In West Virginia, plumbing licenses are mandated from the beginning of a person’s career. People must carry licenses to legally perform any kind of plumbing work in West Virginia as apprentices, journeymen, master plumbers, or contractors.
Types of Plumbing Licenses in West Virginia
West Virginia issues four different types of plumbing licenses:
- Plumber in Training
- Journeyman Plumber
- Master Plumber
- Plumbing Contractor
The requirements vary by licensure level, but anyone who wants to perform plumbing work in the state must have a Plumber Certification. This is true regardless of how much the job pays and whether there is a licensed contractor present.
To get a Plumber in Training license, an applicant must be at least 18 years old. There is no exam requirement, but the person may only work under the direct supervision of an experienced plumber.
A journeyman plumber must also be at least 18 years old and must obtain a score of at least 70% on the journeyman plumber written examination. Journeyman plumbers must also be capable of instructing and supervising plumbers in training.
To become a master plumber, the applicant must be at least 18 years old, pass a master plumber examination, and have at least one year of experience as a journeyman plumber. Master plumbers must be capable of instructing and supervising less-experienced plumbers and designing plumbing systems.
Finally, plumbing contractors must carry a specialty license to perform $5,000 or more of work on a residential property or $25,000 of work on a commercial property. This requires a contractor license with a classification covering plumbing work. Plumbing contractors must either be master plumbers or hire master plumbers to serve as qualifiers and must follow the rest of the state’s requirements for employers.
Cost to Get a Plumbing License in West Virginia
It is relatively inexpensive to become a plumber in West Virginia. The cost for a Plumber in Training license is only $25 per renewal. Journeyman and master plumbing licenses require passing exams, the fees for which are $51.95 each.
License application fees for journeyman and master plumbers are $75, as are renewal fees. For plumbing contractors, those fees jump to $90.
Plumber Licensing Exams
Plumbing licensure exams in West Virginia are conducted by PSI Exams. A passing score is considered 70% or above. Plumbing contractors must pass an additional test known as the contractor licensing exam. This more comprehensive examination includes information from the West Virginia Business Law exam.
Test takers can get the information they need to study for journeyman and master plumbing licensure exams from the Candidate Information Bulletin. The exams are open book and use the International Plumbing Code and the International Fuel Gas Code. The journeyman plumber exam has 80 questions and must be finished in under three hours. The master plumber exam has 100 questions.
Who Issues Plumbing Licenses in West Virginia?
Currently, plumbing licenses are issued by the West Virginia Division of Labor. However, that is going to change soon. A bill passed on June 15, 2021 will make the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board responsible for issuing plumbing licenses. However, the legislation will not be enacted until June 15, 2023. For now, continue applying through the Division of Labor.
Plumbers that want to improve their employment prospects can get national certifications from the ASSE or NITC. These professional certifications can increase marketability to clients.