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Virginia Plumbing License: Everything You Need to Know

Whether your goal is to operate a plumbing business or work for an established company, getting a Virginia plumbing license is a smart career decision. You can earn a generous income and have a satisfying career. This guide will show you how to become a plumber in Virginia.

What Plumbing Work Can Be Done Without a License?

You can’t engage in any plumbing work without a Virginia plumbing license.

What are the Different Types of Plumbing Licenses Available in Virginia?

The Virginia plumber licenses include journeyman, master plumber, and contractor.

To obtain your journeyman plumber license, you must pass the statutory/regulatory and trade portions of the Virginia plumber's examination. Other journeyman plumber license requirements include:

  • Two years of plumbing experience and a degree/certification from a community college, technical school or trade program; or

  • 5 years of practical plumbing experience and a minimum of 160 hours of vocational training; or

  • 6 years of practical plumbing experience and a minimum of 80 hours of vocational training; or

  • 4 years of practical plumbing experience and 240 hours of plumbing training; or

  • A bachelor's degree in an engineering curriculum from an accredited university or college and 1 year of practical plumbing experience; or

  • 10 years of practical plumbing experience

To obtain your master plumber license, you must pass the statutory/regulatory trade portions of the Virginia plumber's examination. Other master plumber license requirements include:

  • One year of practical plumbing experience as a licensed Virginia journeyman plumber; or

  • 10 years of plumbing experience

To become a licensed plumbing contractor, you must possess a valid master plumber license and a Virginia Class A, B or C license. Contractors must pass an examination.

As a journeyman plumber, you can maintain water/sewer lines, install pipes for sprinkler systems, and repair pipe fixtures under the direction of a master plumber. As a master plumber, you can repair and install plumbing systems without supervision. As a contractor, you can repair gas/water/drainage pipes and repair plumbing fixtures for commercial organizations and residential properties.

The average salary for Virginia plumbers is $67,316. Virginia plumbers earn 10 percent more than the national average for plumbers. The average length of a plumbing career is 15 years.

How to Get a Plumbing License

Starting a career as a plumber requires courses and examinations. Courses include basic math for plumbing, construction basics, piping materials, and fundamentals of plumbing drawings.

You can get a Virginia plumbing license if you've been convicted of a crime. Plumbing licenses are granted on a case-by-case basis. The reviewers will take into consideration the type of crime and what you've done since the conviction.

You'll begin your plumbing career as an apprentice. In this position, you'll assist a master plumber with jobs, such as fixture repairs, pipe installations, and sewer line maintenance. You'll also be required to have your own tools.

Should I Join a Union?

Joining a Virginia plumbers union comes with many benefits.

You're likely to earn a better income as a union plumber. It's estimated that union plumbers earn up to 20 percent more money.

Union plumbers have attractive job benefits, including health insurance, pensions, holidays, shift differential, sick pay, and paid vacation.

Union workplaces have safer work conditions than non-union workplaces. Part of a union's duties is to hold companies accountable for unsafe work conditions.

Insurance for Plumbers in Virginia

You must pay for insurance coverage in Virginia. The minimum Virginia plumber insurance requirements are:

  • $100,000 of property damage insurance

  • $300,000 of general liability insurance

How to Get My First Plumbing Apprenticeship

You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma/GED to become an apprentice. Apprenticeship programs are offered by various organizations.

Associated Builders and Contractors offers an apprenticeship program. The tuition is $1,500 for non-members and $1,300 for members.

Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors of Virginia offers an online apprenticeship program. The tuition for members is $1,475 and $2,500 for non-members.

Contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation for more information about  available apprenticeships.

For interviews, you should dress business casual. You may be required to bring a copy of your high school diploma/GED and resume.

Does My License Work in Any Other State?

A Virginia plumbing license is only applicable within the state.

How Do I Stay Up to Date with Plumbing Codes?

Changes in Virginia plumbing codes can occur at any time. You must be prepared to implement these changes as necessary. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you stay up to date with the codes. Here are a few sites:

What Resources are Available in the Plumbing Industry?

These resources can help you prepare for a career in the plumbing industry.

I Already Have a License But:

If you need a name or address change or you misplaced your Virginia plumbing license, contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

How Often Do I Renew My License?

Your Virginia plumber license must be renewed every 2 years. The fee is $130.


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