How to get a plumbing license in Virginia
Plumbing just so happens to be a promising career path in Virginia. According to The Blue Book Network, over 430 commercial plumbing contractors service the State of Virginia. And, it is not only a popular line of work to get into, but one that pays fairly well.
The average yearly salary for plumbers in Virginia ranges from $59,000 to $80,000, depending on your licensure type. Several rules, regulations, and requirements come with being a plumber in Virginia or starting a plumbing business in the state—including state licensing. However, it is doable and worth the legwork.
How do I get a plumbing license in Virginia?
To become a plumber in Virginia, you must obtain one of two types of tradesman licenses from the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) and their Board for Contractors.: A Journeyman plumbing license or a Master plumbing license.
To qualify for a Virginia Journeyman plumber license, you must have one of the following experience requirements:
- An associate’s degree or certificate of completion from a 2-year plumbing program or trade school, OR a plumbing-focused bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- A transferable plumbing license from other states besides Virginia
- 4 years of practical experience with 240 hours of formal vocational training
- 5 years of experience and 160 hours of training
- 6 years of experience and 80 hours of training
- 7 or more years of experience and 40 hours of training
Once you have a year of experience as a Journeyman plumber under your belt, you are eligible for a Virginia Master plumber license. For this, you will need to fill out the same Tradesman application as you did previously. You will need to pass the Journeyman exam and the Master Plumber exam for both licenses.
Once you receive your Master plumber license, you will need to obtain a plumbing contractor license. There are 3 “tiers” of contractor licenses, and which tier you apply for depends on the work you are conducting. Here is a brief rundown of all the license requirements:
- Class A license: An unlimited license that requires 5 years of plumbing work experience and a minimum of $45,000 in business capital
- Class B license: Restricted to individual projects costing less than $120,000 and $750,000 in total yearly projects. Requires a minimum of 3 years of experience and at least $15,000 in capital
- Class C license: Restricted to projects totaling less than $10,000 and $150,000 in projects for the entire year. For this licensure, 2 years of experience is required
Other Virginia plumbing license requirements
There are some additional requirements to consider before becoming a Virginia plumber. These are fairly universal and will be the case no matter what state you are working in.
To receive a Virginia plumbing license, you must:
- Be 18 years of age
- Possess a high school diploma or GED
- Pass all the necessary mandated exams
- Pay application and license fees
- Report convictions of a felony or a misdemeanor, as well as any suspensions or revocations of previous licenses
- Carry the appropriate insurance coverage
If you want to be a plumber in any state, it may not be bad to have an apprenticeship on your resume. There are a few programs in Virginia that are recommended:
- Virginia Associated Builders and Contractors: Offers a comprehensive training program that teaches the fundamentals of plumbing. Tuition is $1,500 for non-members, and $1,300 for members.
- Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors of Virginia (PHCC): An online apprenticeship program with open enrollment year-round and a flexible pace of learning. The program is approved by the Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, and tuition is less than $1,000 per year.
- Southern Air Apprenticeship Program: A lead provider of HVAC and plumbing services across Virginia, Southern Air offers a great program to apprentice plumbers. The program lasts 4 years and includes hands-on training and instruction.
Several technical schools and community colleges across Virginia offer courses in plumbing for those interested in continuing education. Virginia Technical Academy, Virginia Technical Institute, and Virginia Western Community College offer courses and/or license renewal for plumbing.
The most common way to renew your plumbing license is through the DPOR. You can find information regarding license renewal here.
How can I get a business license for my Virginia plumbing business?
A business license is a permit issued by the government for conducting and operating a business. Most businesses in Virginia must obtain an occupational license, such as the contractor licenses we mentioned earlier. There is no business license specifically for plumbing businesses in Virginia.
Depending on the town you are conducting plumbing work in, you may need to obtain one or more permits. For example, in Virginia Beach, the following are some circumstances that require a plumbing permit:
- Connection or conversion to city water or sewer
- New plumbing fixtures, plumbing systems, or drainage systems
- Replacement of water supply or sewage systems
- On-site water distribution
- Ultra low flush toilet program
Each town website should highlight its license and permit requirements for plumbing businesses.
How much does a plumbing business license cost?
Depending on the type of license you are applying for, the corresponding fees will vary. Here is a list of each license and its costs:
- Journeyman: $130 license fee, $100 license exam fee
- Master: $130 license fee, $125 exam fee
- Class A Contractor: $385 license fee, $85 exam fee
- Class B Contractor: $370 license fee, $72 exam fee
- Class C Contractor: $235 license fee
The renewal fee for all licenses is $90, and you must renew each license every 2 years.
Conclusion: Get your plumbing business insured with Huckleberry
You aced the plumbing exam and are now a licensed contractor in the State of Virginia! Perhaps you’ve even started your own plumbing business. To that, we say, hurrah! So, what’s next?
Aside from workers’ comp, you may want a Business Owner's Policy to keep your business in operation, your customers safe, and your property protected. This comprehensive small business insurance policy takes a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for insurance.