How to Become a Licensed Electrician in West Virginia

You may be familiar with the famous lyrics, “Almost heaven, West Virginia.” For those wanting to become a licensed electrician in the state, this article will make the process heavenly in true WV fashion. We will dissect the licensing laws, procedures, reciprocity, and fees for the following electrician licenses in the state:

  • Journeyman Electrician Licenses
    • Temporary Journeyman Electrician Licenses
  • Master Electrician Licenses
    • Temporary Master Electrician Licenses
  • Specialty Electrician Licenses (Electric Sign, HVAC, Low Voltage, Single Family Dwelling)
  • Reciprocal licenses

Do You Need an Electrician’s License in West Virginia?

As per West Virginia’s Legislature, no electrical work can be performed, offered, or engaged in for compensation unless you have a license issued by the State Fire Marshal. Apprentices and trainees no longer need a license as of June 16, 2021, but they must be supervised by a licensed journeyman or master electrician. 

Types of Licenses for Electricians in West Virginia

West Virginia offers both renewable and temporary journeyman and master licenses. They also have 4 specialty licenses for electricians.

  • Journeyman Electrician Licenses: Journeyman electricians can install wires, apparatus, conduits, fixtures, and other appliances. They cannot design electrical systems.
  • Temporary Journeyman Electrician Licenses: This license permits the same work as regular Journeyman Electrician Licenses, except that the applicant is awaiting an examination date and can work meanwhile.
  • Master Electrician Licenses: Master electricians can work in all phases of electrical wiring and installation, design systems, and supervise journeyman electricians and other workers.
  • Temporary Master Electrician Licenses: This license permits the same work as regular Master Electrician Licenses, except that the applicant is awaiting an examination date and can work meanwhile.
  • Specialty Electrician Licenses allow electricians to install, maintain, or repair wiring or devices in specific scenarios.
    • Electric Sign: These specialty electricians work on their electric sign business.
    • HVAC: These specialty electricians work on their plumbing, heating, and air conditioning business.  
    • Low Voltage: These specialty electricians only work with low voltage wiring of 80 volts or less. 
    • Single Family Dwelling: These specialty electricians work in a single-family residential unit that is within or an ancillary to another single-family building.

How to Obtain an Electricians’ License in West Virginia

To obtain your electrician’s license in West Virginia, you’ll need to check off the following list.

  1. Meet the examination requirements for your specific license type, outlined further below.
  2. Apply for examination via mail or online and pay the $25 exam fee by check or money order. Attach supporting documentation such as certificates of completion for apprenticeships, vocational school, etc.
  3. Once your application is approved, you can sit for the exam date you selected on your application. All exams are based on the 2020 National Electric Code (NEC) and are open book. Exams last a maximum of 4 hours and begin at 9:00 am in all cities except Wheeling, where they start at 10:00 am. 
  4. Once you pass your exam with an 80% or higher, you will receive your license.

Be sure to only attach copies to your application, as original documents will not be returned to you. Application reviews typically take at least 15 days.

West Virginia License Requirements for Electricians

To sit for the exam, you’ll need to meet the requirements of your license type. 

Journeyman Exam Requirements

Journeyman electricians must meet ONE of the following:

  • 1 year or 2,000 hours of hands-on experience in above-ground structural wiring OR
  • Have completed a US Department of Labor apprenticeship program OR
  • Have completed a 1080-hour vocational course by the WV Department of Education

Master Exam Requirements

Master electrician must have at least 2 years or 4,000 hours of hands-on experience. Vocational training does not count.

Specialty Electrician Exam Requirements

All specialty electricians must have at least 2 years or 4,000 hours of hands-on experience in their specialty area. These electricians may count a maximum of 1 year (12 months) of approved education towards this requirement.

Temporary Electrician’s Licenses

West Virginia also offers temporary licenses for both journeyman and master electricians. These licenses are only good for 90 days and can be received only once. The objective of this license is to get the electrician into the work field as they await the next examination date. The fee for this application (paper or online) is $50.

Temporary Journeyman Licenses require you to have:

  • 1 year or 2,000 hours of hands-on experience AND have completed a 1080-hour electrical vocational program or approved apprenticeship program

Temporary Master Licenses require you to have:

  • 2 years or 4,000 hours of hands-on experience AND have completed a 1080-hour electrical vocational program or approved apprenticeship program

Reciprocal Electrician Licenses

Unlike most other places, West Virginia has reciprocity agreements with all 50 states for licenses coming from other jurisdictions. The applicants must have fulfilled the general requirements outlined above in their home state. 

These applicants will complete a unique paper or online application. They must also submit a Letter of Good Standing with their application from their state or jurisdiction. This letter must include their:

  • License name
  • License number
  • License type
  • Date of issuance
  • Date of expiration
  • How the license was obtained (by exam, reciprocity, etc.)
  • If any disciplinary action has been taken

Renewing Your West Virginia License

All licenses except temporary licenses are valid until June 30th and cost $50 to renew. Renewal information will be mailed to you by April. You have a 5-year grace period for renewal after the expiration date, although renewals after this period will cost $100.

Electrician Salaries in West Virginia

West Virginia electricians make an average of $54,682 annually, which is about average in the U.S. Those with a decade of experience can enjoy salaries over $63,000, and electricians in Philippi and Moundsville have some of the highest salaries in the state. 

Luckily, electricians in WV can also enjoy a cost of living that is roughly 20% less than the national average, meaning this salary will give you more bang for your buck. As a frame of reference, the average house in West Virginia costs less than half of what the average U.S. home costs. 

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