What Are the Requirements for a Construction License?
A contractor must be licensed in order to begin construction on any project. The process and requirements for acquiring a construction license vary from state to state. The following article serves as a general guide to earning a construction license. Schools offering Construction Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Requirements for Earning a Construction License
The requirements to receive a construction license are determined by each state's contractor licensing board. The board issues many kinds of license classifications, such as electrical, plumbing, flooring or concrete construction. There are also separate licenses for commercial and residential contractors.
The licensing board also outlines the rules for what work requires a contractor's license, as there are usually some exemptions. Someone performing work personally on property he or she owns, for instance, typically does not need a construction license.
In order to apply for a license, applicants need to be age 18 or older and have personal ID. They must have a certain amount of documented construction experience, or be represented by a qualified person who would have knowledge of the experience, such as an inspector, architect or homeowner.
Businesses applying for a license need to be in good standing with the state and may be required to have a certain amount of operating capital. Applicants may also be asked to take a training course before taking the licensing exam.
State Licensing Exam
After submitting an application and paying the application fee, prospective contractors can take the state board's construction license examination. Each board's website contains information about how to schedule a test and where testing centers are located.
The examination covers the laws and practices related to operating a business. Subjects include taxes, job site safety, environmental laws, building codes and OSHA guidelines. The firm administering the test supplies study guides upon request. Some states only require a business law exam for licensure, while others require additional trade exams related to specific fields.
The Contractor's Bond
Many states require licensed contractors to post a surety bond that acts as a promise that they will operate their construction business legally and responsibly. The amount of the bond varies by state and by license classification. Alternatives to the bond requirement may be available, such as a cash deposit.
After passing the exam, there is a final set of requirements for construction licensure. There is an initial licensing fee that is separate from the application fee. Contractors must submit proof of general liability insurance and worker's compensation coverage. Additionally, many states require that applicants be fingerprinted in order to receive a license.
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