While some states combine contracting licenses and trade licenses, in West Virginia, permission to work as a contractor and permission to perform a specific trade are covered under separate licenses.
Plumbing in West Virginia is separated into three categories:
- Master plumbers, who possess at least twelve thousand hours of experience and are qualified to supervise journeymen and trainees.
- Journeymen plumbers, who possess at least eight thousand hours of experience and are qualified to supervise trainees.
- Plumbers in training, often referred to as apprentices in other states, who posses fewer than eight thousands hours of experience and are not permitted to work without supervision.
West Virginia Plumbing License Reciprocity
West Virginia has limited reciprocity agreements with certain states that may allow an applicant to skip the exams required for certification.
The only plumbing specific reciprocity agreement that West Virginia has is with Ohio. The agreement covers both the trade and the business/law portions of the exam, however, so someone with an Ohio license could potentially acquire a waiver for both examinations.
West Virginia Plumbing Journeyman License Requirements
One thing to note about West Virginia is that a plumbing license covers individuals, not entities. Each individual working must possess a license, and are not covered under the business owner’s license.
The specific qualification requirements for licenses are somewhat varied, as the licenses are grouped by number of eligible hours worked. According to the division of labor FAQ page on plumbing licenses, accepted proof of work for hours requirements could come in the form of a variety of documents including W2S, pay stubs, or records from customers.
Plumbing Journeyman Exam
In order to acquire a license, applicants should fill out the application form and submit it along with the required fees as well as the proper documentation proving their work history. Exams are required for both journeyman and master licenses, but an exam is not required for plumbers in training.
It costs $75 to apply for, and to renew, a plumbing license.
Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements
People who wish to become apprentices (or plumbers in training, as the state describes them) need a license, but are not required to take an examination. A training license does not permit the holder to work without the direct supervision of a licensed journeyman or master, however, so trainees will either need to find a company willing train them, or register for an apprenticeship program.
Those looking for a plumbing apprenticeship program can visit the West Virginia Joint Apprenticeship Program for information about accredited apprenticeship programs that are registered with the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training.
Most plumbing apprenticeship programs only require a high school diploma or GED equivalent education. A degree or certificate is not required to get started as a plumber apprentice/plumber in training.
West Virginia Professional License Search
Plumbing license status searches can be made on the West Virginia Division of Labor Website.
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