What is the DPOR Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation

Most people don’t bother to keep up with their state agencies. You have a vague idea that, say, the DMV does some other things for the state beyond issuing driver’s licenses, but you probably don’t care to get into the details. And that’s fair. But if you’re a contractor or tradesman, there’s one state organization you should definitely know about: the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR)

This department oversees licensure for a huge range of jobs across the state, from cosmetologists to professional wrestlers (oddly enough). And if you’re a professional contractor, electrician, HVAC technician, plumber, or gas fitter in Virginia, you’re going to want to know a little bit about them. Specifically, you should know what the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation does and what they need to maintain your contractor or tradesman license. 

DPOR 101

Part of Virginia’s executive branch, the DPOR oversees 18 different regulatory programs and boards. That includes their tradesman program and the Board for Contractors. They oversee licensure and certification for more than 300,000 people and businesses across the state. 

The DPOR isn’t just the one to issue your license. They’re also the department that investigates possible violations and enforces any action required to bring people into line. So if, say, someone reports to the state that you’re working without the required license, the DPOR would come in and take a look at the situation. If they found you lacking the license the state requires, they could be the group to enforce the appropriate penalties (usually, fees). 

The DPOR’s tradesman program

Under the umbrella of their tradesman program, the DPOR oversees licensure for professionals in the following trades:

  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Gas fitting
  • Electrical
  • Water well construction
  • Elevator mechanics
  • Backflow prevention
  • Building energy analysis

That means that if you want to legally work in Virginia in any of the above trades, you’ll need to go through the DPOR first. 

Then, once you’re licensed, you need to comply with the DPOR’s requirement to renew your license every few years, and that includes completing 1-3 hours of DPOR-approved continuing education during each renewal cycle. 

The DPOR Board for Contractors

In addition to overseeing trades professionals, the DPOR is also the agency that issues licenses for contractors across the state through their Board for Contractors. 

They have a few different license tiers (Class A, B, and C) that specify the dollar amount of projects you can work on. A Class C license caps your total annual projects at $150,000 and each individual projects at $10,000, for example. Then, on top of that, there are dozens of different license classifications and specialty designations available for contractors through the DPOR.

The main difference between their tradesman program and their Board for Contractors is that tradesman licenses are for individuals, while contractor licenses are for businesses. Still, though, to get a contractor license, the business-owning individual will need to do some work, like completing pre-license education

All told, whether you’re a tradesman or a contractor, you need to make sure you have the right DPOR paperwork in order to work in the state of Virginia. You might want to spend some time reviewing the relevant pages of their website to make sure you’re in-the-know.