How to Become a Licensed Contractor in California

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding contractor licensing in California.

Who must be licensed as a contractor in California?

All businesses or individuals that construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the Contractors State License Board if the combined labor and material costs for one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more. Contractors must be licensed before submitting bids.

Who can become a licensed contractor in California?

A licensed contractor must be 18 years of age or older, have either a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, and have the experience and skills necessary to manage the daily activities of a construction business, including field supervision, or be represented by someone (a “qualifying individual”) with the necessary experience and skills.

What kind of experience is required?

At least four years of journey-level experience is required to qualify for the exams. Credit may be given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee or contractor in the particular classification for which you are applying.

Is school necessary?

No. There are no educational requirements to qualify for a California contractor’s license. You may receive credit for technical training, apprenticeship training, military training, or education instead of a portion of the required four years of practical experience. At least one year must be practical experience.

While education is not necessary, an exam preparation program designed around the topics covered on the exam can help you gain confidence for passing your exam on the first try.

Is there an exam requirement?

Yes. The qualifying individual (either you or your representative) is required to pass two written exams: one for business and law and one for trade knowledge. There are some situations in which a waiver for the exams can be issued. CSLB schedules exams after the application is submitted, reviewed, and accepted as complete.

How much does it cost to apply?

As of July 1, 2017, there is a non-refundable $330 fee for an original application and a $200 initial license fee for one classification. The application fee for each additional classification is $150.

Are there additional financial requirements to qualify for a license?

Yes. All applicants must submit to CSLB a contractor bond or cash deposit payable to CSLB in the amount of $15,000. CSLB does not issue bonds.

Is worker’s compensation insurance required?

All contractors who have employees must present proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Contractors without employees are required to file a certificate of exemption. However, C-39 Roofing contractors are not eligible for an exemption from the workers’ compensation insurance requirement.

What other application requirements are there?

All applicants must be fingerprinted (at an additional cost to the applicant) and undergo a background check before CSLB will issue a license.

Where do I get an application or find answers to further questions?

California Contractors State License Board
1 (800) 321-2752
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827


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How to Become a Licensed Contractor in Arizona

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding contractor licensing in Arizona.

Who needs an Arizona contractor license?

Any business which contracts or offers to contract to build, alter, repair, add to, subtract from, improve, move, wreck or demolish any building, highway, road, railroad, excavation or other structure, development or improvement, or to do any part of the work must be a licensed contractor.

Also included in work requiring a license is the erection of scaffolding, connections to utility service lines, metering devices and sewer lines, mechanical or structural service to a structure or improvement and any other work in connection with the project.

“Contractor” includes subcontractors, floor covering contractors, landscape contractors and consultants representing themselves as having the ability to supervise or manage a construction project for the benefit of the property owner.

Supervision or management includes hiring and firing of specialty contractors, scheduling of work on the project, and selection and purchasing of construction material.

Contractors must be properly licensed before submitting bids.

Who can apply for an Arizona contractor’s license?

A sole proprietorship (individual), a partnership, limited liability company, or a corporation may apply for a contractor’s license if they have a regularly employed person with the necessary experience, knowledge and skills who serves as the qualifying party. All persons listed on the application must be 18 years of age or older.

A corporation or limited liability company must be registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission and in good standing with that agency before submitting an application for a contractor’s license. The corporation or limited liability company must remain in good standing in order to renew their contractor’s license.

To whom is the license issued?

A license may be issued to a sole proprietorship (individual), a partnership, limited liability company or a corporation. The license belongs to the business and not to the qualifying party.

What are the steps to getting a contractor license in Arizona?

  1. Identify a Qualifying Party who meets minimum requirements
  2. Pass examinations
  3. Submit to background checks
  4. Form a legal entity
  5. Obtain a bond
  6. Pay required fees
  7. Provide Government issued identification
  8. Complete and submit application

Further descriptions of these steps can be found on the AZROC Licensing Information page.

What do I need to submit with my application?

  1. Original examination score (See PSI Candidate Information Bulletin for instructions to register for exams and answers to commonly asked questions
  2. Experience Record Form
  3. All license fees and Recovery Fund fees (if applicable).
  4. A license bond must be provided with the license application. The amount of the bond required depends upon the classification of license and your anticipated gross volume of business.
  5. Your Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax Number must be included with the license application.
  6. Financial Statement
  7. Proof of Workers Compensation Insurance

Information on License Classification Requirements, License fees, Experience Record form, obtaining a surety bond and Arizona Transaction Privilege Tax Number, instructions, links and answers to many questions can be found on the application which can be downloaded from the Arizona website at:  www.azroc.gov

Is there an exam requirement to get licensed?

All candidates are required to take and pass a Business Management Examination which contains questions on state and federal laws and the management of construction projects, business, and financial management.  Some license classifications also require passing a trade exam.  All testing requirements must be completed before submitting your application.  Information on individual trade exams may be found at www.psiexams.com (800) 733-9267. The PSI Candidate Information Bulletin (PFD) contains instructions to register for exams and answers to commonly asked questions.  Your original examination score report must be submitted with the License Application.

Is experience required to become licensed?

Credit is given for experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervising employee or contractor.  Contracting experience will also be considered from currently licensed Arizona Contractors, formerly licensed contractors and official personnel. Refer to form: License Classification Requirements RC-L-206B to determine License Classification experience requirements.

Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor license accepted in Arizona?

No, the NASCLA license is not accepted in Arizona.

However, as of August 1, 2017, Arizona began accepting this examination in lieu trade examinations for the B-1 and B-2 General Commercial Contracting Classifications. If you are interested in becoming a licensed contractor in 13 other states as well, the NASCLA exam may be a good fit for you. Check out our NASCLA Exam Prep page for further details.

Who do I contact at the state with other questions?

Arizona Registrar of Contractors
1700 West Washington St. Suite 105
Phoenix, AZ  85007-2812
(602) 542-1525
www.azroc.gov


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Mississippi Contractor License Renewal FAQ’s

Who needs to be licensed to work as a contractor in Mississippi?

All contractors and subcontractors performing work on commercial jobs over $50,000.00 (including installation of equipment) require a commercial license issued by MSBOC. A commercial license is also required for any contract involving the construction, reconstruction, repair or maintenance of fire protection systems on public projects over $5,000.00 and private projects over $10,000.00.

A contractor performing new residential construction over $50,000 needs a Residential Building license. A contractor performing residential remodeling over $10,000 needs a Residential Remodeling license. A contractor performing residential roofing over $10,000 needs a Residential Roofing license. If you are performing residential electrical, plumbing, or HVAC work less than $10,000, a state license is not required, but you must contact the local building official or permit office regarding the local requirements.

How do I renew my Mississippi contractor license?

As a courtesy, MSBOC will mail a renewal application to current licensees approximately 60 days before the expiration date listed on the certificate of licensure. The application for renewal will be mailed to the address of record on file with MSBOC. It is the responsibility of the license holder to renew a license annually and to notify MSBOC of any change in address.

A commercial or residential license can be processed as a late renewal for up to 180 days after the expiration date printed on the certificate of licensure. A commercial or residential license that has been expired for more than 180 days cannot be renewed and will require a new application for licensure instead.

What fees are associated with renewing my contractor license?

Commercial License

Renewal: $400

Late Fee: $50

Additional Classification: $100

Residential License

Renewal: $100

Late Fee: $10

What continuing education is required for Mississippi contractors?

Residential contractors are required to complete two (2) hours of approved continuing education each year.  This new requirement went into effect July 1, 2015.

You must have your Mississippi contractor continuing education completed prior to your license renewal date, which is the last day of the twelfth month from your issuance date.

How do I contact the state if I have more questions?

Mississippi State Board of Contractors
2679 Crane Ridge Drive, Suite C
Jackson, MS 39216

(601) 354-6161
(800) 880-6161
info@msboc.us


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Minnesota Building Official License Renewal FAQ’s

When does my building official license expire?

Building official licenses expire every two years from the date of original licensure.

What fees are associated with renewing my building official license?

Renewal fees for a two-year renewal cycle are as follows:

Continuing Education Fee: $20

Certified Building Official: $60

Certified Building Official-Limited: $30

Accessibility Specialist: $30

What are the continuing education requirements for a Minnesota building official?

Building Official: 38 hours

Building Official-Limited:* 38 hours

Accessibility Specialist: 6 hours

*Only the building official limited category is required to obtain 19 hours per year for the 1st two years of certification. After the 1st two years, they are required to complete 38 hours total within each certification period.

Important Note: The State of Minnesota will not allow you to take the same course twice within the same certification period or complete 2 courses on the same date.  Please check your records or call us at 1-800-727-7104 if you cannot remember which course you have already taken.

I also have a construction industry license in Minnesota, are these courses applicable for that license as well?

Yes. To receive continuing education credit toward both licenses, simply place both license numbers (separated by a space) in the “License Number” field provided at registration.

Do you report my completion results to the state of Minnesota?

Yes, we will report your results to the state the next business day after your courses are complete.

How do I contact the state with further questions?

Minnesota Department of Licensing & Industry
Construction Codes and Licensing Division

443 Lafayette Road N
St Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-284-5005


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Florida Certified Contractor License Renewal FAQ’s

Florida Certified contractors renew their licenses August 31st of even numbered years—that time is almost here! Here are some frequently asked questions to help you navigate the license renewal process.

How much continuing education do I need to renew my Florida Contractors license?

All Registered Contractors and Certified Contractors are required to complete fourteen (14) hours of continuing education each renewal cycle.  Of the fourteen hours, one hour is required in each of the following topics:

  • Specialized or Advanced Module that is approved by the Florida Building Commission
  • Workplace Safety
  • Business Practices
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Laws and Rules Regulating the Construction Industry
  • Wind Mitigation Methodologies (if license is held in the following category:  General, Building, Residential, Roofing, Specialty Structure, or Glass & Glazing.

The remaining hours may include any of the above topics or general topics to the industry.

NOTE: Pool/Spa Contractor – Commercial, Residential and Servicing, Residential Pool/Spa Servicing Specialty are required to have 1 hour of Pool electrical (New requirement as of June 2019)

What is the difference between a certified license and a registered license in Florida?

Certified licenses are statewide and allow you to work as a contractor anywhere in Florida. Registered licenses are limited to certain local jurisdictions and only allow you to work in the cities or counties where you hold a certificate of competency.

I am changing my Florida license status to inactive, am I required to maintain my continuing education?

No. However, when you reactivate your license, you must show proof of completing 14 hours of continuing education for the renewal cycle immediately preceding reactivation of your license. Included in the 14 hours, you must show that you have complied with all requirements for your license type.

What Florida license categories are your continued education courses approved for?

Our courses are approved for Construction Industry licenses to include the following license categories:

  • Air Conditioning Service
  • Building
  • Class A Air Conditioning
  • Class B Air Conditioning
  • Commercial Pool/Spa**
  • General
  • Internal Pollutant Storage Tank Lining Applicator
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
  • Pollutant Storage Systems
  • Precision Tank Tester
  • Residential
  • Residential Pool/Spa**
  • Roofing
  • Sheet Metal
  • Solar
  • Specialty: Drywall
  • Specialty: Demolition
  • Specialty: Gas Line
  • Specialty: Glass and Glazing
  • Specialty: Irrigation
  • Specialty: Marine
  • Specialty: Residential Pool/Spa Servicing**
  • Specialty: Solar Water Heating
  • Specialty: Structure
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Decking
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Excavation
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Finishes
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Layout
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Piping
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Structural
  • Specialty: Swimming Pool Trim
  • Specialty: Tower
  • Swimming Pool/Spa Service**
  • Underground Utility and Excavation

**NOTE: 1-hour of Pool electrical required as of June 2019

Can Florida contractor continuing education be completed online?

Yes. Providers with the “C / I” or “I” designation are approved to offer online courses.
Our courses are all approved for Florida online continuing education, Provider #0005830.

How can I check on the number of hours of Florida contractor continuing education I have completed?

Go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/online-services/ to log on or activate your account and verify your completed CE hours.

Who do I contact at the state level for Florida contractor continuing education questions?

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
(850) 487-1395


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Moving Forward: Better Than Ever

The country is beginning to emerge from quarantine, and construction is one of the industries that is going back online before others. As construction business owners the future may look uncertain, but there are certainly things you can be focusing on to not only provide safety for your business, but make sure you continue to thrive.

  1. Disruption Planning

    The AIA has put together a helpful guide for putting together a business continuity plan, or “What do we do in the event of ‘x’ disaster?” While this guide is geared specifically toward architecture firms, construction firms face many of the same issues. Most businesses have emergency preparedness plans, but this guide helps you think about non-standard emergencies as well and covers everything from market downturn to technology outages. How will your business adapt if your company email server goes down? Will it cripple your day-to-day operations? What’s plan B? Thinking about these things in advance will not only help you be prepared for the unexpected but may also help you identify areas of your business that can be improved upon.

  2. Improve Your Operational Procedures

    When uncertain times call for downsizing or cost cutting, many business owners look at their biggest overhead costs first—payroll, office space, marketing and other big monthly spends are often the first things cut. However, examining your procedures and day to day operations for inefficiencies (and implementing improvements) can go a long way towards reducing long term “pain” areas that are costing you money. What are things that don’t work for your business? It could be something as simple as writing a company wide email policy (say good-bye to unnecessary emails!) to hiring an accountant because your time could be better served working on something else for your business. And if you’re not sure where to start, asking your employees may be a good place. By asking for their honest opinion, you will make them feel more valued and they may see things in ways you don’t expect.
    The Internet has a ton of great resources, but here are three articles to get you started:
    3 Surprisingly Inefficient Daily Business Practices
    5 Innovative Ways to Run a More Efficient Small Business
    10 Tips to Improve Business Efficiency

  3. Work on Company Culture

    When it comes to business efficiency—employee productivity can be also be a big factor. Happy and safe employees, who feel valued by their employer are far more productive than those who feel the opposite. While you can’t make everyone happy all the time, it can be simple to improve workplace culture and we could probably all use a moral boost in these uncertain times. One of the best things you can do is show your employees you value them. How does your company show appreciation for your employees? What are some small changes you could make? Maybe bring snacks to the jobsite for break time. Are there big changes? Maybe your company handbook needs modernizing, to get rid of outdated practices that no longer serve your values.
    Here are a couple more articles to give you food for thought:
    How to Improve Your Company Culture
    10 Dead Simple Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

  4. Plan for the Future

    What does planning for the future look like when you have no idea what’s going to happen next? This article by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP provides a helpful list of its own for helping contractors deal with the state of things. Their advice? Instead of “reactionary decisions based on a perceived need to do something…take calculated steps to curb the impact of [the pandemic].” Examine current contracts to know your rights and responsibilities. Look for ways to reduce short-term project costs such as equipment rentals or travel expenses. And, plan for future work. While some new projects may be on hold indefinitely, others may still go forward as planned. Open lines of communication with your stake holders to get a better idea of where you stand. Taking these steps now to evaluate where your business is and where it is going will help you identify and avoid pitfalls in the future.


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Temporary Massachusetts BBRS Rule Change

On April 14, 2020, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulation and Standards approved suspending the minimum 6 hour in-person continuing education requirement.

Previous accommodations (that licenses expiring March 10th or later would continue to remain active until 90 days after the end of the state of emergency) have now been terminated.

The new and temporary rule states that:

If you are a Restricted (10hr) or Unrestricted Construction Supervisor (12hr), you may complete the balance of your continuing education online if you meet the following requirements:

  1. Your CSL expired on or after March 10th, 2020
  2. Your license will expire during the state of emergency
  3. Your license will expire within 90 days of the official termination of the state of emergency

The state of emergency is ongoing, and it is not possible to say yet when it will end. This means, for the foreseeable future, all required continuing education may be taken online.

We have put together full 10 and 12 hour packages to help you meet your renewal needs. Please visit our Massachusetts continuing education page for further details.


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Georgia Contractor Licensing Renewal FAQ’s

Georgia contractors, you must renew your licenses annually by June 30th. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you with the process!

How many hours of continuing education do I need to complete?

An applicant for renewal of his or her residential license must have completed 3 hours of acceptable continuing education each year for a Georgia Residential Basic license and 6 hours of continuing education each year for a Georgia Residential Light Commercial license, with a year being July 1st through June 30th.

Here are the licensing categories and amount of continued education that is required in each:

No Continued Education Required for
  • General Contractor Individual
  • General Contractor Limited Tier IND
  • General Contractor Limited Tier QA
  • General Contractor Qualifying Agent

Three (3) Hours Required for

  • Residential Basic Individual
  • Residential Basic Qualifying Agent

Six (6) Hours Required for

  • Residential Light Commercial Individual
  • Residential Light Qualifying Agent
If you do not know your categories, you can either go to this web site: http://verify.sos.ga.gov/websites/verification/ and look up your license or you can call (844) 753-7825.

When will my Georgia Contractor continued education need to be completed by?

An applicant for renewal of his or her residential license must have completed 3 hours of acceptable continuing education each year for a Georgia Residential Basic license and 6 hours of continuing education each year for a Georgia Residential Light Commercial license, with a year being July 1st through June 30th.

Are online courses accepted for Georgia required continuing education?

Yes, 50% of your continuing education can be completed online.

How do I show I’ve completed my Georgia Required Continued Education?

You will be required to provide a signed statement (affirmative response if renewing online) under oath that all applicable continuing education requirements have been met.

What records should I keep?

(a) School conducting the course
(b) Location of course
(c) Title/description of course
(d) Course outline
(e) Dates attended
(f) Hours claimed
(g) Certification of Completion

Records must be maintained by both school and licensee for two years and must be submitted to the Board upon request.

What happens if I do not complete my Georgia Required Continuing Education?

Failure to complete all hours of mandatory continuing education will serve as grounds to deny the renewal of a license and may also result is disciplinary action being taken against a licensee.

Are there exceptions?

The Board may relax or suspend the requirements for reasons of individual hardship or health of the applicant.

Where do I go to renew my license?

Renewals can be completed online by visiting the Georgia Secretary of State Professional Licensing Page.

 


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Michigan Builders–Last Chance to Complete Your Continuing Education

We know the world has been crazy lately, and we want to help make sure you are on top of your licensing requirements. The majority of builders licensed in Michigan must renew their license this year by May 31st–and time is running out!

Failure to renew online and/or failure to meet all renewal requirements by the expiration date of your license means you cannot legally practice as a Michigan licensed builder or contractor and may be subject to disciplinary action if you continue to practice.

In order to be eligible to renew your license, you must complete continuing education based on how long you have been licensed:

  • If licensed 6 years or less you must complete 21 hours of continuing competency.
  • If licensed more than 6 years, you must complete 3 hours of continuing competency.

These courses must be completed prior to renewing your license. Builders License Training Institute offers an online version of these courses, which you can complete from the comfort and safety of your home. Our online courses are full HD Video and can be accessed from any mobile device 24/7 for your convenience. Upon completion of our courses, we will provide you with a certificate of completion to keep in your records.

Some other things to keep in mind for renewing your license:

During renewal, you must state that you have a copy of the current 2015 Michigan Residential Code book. If you don’t have a copy, we have them available in our bookstore and they will typically arrive within 3-5 business days.

Additionally, as of 2020 all Michigan builder license renewals must now be completed online through the new Accela portal. We have put together a step-by-step guide to help walk you through the new renewal process. We are recommending giving the guide a read through well in advance of May 31st.

Finally, please remember we are here to help you with ALL aspects of renewing your license, and someone is in the office Monday-Friday 8am-6pm EST to help you with any questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

 

 


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All New: NASCLA Exam Preparation Program

Big news, builders! We have completely revamped our NASCLA exam prep for 2020. Our program now features all HD video accompanied by printable text, and we are now offering all 21 books for sale.

What makes this program great?

The first lessons you go through in the program will provide you with practical tips to help you create a study routine that works for you. You’ll learn our methods behind studying for an open book test, and how those methods apply to actually taking the NASCLA exam. You will also learn our recommended strategies for taking (and PASSING) the exam.

Twenty-one lessons walk you through each reference book listed on the NASCLA bulletin one at a time. Our instructors break down the books for you, showing you the key navigation features, discussing the content, and how best to use each book during the exam. Each book’s lesson also has a practice exam with questions relating to its content, so you can gauge how well you know the material covered in that book.

The last lesson is a construction math lesson that will give you a refresher on common mathematical situations in construction.

Finally, the program also features a comprehensive practice exams consisting of over 1,000 questions you can retake as many times as you like. The practice exams will help increase your familiarity with the books, taking a long exam, as well as determine what subject areas you still need to devote study time.

If you have been considering getting your NASCLA certification, our exam prep program is the one you have been looking for!  Check out a snippet from our class below.


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It was highly educational on safety on which will help me and my company save lives and keep safe on the job site in everyday life. – April 17, 2018
Charlie Tregale - Massachusetts
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