How to Get a Virginia Plumber License

The Virginia Department of Professional Occupational Regulation (DPOR) doesn’t make it overly easy on would-be tradesmen. You’ll have to do some digging to find out how to get a Virginia plumbing license, for example.

Or you could just read this guide. Here’s what you need to know in order to get a journeyman or master plumbing license in Virginia. 

The Virginia journeyman plumber license process

First up, you need to be eligible for your journeyman license. And that means meeting some experience requirements. You need to have one of the following:

  • Four years of practical experience and 240 hours of formal vocational training 
  • Five years of practical experience and 160 hours of formal vocational training 
  • Six years of practical experience and 80 hours of formal vocational training
  • Seven+ years of practical experience and 40 hours of formal vocational training
  • Associates degree or certificate of completion from at least a two-year plumbing program and two years of practical experience 
  • Plumbing-focused bachelor's degree or certificate of completion and one year of practical experience 
  • Ten years of practical experience
  • A plumbing license from another state

But, wait. If you need experience to get a plumber’s license but you need a plumber’s license to legally work as a plumber, how are you supposed to get started? With an apprenticeship program. The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has a Registered Apprenticeship program you should explore if you don’t yet have the experience you need. 

Once you have the required experience, your steps to get your license are as follows:

  • Fill out the application. Here’s a copy. As part of your application, make sure you include the required experience verification. In most cases, it’s this Individual Experience Verification Form and the appropriate fees. 
  • Take the exam. It’s 210 minutes long and costs $100. It has 80 questions and you need to get 60 right to pass. This bulletin can help you prep because it includes an outline of what the exam will cover. 
  • Get your license. Once you prove your experience, submit your application, and pass the exam, the DPOR should issue your plumbing license. 

The Virginia master plumber license process

After a year of experience as a journeyman plumber, you’re eligible for the top tier of plumbing licensure in Virginia: a master plumber license. You’ll need to fill out the application again, but it should be much easier this time around because you’ll already have a tradesman license number. Plus, your Experience Verification Form just needs to show one year of working under that license number.

Then, you need to pass the master plumber exam. It’s 210 minutes again, but this time it costs $125. Make sure you send in your application for your master license before you schedule your exam appointment because you need DPOR approval to sit for the exam. Like the journeyman test, it’s 80 questions and you need to get 60 right to pass. 

Virginia plumber continuing education

State law dictates that your license expires every three years from the last day of the month in which it was issued. Check your license for an expiration date, and make sure you renew on time.

In order to renew, you need to complete a few hours of continuing education, and you can take these plumbing CEUs online

Now you know how to get a Virginia plumber license — and how to keep it active. So go forth and start working toward your plumbing career!