What is the VA DPOR Tradesmen Program?

If you want to work as a licensed tradesperson in the state of Virginia, you need to work with a specific program within a specific state department to get the appropriate licensure. And since neither the program nor the department are particularly good at providing easy-to-understand information about getting or maintaining your license, it can be helpful to have a little background knowledge to work from.

That’s why we’re here. This quick guide will teach you the basics of the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) and their tradesmen program

What is the DPOR?

The DPOR is the state agency that oversees 18 different boards and programs that issue licenses and certifications to more than 300,000 people and businesses across the state. They’re involved in regulating everyone from real estate agents and cemetery salespeople to estheticians and — you guessed it — tradesmen. 

Their tradesmen program falls under their Board for Contractors, which issues Class A, B, and C licenses for contractors, licensing for people and businesses engaged in residential building energy analysis, and tradespeople licensing. 

That last bit falls under the jurisdiction of their tradesmen program. While the Board for Contractors issues many licenses for businesses, their tradesmen licenses go to individuals. 

What professions does the DPOR’s tradesmen program oversee?

Do you need to work with the DPOR tradesmen program to get licensed to wield your trade? The answer is yes if you work in any of the following areas:

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

If you’re a tradesman with one of the above specialties, it’s illegal to work in the state of Virginia with the proper licensure or certification from the DPOR. 

How do I get and maintain a DPOR tradesman license?

The process varies depending on your trade, but you’re generally looking at completing an application, paying a fee, and passing an exam. On the DPOR’s tradesman program website, you can click the plus next to “Forms & Applications” to open up a listing of all the relevant applications. Choosing the application for your trade gives you an idea of what’s required to get licensed.

Some trades — like electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and gas fitting — require you to have a certain number of years of experience before you can get a tradesman license with the DPOR. You’ll usually need to complete an apprenticeship program to be eligible for licensure. 

Once you get your license, you’ll need to renew it every 2-3 years. And that means completing a little bit of continuing education. The good news? Most tradespeople only need a few hours of CE each renewal cycle and they can complete it online - go here for a list of DPOR-approved CE courses you can take with VAContractorTraining

How do I get in touch with the tradesmen program?

If you have any questions about the tradesman program, you should reach out to the Board for Contractors. You can call them at (804) 367-8511 for questions about licensing or (804) 367-2224 for questions about continuing education. You can also email them at