West Virginia Electrical License: How to Become an Electrician in West Virginia
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Being an electrician isn’t just a job; it’s a solid career path within the construction industry. West Virginia contractors enjoy a wide range of employment opportunities and earn a respectable income. There’s also job security—customers will always need skilled trade professionals to install and service electrical systems in their homes and businesses. Electrician jobs often come with good benefits, including worker's compensation.
The process of becoming an electrician takes time, but you can get paid while you learn and gain experience!
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License Requirements for Electricians in West Virginia
Is a license required for electricians in West Virginia? Yes.
There are specific licensure requirements to become a licensed electrical contractor in the state of West Virginia. The Electrical Contractor license is required for any electric work over $1,000.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal, located at 1207 Quarrier St. (2nd floor) in Charleston, issues licenses for: Apprentice Electrician, Journeyman Electrician, Master Electrician, and Specialty Electrician (HVAC, electric sign, single-family dwelling, elevator, and low voltage). For contractor licenses, you must schedule an exam with Prov and fill out a contractor license affidavit.
Electrician Licensing Process Steps in West Virginia
Gain necessary work experience or classroom-based training. Note: All work experience must consist of above-ground structural wiring.
Apply and pay for your chosen exam type: Apprentice Electrician, Journeyman Electrician, or Specialty Electrician. You must score 80% or higher to pass.
After 10,000 hours or five years of hands-on electrical work, consider obtaining a Master Electrician license.
GAIN NECESSARY EXPERIENCE: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for an apprenticeship exam.
To become a Journeyman Electrician, you must meet one of these requirements:
Show 8,000 hours or four years of above-ground electrical work experience
Complete an apprenticeship approved by the United States Department of Labor
Complete 1,080+ hours of a vocational course approved by the West Virginia Department of Education
You must provide a certificate of completion from your apprenticeship or vocational program.
To become a Specialty Electrician, you need two years or 4,000 hours of work experience in the specialty area: HVAC, electric sign, single-family dwelling, elevator, or low voltage.
To become a Master Electrician, you must have 10,000 hours or five years of above-ground electrical work in a combination of residential, commercial, and industrial work. Vocational training does not count toward the work experience requirement.
APPLY FOR ELECTRICIAN LICENSE: After fulfilling the work experience requirements, candidates may apply for a state electrical license through the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Applications must include a nonrefundable exam fee of $10 for an apprentice exam and $25 for all other exam types. Acceptable payment options include check or money order. You cannot pay by credit card or cash.
The open-book exam is based on the 2017 National Electric Code, which you can purchase at any electrical supply store. You may use calculators, book tabs, keyword indexes, and Ugly's reference books, but no study guides. You will receive exam results within 15 business days.
Current exam locations include:
Academy of Careers and Technology in Beckley, West Virginia
Beni Kedem in Charleston, West Virginia
United Technical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia
James Ramsey Technical Institute in Martinsburg, West Virginia
West Virginia electrician exam formats include:
Apprenticeship Electrician: Exam consists of 20 multiple-choice trade knowledge questions taken from the first four chapters of the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC).
Journeyman Electrician: Exam includes 42 multiple-choice questions and four calculations referencing power factors, voltage drops, resistance, and/or circuit requirements.
Specialty Electrician: The exam has 20-25 multiple-choice questions.
Master Electrician: Exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions and six calculations, and may include intricate calculations referencing service loads, power factor, voltage drop, service size, demand load, circuit resistance, and outlet requirements.
Types of Electrician Licenses in West Virginia
The state of West Virginia issues four types of electrician licenses:
Specialty Electrician: HVAC, Electric Sign, Single-Family Dwelling, Elevator, or Low Voltage
Benefits of Becoming a Licensed Electrician in West Virginia
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job outlook for West Virginia Electricians to grow by 8% through 2029. Additionally, Gov. Justice's Roads to Prosperity program will create more opportunities for electrical work related to infrastructure projects. The average electrician in West Virginia earns $26.25 per hour, or $54,600 per year.
There are many benefits you’ll see from pursuing a West Virginia electrician license:
Most importantly, West Virginia law requires a license to legally perform electrical work valued higher than $1000.
A trade license provides proof of your experience and skill.
Only licensed electricians can: work independently as an electrical contractor, operate a business and advertise services, obtain commercial insurance and bonding, pull building permits, pass inspections, and bid on public or government projects.
A license protects your company and your customers.
Licensure gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.
It also increases your earning potential as an electrician.
How Much Does It Cost for Electrician Licensing in West Virginia?
The apprentice test costs $10, and all other exams cost $25. The cost of an electrician license in West Virginia is a $50 annual fee for all license types. Licenses expire June 30 each year.
Tuition for trade schools ranges between $3,000 to $5,000 per year.
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How Long Does It Take to Get an Electrician License in West Virginia?
Becoming a licensed electrician in West Virginia requires four to five years of experience, an apprenticeship, or 1,000+ hours of vocational education, depending on the license type.
West Virginia Electrician Training Programs and Schools
Many community colleges, trade schools, technical and vocational schools offer apprenticeship programs and the training you need to become an electrical professional in West Virginia. You can find training opportunities across the state, including in bigger cities and smaller communities.
You can find apprenticeships through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) org. IBEW partners with the National Electrical Contractors Association on an Electrical Training Alliance apprenticeship program, which is an "earn while you learn" program.
West Virginia trade schools provide another option for pursuing an education in the electrical trade. Popular options include:
Carver Career and Technical Center
Mercer County Technical Education Center
Putnam Career & Technical Center
Virginia Western Community College
Does West Virginia Have Reciprocity Agreements with Other States?
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal recognizes the following license types from other states for reciprocity in West Virginia:
Virginia Master and Journeyman electrical licenses
Ohio Electrical Contractor's license
North Carolina Master Electrician license
Kentucky Master and Journeyman Electrical licenses
Maryland Master Electrician License
Submit the reciprocity license application along with a $50 fee to the West Virginia Office of the State Fire Marshal. All licenses must be in good standing with their state's contractor licensing board.
National Electrician Certifications
While optional, national certifications can help you demonstrate your proficiency in certain aspects of the electrical trade to potential employers and clients, which often translates into more job opportunities and higher pay.
These include the Independent Electrical Contractors Certified Professional Electrician (CPE) distinction, certification through the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), among dozens of additional electrician certifications available.
You can stay up to date on all electrician industry news in several ways: