West Virginia is well-known for its coal mines. However, the state has a large number of plumbers working within its borders. Those plumbers help homeowners and companies install new pipes and faucets, remove clogs from water and sewer lines, and find solutions to common plumbing problems. Learn how to get your West Virginia plumbing license.
You cannot do plumbing work without a West Virginia plumbing license.
The three types of licenses available in West Virginia include training, journeyman, and master plumber. Until you complete a total of 8,000 hours or four years of apprentice plumbing work, you are still a training plumber. You are prohibited from working on your own.
Upon completion of your hours and passing a test, a journeyman license allows you to supervise others. Master plumbers can oversee both apprentices and journeymen, but they complete 12,000 hours of professional work before taking the licensing test.
To perform $2,500 or more worth of work at a time, you must apply for a plumbing contractor license. West Virginia plumbers make an average salary of $19.14 per hour.
West Virginia implemented a licensing exam for plumbers at the beginning of July 2009. To get a West Virginia plumbing license, you must arrange to take a written exam at ProV in Charleston and pay the test fee ahead of time. You also will need to submit payroll and tax records to show completion of the minimum required fieldwork hours.
West Virginia allows you to complete your introductory training online and then do an apprenticeship in the field. The Carver Career and Technical Center offers a plumbing technology program, which takes 10 months to complete. This program is available on different campuses and includes some OSHA training. You can get financial aid from the center to cover the cost of your classes and any necessary supplies or tools. Union Local 152 in Morgantown and Union 565 in Parkersburg also offer training programs for apprentice plumbers.
Union 625 in Charleston offers apprenticeship programs. Before you enroll in a training program, you can talk with the plumbers and get help choosing the right program. They also can help you easily make the transition from apprentice to licensed plumber. Unions also provide test prep materials.
You need plumbing insurance in West Virginia. Insurance will protect you from unforeseen damages, like flooding from a broken water line or mold from improperly installed fixtures.
Many plumbers also get their vaccinations to protect them from any unsafe working conditions.
Typically, you need to attend school before you apply for an apprenticeship. Most of the programs in the Mountain State let you get your basic certification in only 10 months.
Then you can check with plumbing unions to learn about available apprenticeships. Most of these programs start in the summer.
Apprentice programs ask that you submit an application. You will then have an interview with licensed plumbers to discuss the program and your background and experience. Bring a copy of your recent resume.
If you have a criminal background, most unions will not let you do apprenticeships.
You cannot use the West Virginia plumbing license in any other state.
Each of the major unions in West Virginia offers opportunities to learn the plumbing codes. You must become a member before you can attend any of the meetings.
Many resources exist to help you in the plumbing industry. Here are a few:
The Division of Labor is the agency responsible for issuing and renewing plumbing licenses in West Virginia. The agency requires that you apply in person when you need to change the name or address on your license. You also can contact the agency to get a replacement license.
When you get a West Virginia plumbing license, you'll receive a certification card that lists your expiration date. You also will get a renewal card in the mail up to 45 days before the license expiration date. It costs $75 to renew a plumbing license in West Virginia.
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