Before a person can work in an in-state underground mine or surface mine they must first complete the West Virginia Mine Apprenticeship Course and successfully complete the course examination.
West Virginia Surface Miner Apprentice Program Requirements
Upon successfully completing the program, you will be issued the appropriate “West Virginia Mine Apprenticeship Certificate” which is required by all mining companies. For prospective underground miners, the underground course is eighty (80) hours long and for prospective surface miners, the course is forty (40) hours in length.
Both courses are given by a variety of approved training facilities around the state including the state’s two “Mine Training Academies” located at West Virginia University and Southern WV Community and Technical College. For a complete listing of approved facilities offering either of the mine apprenticeship programs, please contact the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety & Training. You must be at least eighteen (18) years old before being employed by a mining company.
The requirement to become a surface apprentice coal miner in West Virginia requires the individual to be eighteen years old and you must complete a state-approved 40-hour surface miner apprentice program. There are numerous companies around the state that offer the 40-hour surface miner class so you should be able to find one close to your home. To become a surface miner apprentice you don't need any experience because once you pass the course you'll be authorized to work onsite with certified surface miners where you'll learn on the job training in the work that is done at a surface coal mining operation.
Whenever you take the 40-hour surface miner class the instructor will submit the class roster to the regional office along with the class location as well as the start and end dates of the class. Each roster submitted will include the certification number and signature of the instructor. Once you complete the class you have 45 days to take the test to become an apprentice surface coal miner. Also, if you fail the test the first time you have 30 days to retake the test. If you fail the test the second time you must retake the class again before being allowed to retake the test.
All applicants that take the 40-hour surface mining class must pass a written or oral test with a minimum score of 75% before being authorized to receive your apprentice surface mining card. Once you pass the exam you'll be authorized to seek employment with a surface mining operation where you'll work with certified surface miners to learn how surface mines operates.
As an apprentice surface coal miner you'll have to work in this capacity for 6-months before you will be authorized to test to become a fully certified surface coal miner. As an apprentice you'll be considered a green horn where you'll earn less pay than those that are certified. Also, you can expect to do the grunt work around the surface mine until you earn the respect of fellow certified surface miners.
Just remember as an apprentice surface miner you should find a veteran surface miner and allow them to mentor you. Because one day you'll become a fully certified surface miner and some other young rookie coal miner will be looking up to you on the mine site for guidance in how to perform various jobs around the mines.
Surface Coal Mine Foreman Requirements
The requirements for a mine foreman and assistant mine foreman in West Virginia are very similar in what qualifications are needed to perform such duties. Every coal company that operates a coal mines with five or more employees must have at least one person on the shift that is certified as a mine foreman.
Below are the qualifications required to function as a mine or assistant mine foreman in West Virginia:
- Employee must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
- Employee must be a resident of West Virginia or an employee in a mine in West Virginia.
- An employee with 2 years of surface mining experience, and no college degree qualifies for becoming an Assistant Mine Foreman.
- An employee with a 4-year degree in mining engineering or electrical degree, and 1 year experience in the pit qualifies to become a Surface Mine Foreman.
- An employee with an Associate's degree along with 2 years surface mining experience, of which 18 months must be in the pit, qualifies to become a Surface Mine Foreman.
- An employee with 3 years surface mining experience, of which 18 months must be in the pit, qualifies for Surface Mine Foreman.
- If an employee has a Mine Foreman certification from another state and holds a WV miners certificate they can boss for 90 days or until the next available testing date.
Mine Foreman Examination Requirements:
An applicant must take a written and hands on examination, and must pass with an 80% score on each section of the test to qualify for the certification.
As a holder of a West Virginia Mine Foreman certification no other states offer reciprocity. Each state has specific requirements for issuing mine foreman certifications.
Duties of a Mine Foreman:
As a mine foreman in the coal mines you will have a lot of responsibilities such as running a shift and making sure that employees follow all safety requirements while inside and outside the mines. Also, the mine foreman is responsible for all shift production in mining coal. As a mine foreman you should have knowledge of all jobs that perform in a shift.
Working as a mine foreman not only requires you to have a lot of responsibility, but you can earn a nice income as well whereas most mine foreman earn anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 or more a year. However, as a mine foreman you will usually work longer hours than your crew and will have to report to higher executives on a variety of matters such as shift production, mine safety and other like issues that are common in a coal mining operation
West Virginia Apprentice Electrician Coal Miner Requirements
A West Virginia coal mine electrician must start off as an apprentice electrician while working in a mine. This way the individual is trained in all faucets of what it takes to become a certified electrician. An apprentice coal mine electrician will learn about routine maintenance on electrical circuits as well as electrically operated equipment that is used around the mines.
To qualify for the apprentice electrician card, an individual must be a certified coal miner. Also, the individual must attend an 8-hour class on the hazards of electricity. The coal miner must be 18-years old to qualify for the apprentice electrician card. Another important requirement is that the individual coal miner must enroll in an approved electrical training program.
No examination is required to qualify for the apprentice electrician card to work in a coal mines in West Virginia. However, the individual coal miner must meet the qualification as defined in the approved electrical training program.
West Virginia's coal miner electrician apprentice card does not have any reciprocity with any other state. The coal miner holding the card can only work in a West Virginia coal mines. As a holder of an apprentice electrician's card, the West Virginia mine office will issue a certification number on the card and it will be filed within the coal miner's regional office of operation as proof of that specific individual does hold the apprentice electrician's card.
As an apprentice electrician in the coal mines you'll learn all aspects of what it takes to become a fully certified electrician. Also, once you fulfill the requirements of the apprentice card you'll open many doors to other opportunities and also increase your earnings as a certified electrician in a coal mines is in high demand and you can earn anywhere from $25-$40 dollars an hour.
Most coal companies are seeking qualified electricians and finding a job should not be too hard once you complete the apprentice program. Remember; as an apprentice electrician don't take safety for granted because coal mines are filled with hazards and as you're training under a certified electrician be sure to listen to them about what to look for as you work on electrical circuits and equipment. Always wear the proper safety gear when doing work as an electrician in the mines. Many coal miners depend on the quality work that the electrician's perform, so be sure to tag dangerous equipment and follow all mine protocols in running electricity throughout the mine site.
For more information contact:
West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training
NUMBER 7 PLAYERS CLUB DR. SUITE 2
CHARLESTON WV, 25311
Application Forms: http://www.wvminesafety.org/Forms.htm
Mining Certification Forms: http://www.wvminesafety.org/certforms.htm
Underground and Surface Certifications: http://www.wvminesafety.org/mineforms.htm