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Computer-Based Testing – Frequently Asked Questions

Now that Computer-Based Testing (CBT) is in full swing, here are answers to the most common questions we’ve received. Note: this post is a living document and will be continually updated as necessary. Newly added or changed sections are designated “UPDATED.”

How do I know that I meet an exam’s requirements before I apply? – DO THIS FIRST
The best way to confirm that you have met all of the requirements for the exam you’re applying for is to check your current license page using the TSBPE’s Public License Search. This page lists everything the TSBPE has on file for the licensee including: fingerprint status, training classes and even hours certified by your employer (if they’re on file). Because the TSBPE does not process or approve incomplete applications, it is very important that you make sure you meet each of the requirements of the exam you’re applying for on this page before submitting your application to the TSBPE.

What is Computer-Based Testing (CBT) and Who is Pearson VUE?
The TSBPE recently began rolling out a convenient and efficient new way to take what was previously referred to as the “written” plumbing license examination. The new exams are administered via computer by our partner, Pearson VUE, a leader in Computer-Based Testing in Texas. Pearson VUE has over 40 locations statewide, including multiple locations in every major metro area.

So no more written exams?
Yes. Computer-Based Tests (CBTs) will eventually replace all written examinations. The practical (hands-on) examinations will continue to be administered at TSBPE locations in Austin and Waco.

How do I apply for an examination now that CBT has been introduced?
The application process has not changed; exam applications can be submitted online via the Online Licensing System or in person through US Mail using a printable form. Please include all required documents as we do not process incomplete applications.

How do I schedule a computer-based examination once I’ve submitted my application to the TSBPE?
Once the TSBPE approves your exam application, Pearson VUE will email everything you’ll need to schedule and complete your CBT. For this reason, it’s crucial that you make sure the email address you’ve submitted to the TSBPE is correct. If you need to change your email address, please go to tsbpe.texas.gov and choose “Update Your Address” in the Contact Us menu.

How much different are the new Computer-Based Tests from the old written exams? Do I have to study for an entirely new test now?
The tests themselves remain the same length and the same format; if you prepped for the TSBPE-administered written exam, you prepped for the CBT.

My application was approved but I have lost the email from Pearson VUE, what do I do now?
1. Search for the words “Authorization to Test” in your inbox, junk/spam, and trash folders to make sure it’s not in your email.
2. Are you positive that your application was complete? Remember, the TSBPE does not process or approve incomplete applications. Please login to your account on the Online Licensing System and look for the application in the Quick Start Menu. If it is listed, then it is still open and requires more information to be approved.
3. If you’re still convinced that your application was approved and that you should have received an email, please call Pearson VUE Customer Service: 888-304-3589. Hours of operation and more information is available on the Pearson VUE website.

Are the new application(s) updated and online now?
Yes, right now the exams that are computer-based are the Tradesman-LimitedJourneyman, Med Gas Piping Installation and Water Supply Protection Specialist (WSPS) exams. These applications have been updated in the Online Licensing System and can be accessed right now. More exam types are coming soon.

What happens once I pass/fail the computer-based exam?
You’ll receive your results immediately upon completion of the Computer-Based Test. Don’t forget to check out with Pearson VUE staff before leaving the testing center. Failure to do so could prevent you from receiving your pass/fail letter. If the exam you applied for includes a practical portion, your practical exam will not be scheduled until you have passed the computer-based portion.

If you passed: Your test results will be posted to your TSBPE online account within 2 business days. If the exam you applied for includes a practical exam (Apprentice to Journeyman, Apprentice to Tradesman and MedGas), allow approximately 30 days to receive your TSBPE email regarding your scheduled practical exam.*

If you passed the Tradesman to Journeyman: a “Journeyman Initial” license application will be opened and added to your TSBPE online account within 2 business days. Simply login to your account and pay the fees associated with the Journeyman Initial license application and your plastic card will be mailed in 7-10 business days.

If you did not pass: You are allowed up to five attempts at passing your Computer-Based Test and you must pass the exam within one year from the initial TSBPE application authorization. Do not reapply for additional authorizations through the TSBPE until you have exhausted all five of these attempts. Study up while waiting the required 30 days from your initial failure, then reschedule with Pearson VUE and try again. After a second failure you’re required to wait 60 days, 90 days after a third attempt and so on. If the exam you applied for includes a practical portion, your practical exam will not be scheduled until you have passed the computer-based portion.

*Please have patience as we are currently transitioning a large amount of existing applicants to this new program.

What can I do to make sure my exam application is approved quickly so that I can reduce my wait time?
Make sure you have prepared all necessary documents (government-issued photo ID, additional forms, etc.) before you submit an application. Submitting an incomplete exam application will significantly delay or even nullify your application.

I submitted an application but I haven’t heard from anyone… should I submit another application?
No. If you’ve submitted an application that you know is complete (see next question and answer), please allow time to process. Submitting a second application will only delay the process more.

How do I know that my application has processed?
If you submitted a complete application but can no longer see the open application in your TSBPE account, then it has processed and you should see an invitation email from Pearson VUE.
Important hint: If you are certain you have submitted all of your documents and met all requirements, search for your license using the TSBPE’s Public License Search. If you see your hours posted in the training section, your application has been processed. The last item to post to complete the process is your verified hours.

Is there a fee associated with Computer-Based Tests?
Yes. The fee for a CBT is $68.50 which is paid directly to Pearson VUE. For those exams that also include a practical or “hands-on” exam (Tradesman-Limited from Apprentice, Journeyman from Apprentice, MedGas), the standard TSBPE examination fee is still applicable in addition to the $68.50 Pearson VUE CBT Fee.

NEW: Are the new Computer-Based Tests available in Spanish?
Not currently. We are working with Pearson VUE to provide CBTs in Spanish but for now they are only available in English. If you would like to take an exam in Spanish, please send an email to exam.scheduler@tsbpe.texas.gov after submitting your completed application, and you will be scheduled to take the written exam in Austin. Please only email this address if you would like to take a Spanish language written exam.

¿Están disponibles en español las nuevas pruebas basadas en computadora?
No actualmente. Estamos trabajando con Pearson VUE para proporcionar CBT en Espanol, pero por ahora solo están disponibles en inglés. Si desea realizar un examen en español, envíe un correo electrónico a exam.scheduler@tsbpe.texas.gov después de enviar su solicitud completa y se programará para tomar el examen escrito en Austin. Envíe un correo electrónico a esta dirección solo si desea realizar un examen escrito de español.