Electrical Contractors in the State of West Virginia are required to hold a license from the WV Fire Commission. Licenses are issued by the Office of the State Fire Marshal. A license is required to perform electrical work of any kind.
As part of the licensing process, the State Fire Marshal requires all contractors to meet a minimum amount of work experience and pass an exam based on the most current National Electric Code (NEC), as it relates to their chosen license classification.
License Classifications and Categories for Electrical Contractors in West Virginia
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal offers the following license classifications and categories to Electrical Contractors:
- Master Electrician License
- Journeyman Electrician License
- Apprentice Electrician License
- Specialty Electrician License
- Single-Family Dwelling
- Electric Sign
- Fire & Burglar Alarm
For more information about the classifications offered and the scope of work they may perform, call:
304-558-2191 ext. 53219
Process to Obtain an Electrical Contractor License in West Virginia
- Contractors must meet the work experience or education/training requirements for their chosen license classification.
- Contractors must complete and submit an exam application to the Office of the Fire Marshal, along with all the required documents and testing fee
- Contractors must take and pass an exam based on their chosen license classification with a score of 80% or higher
- Contractors must complete and submit a license application along with appropriate license fee to the Office of the Fire Marshal in order to receive their license.
Work Experience Requirement
In order to qualify to take the exam, all applicants must submit an application proving that they meet the Fire Marshal’s requirements for work experience and/or education and training based on their chosen license classification:
- Master Electricians- must prove that they have at least 5 years or 10,000 hours of hands-on electrical work experience. All work experiences must consist of above-ground structural wiring, in accordance with NEC, in the residential, commercial and industrial fields. Vocational training does not count toward the work experience requirement for this license class.
- Journeyman Electricians- must prove that they have at least 4 years or 8,000 hours of hands-on electrical work experience. The Fire Marshal also accepts the completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the U.S. Department of Labor or the completion of a vocational course, no less than 1080 hours, approved by the WV Department of Education.
- Specialty Electrician Categories- must prove 2 years or 4,000 hours of hands-on electrical work experience within their chosen category. The Fire Marshal will grant up to 1 year of work experience for attending an approved electrical educational course.
- Apprentice Electricians- do not have to meet any requirements for work experience. However, all Apprentice applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
In order to prove work experience, applicants must complete the work history portion of the application. This includes providing the name, address and phone number of current or previous employers for all work experiences claimed.
*Apprentice applicants are not required to complete the work history portion of the application.
The Fire Marshal may also accept a detailed resume stating all work experiences, in which all work settings are clearly identifiable.
In some cases, W2s and notarized statements may be requested to prove work experiences. Detailed information is required for all self-employed contractors. A notarized statement may be requested in this case as well.
To prove education or training, the contractor must submit copies of their apprenticeship or vocational certificate of completion.
*The Fire Marshal recommends submitting copies of all documents instead of originals, as documents may not be returned.
For more information about the work experiences and education/training accepted, please contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at:
304-558-2191 ext. 53219
Preparing and Submitting an Examination Application
All contractors must complete and submit an application in order to gain approval to take the exam.
You can download a copy of the Application for West Virginia State Electrical Examination.
Be sure to read and follow all instructions included in the application packet. All information must be typed or printed legibly. Applications with missing or incomplete information will be returned. Be sure to sign the application.
Provide a valid email address on the application to receive communications from the Fire Marshal via email.
Any application submitted without the appropriate testing fee will be thrown out. Submit the non-refundable testing fee according to the contractor’s chosen license classification:
- Testing fee for all Master, Journeyman and Specialty Electrician categories – $25
- Testing fee for all Apprentice applicants – $10
The Fire Marshal accepts payments in the form of check or money order, made payable to, “WVSFMO” Debit card payments are not accepted.
*There will be an additional licensing fee at the time the contractor passes the examination.
The application asks contractors to indicate their preferred testing date, time and location. It is important that contractors provide a first and second choice for testing in the event that all exam seats are filled on their first-pick. If a second choice is not indicated, the application and fee may be returned if the first testing choice is full.
*Seating for the exam may be limited based on the time, date and location of the test.
Submit the completed exam application along with all the required documents and testing fee to:
Office of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal
1207 Quarrier Street, 2nd Floor
Charleston, WV 25301
Applications are accepted up to 10 days before the applicants chosen test date.
Upon reviewing the application, the Fire Marshal will issue an approved or denied notice within approximately 14 business days. If the contractor’s application is approved they will also be issued approval to take the examination.
The Examination Process
All contractors are required to take and pass an exam related to the most current National Electric Code (NEC), administered by the Office of the West Virginia State Fire Marshal.
The exam is open-book and primarily based on the rules and laws found in the most current NEC codebook. Contractors are allowed to bring the following references and materials into the testing center on the day of the exam:
- NEC Codebook
- Keyword Index
- Ugly’s Book
- Scrap Paper
*Contractors may not bring sample tests or previous WVSFMO tests into the testing center on the day of the exam.
Contractors must hold an approval notice from the Fire Marshal’s Office in order to be admitted into the exam. The test proctor does not accept walk-ins.
Testing Centers are located in:
Exams begin at 9am. All examinees are asked to arrive at 8:30 am on the day of the exam to allow time for check-in.
The time allotted to take the exam is 4 hours. Late arrivals will not be granted extra time to take the test.
Contractors are required to pass the exam with a score of 80% or higher.
Exam scores are mailed out within 10-14 business days of the contractor completing the test.
If the contractor does not pass the exam on the first try, they may schedule a re-take at any time without a waiting period in between. The cost to re-take the exam is $10.
For more information about the exam or the examination process, call:
304-558-2191 ext. 53219
Visit the State’s Electrical Licensing Website
Final Licensing Steps
Upon passing the exam, the contractor will receive a notification letter along with instructions for applying for a license and paying the licensing fee.
Exam scores are good for a period of 1 year. The contractor must submit their license application and license fee within that 12 month window in order to receive a license. If the contractor misses the deadline, they must re-apply and take the exam over again.
The license fee is $50 for all license classifications.
Once the office of the Fire Marshal receives and processes the contractor’s application and license fee, they will issue a license card within approximately 14 business days. License cards will arrive via USPS.
To preserve the license, it is recommended that contractor’s laminate their license card.
For more information about the final steps for licensing, please contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at:
304-558-2191 ext. 53219
How Long is a West Virginia Electrical Contractor License Valid?
All electrical license classifications are good for a period of one year in the State of West Virginia. Licenses expire on June 30th and must be renewed each year.
The Office of the Fire Marshal issues renewal notices and reminders each year during the month of April. Contractors are required to complete and submit a renewal application and pay the renewal fee in the provided envelope; post-marked before June 30th to avoid penalties and late fees.
The cost to renew a license is $50 for all license classifications.
For more information about renewing an electrical license classification with the West Virginia Fire Marshal, call:
304-558-2191 ext. 53219
Visit the Fire Marshal’s FAQ
Table of Fees
|Fee||What is it For?||When is it Due?||$25||Testing Fee for all Master, Journeyman and Specialty Electrician License categories||Upon submitting the exam application|
|$10||Testing Fee for all Apprentice Electrician applicants||Upon submitting the exam application|
|$10||Cost to re-take the examination for all license classifications||Upon scheduling a re-test|
|$50||License Fee for all license classifications and categories||Upon passing the exam and submitting the license application|
|$50||Renewal Fee for all license classifications and categories||Every year upon renewal|