basic training courses, work experience and passing a licensing examination.
Minimum Certification Requirements
In states that require certification for septic contractors, applicants must be at least 18 years old, submit a completed application for certification, complete the required number of classroom training hours and pass a written or oral examination. In some states, such as Florida, a plumber licensed by the state may provide septic system services. Besides meeting the licensing requirements, the job requires mechanical aptitude, along with customer service and business skills.
Septic Contractor Exam
Different from a business license, which allows a person to legally operate a business, a professional license or certification proves that a contractor is knowledgeable about the codes and laws regulating his area of specialty. Where state and local governments require septic system contractors to be licensed, passing the licensing exam shows that a contractor is experienced, skilled and qualified in the field. In Illinois, for example, questions are based on state codes and federal regulations governing private sewage disposal. Contractors can contact their state's public health department, environmental health department, division of labor or other applicable licensing body for specific information relating to certification and licensing training and exams.
Additional Governmental Requirements
Although some states, such as Minnesota, do not require septic contractors to have local licenses in addition to state licensing, other states do. In that case, a contractor must obtain the required permits and be knowledgeable about local ordinances before undertaking a project in that municipality. Contractors are required to pay the applicable licensing and permit fees and show proof of general liability insurance. State and local governments also may require septic contractors to obtain surety bonds before issuing or renewing a license. While state licensing boards can deny certification if an applicant is found guilty of misconduct, falsifying information or violating state laws, local governments usually are responsible for enforcement of the rules.
Many states, including North Carolina, require licensed septic contractors to complete continuing education (CE) hours in addition to the credit hours they need to take the licensing exam and be certified. Although states vary in the renewal periods they establish, licensing authorities usually require a specified number of CE credits for renewal certification. To receive credit for CE courses, contractors must show proof of completing the required number of hours of approved coursework.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Plumber, Pipefitter or Steamfitter
- North Carolina Onsite Wastewater Contractor Inspection Certification Board: Requirements for Certification
- Florida Department of Health: Onsite Sewage Programs FAQ
- University of Illinois Extension: Illinois Private Sewage Disposal
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: SSTS Business Licensing, Individual Certification and Enforcement
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.