How to Become a Plumber in Virginia

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There are determined regulations for aspiring plumbing contractors in Virginia, including state-required training and work experience.

You can take a look at the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) list of all the required applications, fees, training, and work experience you need to obtain your plumbing license.

The plumbers in Virginia can have three types of licenses – apprentice, journeyman, and master – prior to becoming contractors.

Each classification has its own required hours and experience which you need to fulfill so as to be allowed to get the license and do the job.

Virginia Plumbing License Reciprocity

Virginia has reciprocity agreements with the state of Washington when it comes to plumbing, meaning that those who are already licensed as a journeyman or a master plumber in Washington State will be recognized in Virginia.

However, there are some rules that you must meet to obtain reciprocity.

You must first apply for a Virginia contracting license.

People who successfully completed an apprenticeship program that is approved by the DPOR can be exempt from taking the apprenticeship exam.

Those who wish to qualify as a journeyman or a master plumber in the state of Virginia are obliged to attach a certification or letter of good standing, as well as a copy of their valid license.

This certificate includes the following information:

  • The license, registration, or certification number;
  • The date of licensure;
  • The expiration date of the license or its renewal fee;
  • The means of obtaining a state license (ex. reciprocity);
  • And any disciplinary actions resulting in violations.

Virginia Master Plumbing License Requirements

To become a master plumber in Virginia, you must complete one of the three requirements:

  • One year of experience as a licensed journeyman;
  • Ten years of experience verified by a supervisor;
  • Or possess a journeyman or master license issued by a governing body outside the Virginia Commonwealth.

Meeting one of those requirements qualifies you for the master tradesman license exam.

To be allowed to take it, you must fill out the Tradesman and License Application, submit it to the DPOR and attach a completed Individual Experience Verification form.

You will need to renew your master license, but only after completing a continuing education course before the renewal date which must be at least three hours in length and approved by the Board for Contractors.

The DPOR provides a list of approved schools and courses.

Virginia Plumbing Journeyman License Requirements

Prospective Journeyman plumbers need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • Four years of practical experience in the trade and 240 hours of formal vocational training
  • Five years of practical experience in the trade and 160 hours of formal vocational training
  • Six years of practical experience in the trade and 80 hours of formal vocational training
  • Seven or more years of practical experience in the trade and 40 hours of formal vocational training
  • Associates degree or certificate of completion from at least a two-year program in a tradesman related field from an accredited community college or technical school and two years of practical experience in the trade for which licensure is requested.
  • Bachelor’s degree or certificate of completion from an accredited college or university in an engineering curriculum related to the trade and one year of practical experience in the trade for which licensure is requested.
  • Ten years of practical experience in the trade as verified by individuals who have observed the applicant’s work in the trade.
  • Individuals currently certified or licensed as a journeyman or master by governing body located outside the Commonwealth of Virginia.

If you meet the obligatory requirements, you will need to take some additional steps.

Actually, you will need a completed Individual Experience Verification form, a certification of completion, or an official transcript and you must fill out the Tradesman and License Application, which will then be submitted to the DPOR.

There is a requirement that each licensed plumber must renew his/her journeyman license, by completing a continuing education course before the renewal date of their license.

This course must be at least three hours in length and approved by the Board for Contractors.

Plumbing Journeyman and Master Plumber Exam

The master license exam is online and can be taken at any time once you get the approval from the Board for Contractors.

After approval, you should contact PSI Exams Online to take your test.

There is a fee of $125 to take the exam which is not refundable, and you can pay it by credit card to PSI Exams Online.

The same goes for a journeyman exam, with the only difference in a fee, that is $100.

The Journeyman/Master Plumber is a 210 Minutes exam and it is required that you get 60% correct answers to pass it.

You can expect the following questions:

  • Standards of Practice (3 Items)
  • Standards of Conduct (2 Items)
  • Renewal and Reinstatement (2 Items)
  • Definitions (1 Item)
  • Qualification for Licensure (1 Item)
  • Revocation of Licensure (1 Item)
  • Drainage Waste and Vents (24 Items)
  • Water Supply Systems (10 Items)
  • Backflow Prevention (10 Items)
  • Storm Drainage Systems (10 Items)
  • Plumbing Fixtures (7 Items)
  • General Regulations (5 Items)
  • Interceptors and Traps (4 Items)

The Virginia journeyman/master plumber exams are open book exams and you should bring only the references, which may be highlighted and underlined when coming to the testing location.

Make sure you know that reference materials containing any writing will not be allowed into the examination.

If you take the examination by a computer, your result will be given to you immediately but if you take it on paper, an official result report will be printed at the examination center.

Virginia Plumbing Apprenticeship Requirements

Apprentices looking for jobs can use the state of Virginia website.

Virginia requires all tradesmen to complete pre-license education and you can take advantage of the DPOR’s list of approved vocational schools to choose from.

The Board for Contractors will also accept any schools that are accredited or technical schools associated with Virginia local school divisions.

Plumbing Trade Schools in Virginia

Name: Virginia Technical Institute
Tuition: $1758/semester
Contact: Phone: 434-369-8200

Name: Lord Fairfax Community College
Tuition: N/A

Salary

The average Plumber salary in Virginia is $ 57136, but it varies from city to city. 

Annual Salary Range:

$49K
$57K
$65K

Average Salary of Plumbers in Virginia

City NameSalary
Virginia Beach$54,952
Norfolk$54,124
Chesapeake$54,055
Richmond$57,609
Newport News$53,848
Hampton$53,848
Alexandria$63,614
Portsmouth$54,124
Roanoke$53,088
Lynchburg$52,945
* Salary information last updated 2020

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