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Tennessee State Licensing Requirements

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New! 3-Hour Successful Site Design

This three hour, fully narrated online course will help you to navigate your entire team through the challenges and pit falls of site development, all the time with an eye toward building design.

Course Syllabus

Price: $29.00

New! 7-hour Manage Your Way To Big Profits


Seven hour, online course will is an introduction to professional project management. The course will help prepare the student to understand the scope of responsibilities of a construction project manager.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

New! 6-Hour Online Lead Paint Awareness

Online Video

Six hour, online video course will teach you how to perform or supervise lead-safe work practices safely and effectively.
This course is not a qualifier for RRP Certification.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

1-Hour Online Advanced Module: Thermal & Moisture Protection: Keeping the Weather Out

Printable Text Online

One hour online course identifies moisture and weather related problems, and will identify practical solutions based on the Florida Building Code requirements.

Course Syllabus

Price: $19.00

1-Hour Online Advanced Module: Gable End Anchoring and Framing for High Velocity Winds

Fully Narrated

One hour online course is based on the Florida Building Code changes that surround the most common causes of gable end failure during high velocity hurricane events.

Course Syllabus

Price: $19.00

1 hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Accessible Routes (video)

One hour online video course covering Chapter Four of the 2010 ADA Standards. You will be able to recognize adequate accessible routes for people with disabilities and identify requirements for doorways, ramps and platforms.

Course Syllabus

Price: $19.00

1 hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Special Rooms, Spaces and Elements

One hour online video course covering Chapter Eight of the 2010 ADA Standards. Know the importance of circulation pathways and ADA requirements for lodging, dining, courthouse and public transportation facilities.

Course Syllabus

Price: $19.00

1 Hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Plumbing Elements and Facilities

One hour online video course covering Chapter Six of the 2010 ADA Standards. Know the importance of adequate plumbing elements including drinking fountains, toilet facilities, bathtubs and showers, as well as applicable hardware.

Course Syllabus

Price: $19.00

1 Hour Tax Fraud and Abuse

One hour online video course will provide an overview of ethical and responsible tax reporting and payment that will help you establish and maintain hard earned business relationships.

Course Syllabus

Price: $19.00

2 Hour Ethics and Professional Development

Two hour online video course identifying the fundamental theories of ethics and their respective weaknesses.  You will learn how to effectively apply a Code of Ethics to current policies, rules and guidelines governing a business.

Course Syllabus

Price: $29.00

2 Hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Recreational Facilities

Two hour online video course covering Chapter Ten of the 2010 ADA Standards. You will be able to identify ADA requirements for amusement parks, fitness equipment, golf facilities, play areas and swimming/boating facilities.

Course Syllabus

Price: $29.00

3 Hour 2012 Energy, Residential and Building Code Updates (video)

This three hour course provides an overview of the most recent editions of the 2012 International Residential Code, International Building Code and the International Energy Conservation Code.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Exterior Building Blocks

Three hour online video course covering Chapters Three, Four and Five of the 2010 ADA Standards. Recognize how exterior exponents can and should comply with ADA requirements, including maneuvering space and accessible routes.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Interior Elements

Three hour online video course covering Chapters Six, Seven, Eight and Nine of the 2010 ADA Standards. Know requirements of proper plumbing, communication, special rooms and built-in elements.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Envelope Failure: A Better Weatherization Design

Three hour online video course identifying how a properly constructed building envelope will keep out weather related moisture and stop uncontrolled movement of energy due to loss of conditioned air.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Harnessing Resources: New Construction Opportunities

Three hour online video course exploring new and innovative design considerations for resource and energy efficiency in new construction.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Hazardous Work Zones: Implementing Occupational Safety I

Three hour online video course identifying construction related hazards and methods to reduce and eliminate them.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Hazardous Work Zones: Implementing Occupational Safety II

This three hour online video course is designed to assist those in the industry to  identify, reduce, and eliminate construction-related hazards at a more in depth level.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Technological Innovation: Building “Green” Into the Budget

This three hour online video course will bring attention to methods of green building that allow homes to have less impact on the environment, while providing a greater economic benefit to the homeowner.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

3 Hour Preventing Foundation Failure: Soils, Concrete, Reinforcement and Layout

Three hour course explaining steps involved in foundation preparation and  design. Outlined through videos, text, diagrams and slides.

Course Syllabus

Price: $39.00

4 Hour Weatherization and Energy Efficient Building

This four hour online course will help professionals identify important considerations in weatherization and energy efficiency and then apply those principles to a specific project.

Course Syllabus

Price: $49.00

4 Hour Basic Project Management

Four hour fully narrated course focusing on the primary responsibilities of a project manager:  managing project costs and time, while completing the project to the expected degree of quality.

Course Syllabus

Price: $49.00

6 Hour Advanced Project Management

Six hour fully narrated course takes an in depth at the primary responsibilities of a project manager.  This course will teach a manager how to implement proven methods in order to manage most effectively.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

6 Hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Real World Application

This six hour video course covers the second chapter of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.  Scoping Requirements and real world examples of problems and solutions are included in the course.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

6 Hour Construction Safety Standards

Six hour online video course reviewing sefety codes required for construction, and responsibilities of both the employer and employee in observing established safety practices.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

6 Hour Weatherization and Renewable Energy

This six hour course will explore factors that contribute to exterior shell failure, and identify practical  solutions that will preserve the integrity of the building envelope and add to the buildings efficiency.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

6 Hour Contracts, Liabilities and Risk Management

This six hour video course explains the principles of contract law  and the important elements of a home building and remodeling contract.

Course Syllabus

Price: $69.00

7 Hour Estimating and Bidding for Success (Narrated)

This 7 Hour course is excellent for both junior estimators entering the field or architects, engineers and contractors becoming more familiar with how bids are prepared.

AIA Approved and fulfills Builders License Continuing Education in several states.  View Course Syllabus for more details.

Course Syllabus

Price: $99.00

7 Hour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards: Key Features and Elements

This seven hour video course covers the fourth through tenth chapters
of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design.

Course Syllabus

Price: $79.00

7 Hour Financial Responsibilities: Effective Business Strategies (video)

This course provides new and growing business owners with a solid foundation in effective financial management.  Learn how to keep accurate records, understand basic accounting principles and manage bookkeeping and data through the use of computers.

Course Syllabus

Price: $79.00

8 Hour Marketing for Contractors (video)

Marketing is an essential part of running a successful business. This video course shares dozens of ideas to help you increase your business year round.

Course Syllabus

Price: $89.00

Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors

NOTICE! A Tennessee contractor’s license is required BEFORE bidding or offering a price, for projects $25,000 and up (includes materials and labor), as a prime (general) contractor; and many subcontractors. Reciprocal agreements do NOT allow using another state’s license in Tennessee.

A Contractor’s license is assigned a monetary limit and also a classification, such as: Building (Residential, Commercial and Industrial); Electrical; Mechanical (Plumbing and HVAC); Heavy Construction; Highway, Railroad & Airport; Masonry; Municipal Utility; Environmental; and Specialties (landscaping, excavation, roofing, cell towers, solar panels, audio visual, etc.,). Contractor’s must bid/contract in the exact name as licensed.



Who takes the exam?

Individuals, those acting as the Qualifying Agent (QA) for the entity obtaining the license, take the exam(s) on behalf of the business and they may be an owner, officer, or full time employee. The QA(s) must register with PSI to take the exam. PSI has testing centers all over, including throughout Tennessee, as well as in other states. Walk-ins are not allowed and you must schedule an appointment ahead of time, but exams are offered daily. Scores are given upon completing the exam, so you know right away whether you passed. The same person taking the Business and Law is not required to take the trade exam and more than one person may take the exams for the company. 

(PSI Examination Services is the official testing agency for the Tennessee exam. Their website is and their phone number is 1-800-733-9267. Tests are given weekly in Chattanooga, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville you must schedule an appointment. Any passing test score is valid for a period of 3 years from the date it was passed. It is required to have proof of insurance, workers’ compensation, and general liability in the minimum amount of $100,000.)

What exams are required?

There are two types of exams:

  • Business and Law – $55
  • Trade Exams (for various license classifications) – $55

The following is a list of trade exams for contractors (building, electrical and mechanical) offered and includes combined exams:

  • Residential (BC-A)
  • Commercial (BC-B)
  • Industrial (BC-C)
  • Res/Com/Ind (BC)
  • Res/SmCom (BC-A,b(sm) – (Projects less than $750,000)
  • Com/Ind (BC-B,C)
  • Electrical (CE)
  • *Full Mechanical -Plumbing & HVAC (CMC) Must be pre-approved
  • *Plumbing (CMC-A) – Must be pre-approved
  • HVAC (CMC-C)
  • **Fire Sprinkler (CMC-D)
  • Licensed Masonry Contractor (LMC) – Projects $100,000 or more

Examples for trade exams needed for classifications:

  • Build residential houses only, take the BC-A exam.
  • Construction Manager is required to take the full BC exam.
  • Residential, commercial and industrial building, take the BC exam. (NOTE: Do not take the BC exam unless you can show experience on your application or may be limited to specific class.)
  • Build homes and commercial projects, (such as a doctor’s office, less than $750,000), need the BC-A and BC- b(sm) exams OR may take the combined BC-A,b(sm).
  • Commercial building in excess of $750,000, BC-B exam.
  • A BC-B or BC is needed to build a water/sewer plants or to get a MU classification.
  • Communication/cell towers; no trade exam.



Who must prepare the financial statement?

The law requires a Reviewed or Audited financial statement which must be prepared by a licensed independent firm. There is no exception!

Contact a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or a Licensed Public Accountant who is actively licensed to prepare a “Reviewed” or “Audited” financial statement. They may be licensed in the state where the business operates. In Tennessee, you may check with the Tennessee Board of Accountancy to perform a License Search to verify if they are properly licensed as both a firm and individually, to perform an audit or review.

What type of financial statement is required?

The CPA must prepare a *current financial statement with a:

  • **Reviewed opinion (required for a monetary limit of $1,500,000 or less); or
  • ***Audited opinion (required for a monetary limit exceeding $1,500,000); and based on
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
  • *Current is considered less than 12 months

**At renewal time, a “Review” would not be required; may supply an in-house financial statement or “Compiled”

***At renewal time, an “Audit” would not be required and a “Reviewed” would be acceptable

General Information on Financial Statements

  • Compiled financial statements are NOT acceptable for the entity obtaining a new license.
  • Financial statements prepared on an income tax basis are NOT acceptable.
  • Contractor licenses are issued according to the legal NAME appearing on the financial statement and the name should match on ALL related information, such as the Charter, Articles of Organization, and Line of Credit, Contractor’s Affidavit or *Guaranty Agreement. In addition, the contractor should only operate in the name as licensed. If the entity obtaining the license is a subsidiary, an in-house statement may be supplied with the parent’s audit and guaranty agreement.
  • Guaranty Agreement is required with a cash only financial statement and when it’s not an operating statement. The Guaranty must include a personal financial statement from the owner(s) or the parent company guarantying the entity.
  • The Board may require a Guaranty with personal financial statements if the working capital is mainly accounts receivable (may supply an update showing the receivables have been collected).

*A Bond in the Board’s format may be supplied in lieu of the Guaranty Agreement, in the amount of $500,000; or $1,000,000 for an Unlimited monetary limits.

Why is a financial statement needed?

Every contractor is assigned a monetary limit on their license, as to the size of project they wish to contract or bid. This limit must cover the total project and it cannot be split into phases of smaller contracts to circumvent the law. The total contract should include materials, labor, and profit. For example, if a residential contractor is building a house for a consumer, on their land, the land would not be part of the contract. However, if the contractor is not building on the consumer’s land, then it would be part of the total contract price; could not be split into two contracts, one for land and one for the house. In addition, there is not a limit on the amount of single projects ongoing. A contractor with a $200,000 limit may construct as many of these homes as long as each one does not exceed the limit. A contractor is allowed a 10% tolerance, unless they have a BC-A/r classification (residential restricted limited license).

Monetary Limit Determination

1. Inform your accountant of the size license you need.

o For example, if you plan to contract homes no more than $150,000 per contract, your CPA can help determine if your financial statement meets the criteria.

2. Monetary limits are based 10 times the lesser of both working capital and net worth (plus experience).

o In order to hold a license with a limit of $150,000, you would need to show working capital and net worth of at least $15,000, as well as experience for this amount.

o Since the limit is based on the lesser of the two, a contractor with a working capital of $10,000 and net worth of $200,000 would qualify monetarily for a limit of $100,000.

• The contractor could supplement their reviewed for audited financial statement with a “Line of Credit” (on the Board’s format) in the amount of $5,000 to increase working capital; or

• Submit a personal or parent company financial statement with a *”Guaranty Agreement”.

o Personal supplemental financial statements may be prepared by the contractor, in addition to the required review or audit.

3. The Board may limit the monetary license limit based on prior experience. Be sure to list all experience of owners and officers.

4. If the working capital is mainly uncollected accounts receivable, the Board may not utilize the full amount.

*A Bond in the Board’s format may be supplied in lieu of the Guaranty Agreement, in the amount of $500,000; or $1,000,000 for an Unlimited monetary limits. (At renewal time, the Guaranty Agreement or Bond may be removed by making a request to the Board and providing an updated financial statement meeting the requirements, to replace it.)

Unlimited License Limit

To obtain an unlimited monetary limit on a license, the contractor must show $300,000 in both, working capital and net worth, as well as experience, with an audited financial statement. At renewal time, a contractor may supply a “Reviewed” financial statement for unlimited.

Working Capital and Net Worth

Please ask your CPA/LPA to determine the amount of your working capital and net worth to ensure you qualify for the limit requested. Please take in consideration of experience and whether the majority is uncollected receivables. Working capital is current assets minus current liabilities. Net worth is total assets minus total liabilities.

Monetary Limit

The monetary limit is the total dollar amount per each individual contract or project. A contractor cannot split a contract into phases to work within their limit, however, a 10% tolerance is allowed. A contractor with a monetary limit of $150,000 may contract up to $165,000 without being in violation (see Rule 0680-01-.13). In addition, there is no limit of the number of projects a contractor may perform, as long as a project has not been split into phases to circumvent the law.

Line of Credit

A Line of Credit (LOC) [pdf] in the Board’s exact format, may be considered to supplement working capital. (The Line of Credit must be in the same name as on financial statement, and must be in the EXACT format or it will not be acceptable.)



Letter of Reference

Submit the “Letter of Reference” from the application and have it completed by a past client or employer who may comment about your construction work/experience OR a code official who has inspected your work. Only one reference letter is necessary.

Proof of insurance

General Liability is required based upon the monetary limit of a contractor. Workers’ Compensation insurance is required or you may supply proof of exemption.



  • Tennessee corporations must submit a copy of their Charter and proof showing they have registered with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office.
  • Out-of State corporations must register as a foreign corporation and submit a copy of their Charter, along with a copy of their Certificate of Authority showing they have registered their charter (we may accept a copy of their application stamped “FILED” from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office in order to meet the 20th deadline).
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLC) must submit a copy of their Articles of Organization, and proof showing they have registered/filed with Tennessee Secretary of State, including out of state entities.
  • Limited Partnerships must register with the Secretary of State.
  • Exemption Registry for Workers’ Compensation as a “Construction Services Provider” requires registration with another section of the Secretary of State’s office.

Name on License

Make sure your entity is filed in the same name as the financial statement. The contractor’s license is issued in the legal name and mode of operation exactly as on the financial statement. Bidding and contracts must be in the exact name as licensed, as well.

DBA (Doing Business As)

If your entity is in a name with a “DBA”, this will need to be included on the certificate obtained from the Secretary of State and on the financial statement, exactly as on the form. For example, if the entity is wanting to go by, “John Doe DBA Doe’s Quality Construction, LLC”, this whole name must be on ALL documents; contracts must be in the name as licensed and could not be prepared as “Doe’s Quality Construction, LLC” or “John Doe”.)



Complete the synopsis, experience and affidavit pages of the“Contractor’s License Application”.  Make sure all questions on the application are complete. If you feel any questions do not apply, please write an explanation; do not leave anything blank! Be sure to list experience from working with other companies, as well as that of other owner(s) or officers.

Please list information from other licenses, such as, if this is a second or additional license; or if you were a qualifying agent or officer listed on a license. Disclosure of a felony, judgements, or complaints is also required. Failing to disclose, could delay the issuance of the license for submitting false information.

Contractor’s Affidavit

Be sure the affidavit is signed and notarized by all applicable individuals (qualifying agent, owner(s), partners, members, main officers and major stockholders). All blocks must be checked. Attach an explanation where applicable. If you have complaints, convictions or have bid where a license is required, you will be required to interview with the Board. Supplying false information is grounds for having a license denied.



Once the entire application is complete, submit with the $250.00 nonrefundable application fee (may be a company, personal or cashier’s check (no cash or credit cards) payable to: Contractor’s Board. Attach check to the application cover and mail to the following address:

Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243-1150
Phone: 615-741-2241  or (800) 544-7693

If you are mailing your application via regular U.S. Postal Services, please allow 5 to 7 business days for our receipt; overnight mail takes two (2) days for our receipt from the “Cashier’s Office/Mail Room”. It may be in your best interest to send express or certified mail for tracking purposes since it includes sensitive information. Always make a complete copy for your records! A letter notifying receipt will be sent to all applicants, however, these are also listed on the website within a week, as “Application in Process” at the “License Search” should you want to confirm delivery. (Do NOT contract prior to being approved by the Board.)

Application Deadline

The application is due on the 20th of the month before the Board meets. The application must be received in the office by deadline date (not postmarked).


Please allow approximately three (3) weeks for processing of your application before making telephone inquiries! Due to limited staff, telephone inquiries delay processing applications. The “New Applications” staff will notify you by mail, email and/or fax of the time, date and location of the Board if an interview is required or should additional information be needed.

Do NOT contract, bid or offer to engage before obtaining the license! Doing so could prevent being awarded the contract and license held for six (6) months. See T.C.A. 62-6-120.



Board Interview

An interview may be required with a Board member at the regularly scheduled meeting (see “Calendar” for meeting dates) for those not meeting the criteria to have the interview waived (see “Waiver of Interview” below).

Those who are obtaining a restricted residential (BC-A/r) must interview; those with not enough experience provided on the application (3 years); those with felony convictions; and those with complaints are also not waived. These applicants will receive a letter notifying an interview is required.



The staff will process your license to be issued after approval by the Board meeting. You will be mailed a license certificate which will have your license ID number, classification, expiration date (this is the same information required to be on the outside of a bid envelope!) and also your license monetary limit. You may check the status of the license issuance at: License Search. For tips on searching licenses, see “License Search Tips”.

The license is issued for two years. Renewals are mailed 90 days prior to expiration date; required to be renewed 30 days prior to expiration.

Contractors may apply for a license revision in order to make changes. Such as, change the mode of operation; increase their licensed monetary limit; add a classification; add or remove their Qualifying Agent; or may retire the license if they are not working and want to cancel insurance. This information is availalbe on the “Forms Download” section on the web.


Due to changing laws, please review the state website for updates.

Source: Excerpted from Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors


How long does it take to complete the course?

  • The Tennessee Contractor License Exam courses take approximately 8 hours each, but we move rapidly through the materials.  For a thorough review, you may want to allow twice that amount of time.
  • The NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor Course should take at least 24-30 hours.

Once you register, you have up to 6 months before your course is deactivated.  If you need longer, just give us a call and we can arrange an extension.


Is contractor continued education required in Tennessee?


Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor license accepted in Tennessee? 


When you pass the NASCLA Accredited Examination for Commercial General Building Contractors, you will be listed in the NASCLA National Examination Database. You will then have this information available for the following states which accept this NASCLA Accredited Examination: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisianna, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Information is continually added and updated.  Please check back.


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