Working as a Plumber in West Virginia
Plumbers are responsible for designing, installing, maintaining and repairing all types of piping systems. With plumbing existing in nearly all structures, plumbers should be able to find a job in almost any industry in either the public or private sector. The career is also a strong choice for anyone interested in small business ownership.
Plumbers will need to have a variety of skills, including extensive knowledge of building materials, local building codes, and plumbing codes. Physical stamina will be necessary for those in the career, as the work can be very strenuous. Plumbers will often need to work in crawlspaces or behind walls to find and repair problems using the tools of the trade. Although this career comes with its challenges, the rewards include job security and financial stability.
Those interested in the plumbing profession can expect to learn about topics such as:
- Pipe fittings
- Fuel gas systems
- Installing water heaters
- Plumbing drawings
- Water distribution systems
- Plumbing fixtures
- Plumbing safety
- Plumbing tools
- Repair plumbing fixtures
- Mending burst pipes
- Repairing pipes
- Drainage systems
- Vent systems
- Testing water supply piping
- Installing and repairing pipes used in a gas piping system
West Virginia Plumbing License Requirement
Licensing is a requirement for West Virginia Plumbers and is overseen by the West Virginia Division of Labor. Licenses in the state fall into three categories: Plumber in Training, Journeyman Plumber and Master Plumber.
- Plumber in Training: This license is available to anyone who has fewer than 8,000 hours working in the trade and is currently learning.
- Journeyman Plumber: This license can be applied for once you have completed 8,000 hours of work in the field. Journeyman Plumbers can supervise and inspect the work of a Plumber in Training.
- Master Plumber: A Master Plumber must have completed 12,000 hours in the field. Master plumbers can design plumbing systems and supervise Journeyman Plumbers and Plumbers in Training.
Training as a Plumber in West Virginia
Those who wish to train as a plumber will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent as a prerequisite. Once met, prospective plumbers generally choose from one of two paths for training: a training program at a technical school or university or an apprenticeship. If you would like to pursue training through an apprenticeship, this website is a helpful resource for finding one. For training programs in West Virginia, consider one of the following:
- Putnam Career and Technical Center in Eleanor offers a Plumbing program. Students will learn how to diagnose and repair plumbing problems, read blueprints and assemble various pipes and fittings. The program includes 1m080 hours of instruction, which can be completed over one or two years depending on enrollment status.
- Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston offers a course in Plumbing. Students will complete 1,080 hours of plumbing instruction, preparing them for work in the field. During the program, students will be eligible to work as plumbers’ helpers.
Wages and Job Growth Expectations in West Virginia
According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), plumbers in West Virginia made an average annual salary of $48,450 in 2021. Although this is somewhat lower than the national average for this field, the data must be taken in context with the local cost of living, which can vary significantly from state to state. It should also be noted that top earners in the field had salaries closer to $79,080, meaning there is good potential for wages to grow with experience.
As for employment growth expectations, the career is predicted to grow in West Virginia by 4 percent over the next 10 years.
West Virginia Career Opportunities
So, what types of jobs should you expect to find in the plumbing industry? It varies. Since piping structures exist in many industries, almost everyone needs a plumber at some point in time, and larger organizations often need full-time plumbers. In West Virginia, potential employers include Kanawha Valley Maintenance, Snowshoe Mountain, the Army National Guard, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and Medix Group.