Frequently Asked Questions
General Licensing Questions
Who needs a Tennessee Contractor license?
- Contractor: Projects over $25,000
- Home Improvement: Projects from $3,000-$24,999 (Based on County)
- LLE-Limited License Electrician: Jobs less than $25,000 (Based on Municipality)
- LLP-Limited License Plumber: Jobs less than $25,000 (Based on Municipality)
- HVAC: Projects less than $25,000 (Check with Local Government, LLE may be required)
Are subcontractors required to be licensed?
A contractor’s license is also required by many subcontractors. A subcontractor must be a licensed contractor when:
- Performing electrical, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical; when the cost is $25,000 or more
- Performing masonry work where the total cost is $100,000 or more
Those bidding directly to the owner are considered “prime” contractors and required to obtain a license for projects $25,000 and more. This includes those bidding directly to a homeowner who are overseeing the building of their own house and obtained the permit.
What are the steps to applying for a Tennessee Contractor license?
License applications are due by the 20th of the month before the Board meets.
- Take and pass the required license exam
- Obtain a financial statement from a CPA/PA
- Obtain a letter of reference
- Obtain proof of insurance
- Organize and register your company structure (e.g. Corporation or LLC)
- Complete license application — must be notarized
- Submit application with $250.00 licensing fee
What exams are required to obtain a Tennessee contractor license?
Applicants for licensure in Tennessee must take the applicable Trades exam (dependent upon the license type being applied for) as well as the Tennessee Business & Law Management exam.
Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor exam accepted in Tennessee?
Yes! 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 the NASCLA Accredited Examination: AL, AR, GA, LA, MS, NV, NC, OR, SC, TN, UT, US Virgin Islands, VA, and WV. You may also need to take each states’ specific business/law/project management exam in addition to the NASCLA exam.
What are the fees for contractor exams in Tennessee?
- One portion: $57.00
- Two portions: $114.00
The NASCLA exam is separate and has a fee of $106.00
What is the NASCLA Accredited Examination Program?
The NASCLA Accredited Examination Program is designed to help participating states by providing one trades licensing examination that is accepted by all participating jurisdictions.
The NASCLA Accredited Examination Program is NOT a nationally recognized license. Contractors will still have to meet additional state licensure requirements within each participating state to obtain their licenses.
Why take the NASCLA Accredited Exam?
The NASCLA Accredited exam benefits contractors who need licenses in multiple states. If your business will expand into any of the participating states, you will save time and money by passing the NASCLA exam.
By passing the NASCLA exam, you will avoid having to take multiple trades exams in other states. You will still need to pass a Business & Law exam in each of the States (except Arkansas). Arkansas will accept the NASCLA Accredited exam as both the Trades and Business/Law.
What states is the NASCLA exam accepted in?
The NASCLA exam is accepted in AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, NV, OR, SC, TN, UT, US Virgin Islands, VA, & WV. For your convenience, we have included links below to our FAQ pages for each of these states to help you find further information.
- Alabama Builder FAQs
- Arizona Contractor FAQs
- Arkansas Contractor FAQs
- Florida Contractor FAQs
- Georgia Contractor FAQs
- Louisiana Contractor FAQs
- Mississippi Contractor FAQs
- Nevada Contractor FAQs
- North Carolina Contractor FAQs
- Oregon Contractor FAQs
- South Carolina Contractor FAQs
- Tennessee Contractor FAQs
- Utah Contractor FAQs
- Virginia Contractor FAQs
- West Virginia Contractor FAQS
Do I have to be approved to take the NASCLA exam?
Yes. Effective November 1, 2016, applicants must get pre-approval from the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) to take the NASCLA exam.
Applicants can apply for approval online at ned.nascla.org. Once approved, the individual’s name will be forwarded from NASCLA to PSI. PSI will then send the applicant an email with information about how to schedule their exam.
What books can I bring to the NASCLA exam?
All of these books can be found in our book store. Click Here to take a look!
- ICC A117.1 - 2017 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities
- BCSI: Guide to Good Practice for Handling, Installing, Restraining, and Bracing of Metal Plate Connected Wood Trusses, 2013 or 2018 Edition
- Carpentry and Building Construction, 2016 Edition
- Code of Federal Regulations -29 CFR Part 1926 (OSHA), with latest available amendments
- Construction Jobsite Management, 4th Edition, 2017
- Construction Project Management, 4th Edition, 2014
- NASCLA Contractors' Guide to Business, Law and Project Management, Basic, 12th or 13th Edition
- Erectors' Manual - Standards and Guidelines for the Erection of Pre-Cast Concrete Products, 2nd Edition, 1999
- Green Building Fundamentals, 2nd Edition, 2011
- Gypsum Construction Handbook, 7th Edition, 2014
- Technical Digest No. 9 –Handling and Erection of Steel Joists and Joist Girders, 3rd Edition, 2008
- International Building Code, 2015 or 2018 Edition
- ACI 318-14 (2014): Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete and Commentary
- Training and Certification of Field Personnel for Unbonded Post-Tensioning -Level 1 Field Fundamentals, 3rd Edition, 2003
- Modern Masonry - Brick, Block, Stone, 8th Edition, 2015
- Pipe and Excavation Contracting, 2011 Edition
- Principles and Practices of Commercial Construction, 9th Edition, 2014
- Roofing Construction and Estimating, 1995 Edition
- Placing Reinforcing Bars, Recommended Practices, 2011
- SDI (Steel Deck Institute) Manual of Construction with Steel Deck, 3rd Edition, 2016
- The Contractor's Guide to Quality Concrete Construction, 4th Edition, 2018
For more information, view the PSI Candidate Bulletin
Can I write in my reference books and still bring them to the exam?
References may be highlighted, underlined, and/or indexed (tabbed with permanent stick tabs), however they may NOT otherwise be written in or marked in any way. Temporary tabs, such as Post-It notes, are not allowed and must be removed from the reference before the exam will begin.
What subject areas will be covered on the NASCLA Accredited Exam?
There are 115 questions and you must get 81 answers correct. You will have 330 minutes to complete the exam. The subjects covered in the exam are listed below, however, the questions are taken at random from a large pool of questions making sure that all contractors are taking a different exam.
Subject Areas and # of Questions:
- General Requirements: 25 questions
- Site Construction: 15 questions
- Concrete: 6 questions
- Masonry: 4 questions
- Metals: 6 questions
- Wood: 5 questions
- Thermal and Moisture Protection: 5 questions
- Doors, Windows, and Glazing: 4 questions
- Finishes: 5 questions
- Mechanical and Plumbing Systems: 6 questions
- Electrical Systems: 3 questions
- Procurement and Contracting Requirements: 31 questions
The exam is based on information found in the reference materials we have listed above as well as trade knowledge or general industry practices. Except for Code books, you may base your answers on later editions of references as they become available. For Code questions, the examinations will be based only on the edition of the Code book listed on the candidate bulletin.
Is the NASCLA exam an open book exam?
The NASCLA exam is an open book exam. All of the books listed on the candidate bulletin may be brought into and used during the exam. Books will not be provided to you at the exam center. If you are in need of books, we offer all of the references listed on the Candidate Bulletin for sale in our Bookstore, or in our complete NASCLA Prep Package.
What can I expect from the NASCLA Exam Prep course?
Our NASCLA Exam Prep course is designed to help you maximize your study time.
The remainder of the lessons are devoted to each book on the Candidate Bulletin. Each of these lessons help you get to know the layout of the books and key information that can be found within. Each book has a quiz dedicated solely to the material in that book.
Finally, you will find the practice test at the end of the course. This practice test consists of a pool of over 1,000 questions, to help you practice taking an exam as well as determine which areas you need to brush up on further.
How long does it take to complete your NASCLA Exam Prep course?
That question is almost entirely up to you!
There are 16 hours of videos, which walk you through each reference allowed in the exam. There are also over 1,000 practice questions, to help you gauge your knowledge and practice using your references in an exam-like setting.
We recommend going through the entire course at least once. After that it is up to you. Some may want to go through the whole course multiple times. You might also find yourself taking note of particular topics you would like to devote more time to, and just going back later to study those areas.
We recommend for you to spend as much time with the course as is necessary to really get to know your reference materials, and be comfortable finding answers with the texts--this will ensure your success on the exam!
Does the NASCLA exam work for residential construction?
The following states allow NASCLA accreditation for residential contractors: AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, NV, OR, SC, TN, UT, Virgin Islands, WV.
Renew a License
How do I renew my Tennessee contractor license?
Tennessee contractors must renew their license biannually by the date of original licensure. License renewals are sent out 90 days prior to the license expiration date listed on the file. Renewals must be mailed to the board or delivered in person: online renewals are not allowed at this time.
Is continuing education required for contractors in Tennessee?
Yes – a new provision in the law requires Residential contractors licensed after January 1, 2009, with a license classification of BC-A, BC-A/r, Spec Homebuilders, or BC-A,b(sm) will be required to take 8 hours of Board-approved Residential Continuing Education (RCE) to renew their license.
The individual designated as a Qualifying Agent (QA) on the contractor’s license is the one responsible for attaining RCE on behalf of the licensed entity. For contractors with multiple qualifying agents, only one (1) will be required to obtain RCE to fulfill the license renewal requirements.
About the Courses
Once I order the course, how long before I can start?
You may begin immediately! Simply click the Login button in the upper right-hand corner on your desktop or in the upper-right menu on mobile. Once you’ve entered your login and password, you will be taken to your courses. Follow the instructions and enjoy!
Once I start an online course, will I be able to start and stop at anytime?
Our courses are available online 24/7 and you are able to log in and log out at any time during the course. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 10-15 minutes, simply log out. When you log back in, you will be able to re-enter the lesson you were last in.
How long do your continuing education courses take to complete?
Continuing education requirements vary by state. Each course lists a minimum number of credit hours required to complete the course.
How long do your exam prep courses take to complete?
Each course lists the total amount of hours for the course. However, we cover materials quickly and many contractors like to re-watch materials. In other words, this question really depends on your learning style. We recommend that you go through the course as many times as you need to be comfortable with the material and any applicable reference books. The more familiar you are with the materials, the better you will do on your exam!
How long do I have the courses?
We allow up to 6 months for you to complete the courses. During the six months you have unlimited, 24/7 access. If you need additional time, please contact our offices to arrange an extension (please note: a fee may apply).
Are there tests in the courses?
This varies depending on whether the course is continuing education or exam prep.
There are no quizzes for continuing education courses in Michigan. All other states with continuing education require quizzes to check completion progress.
In exam prep courses there will be a short quiz at the end of each lesson and there is also a longer practice test at the end of each course. These quizzes and tests will help you practice taking an exam and identify areas you may wish to study more.
If I fail a practice test, do I have to take it again?
Practice tests are just that: for practice. You will have the opportunity to retake the practice tests until you do pass. The practice tests are there to help you get used to the process of using your reference materials and finding the correct answers during an exam. If you don’t pass on the first try, take the time to note what sections of the material you need to review.
Once I complete a course, can I still go back and review the lessons and quizzes?
You are able to review the lessons and quizzes at any time during the six months you’ll have access to the courses.
State & Testing Contact Info
Tennessee Contractors & Home Improvement Board
500 James Robertson Pkwy
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-8307 or (800) 544-7693
Contact PSI for information regarding the Alabama General Contractors exam
3210 East Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89121