General Contractor License Requirements by State

Want to obtain a contractor license? That’s a great idea as it holds so many potentials for professional and business development.

However, interest is only the starting point. There are requirements you must meet to qualify for a license.

This article will be discussing such requirements to help you start your journey right.

Requirements For Contractor License by State

To obtain a license as a contractor, there are benchmark requirements you must meet. These include obtaining a degree in a range of construction-related fields, be experienced and have a set of skill sets. This then followed by certification or licensing. You must be at least 18, have good written and oral skills with a clean work record.

As regards the degree to be obtained, a high school diploma or the equivalent will be sufficient. A bachelor’s degree will be good. Degree fields could be in construction science, building, construction management, or civil engineering.

All states require licensing. However, the requirements might differ as we’ll soon find out.

  • State Licensing Requirements For Contractors

This section summarizes the licensing requirement for each state. Why is this necessary? Because there are not uniform licensing requirements for contractors. So, without further delay, let’s begin

1. Alabama

To become a general contractor in the state of Alabama, you must pass a trade exam in addition to a tendering of general liability insurance proof. What else? Documentation of your work experience is also necessary.

2. Alaska

The state of Alaska’s licensing for contractors is classified into three major types. These include the general contractor with residential contractor endorsement, the general contractor without residential contractor endorsement and lastly, the general contractor handyman.

3. Arizona

Arizona has a different classification of licenses. These include the general dual license contracting, the general residential contractors and the general commercial contractor licenses. To obtain any of these, you’ll need to pass a trade exam, show proof of a bond as well as proof of 4 years of experience.

4. Arkansas

The Contractors Licensing Board Issues Different Categories of Licenses. These include the restricted commercial license, commercial license, residential remodeler limited license, residential remodeler unlimited license and the residential builder’s license.

Getting any of these requires providing proof of worker’s compensation insurance and a financial statement. Others are proof of bond, passing a business and law exam, choose your specialty area and attach references.

5. California

Two types of contractor licenses are issued in the state of California. These are the general engineering contractor license and the general building contractor license. Requirements include 4 full years of experience in the particular classification you seek licensing for. Passing a business and law exam, trade exam and showing proof of a bond is necessary.

6. Colorado

There are no license requirements at the state level. However, local licensing requirements may exist. Check with your local government to find out what is applicable.

7. Connecticut

Home improvement contractors (those working on residential properties) will need to register with the state’s Department of Consumer Protection. There is no state licensing laws here.

8. Delaware

What is required of contractors here is a business license and also register with Delaware’s Division of Revenue?

9. Florida

The state of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation issues contractor licensing. These licenses are classified under general, building and residential contractors. Four years of experience (which can be included with education), and proof of financial stability is to be shown.

Other requirements include liability and worker’s compensation insurance, passing a business and law exam including a trade exam are required.

10. Georgia

T obtain licensing in the state of Georgia, you must hold the following; 4 years of work experience in construction, a 4-year university or college course in a construction-related field with one year experience. You must also present all college-level accredited courses covering four years.

11. Hawaii

Types of contractor licenses include general building contractors and general engineering contractors. To get any of these licenses, you must pass a series of exams on law, business, and trade. You must present proof of liability in addition to worker’s compensation insurance.

12. Idaho

Registration with the state of Idaho’s Construction Board is required. General contractors won’t need to be licensed as that doesn’t apply.

13. Illinois

Local licensing may apply here as there are no state licensing requirements. Get to know if such local licensing requirements apply for the locality.

14. Indiana

Contractor Licensing in the state of Indiana is done at the local level. Find out what applies to your local government.

15. Iowa

Contractors earning at least $2,000 are to register with the state’s Division of Labor. State licensing for contractors does not apply.

16. Kansas

As a general contractor in the state of Kansas, you won’t be needing any form of licensing. Local licensing may apply though.

17. Kentucky

All contractor licensing is issued at the local level in the state of Kentucky. You’ll need to clear with your local authorities before commencing a project.

18. Louisiana

The Louisiana Licensing Board for Contractors issues two types of licensing; residential and commercial licensing for contractors. Find out what applies to you.

19. Maine

There are no state licensing requirements for contractors. Nevertheless, contractors handling home improvement must provide a written contract. Local licensing laws may be applicable too.

20. Maryland

Licensing requirements for contractors in Maryland vary. Jobs such as new home construction won’t be needing a state license. Instead, you’ll need to register with the Home Builder Registration Unit which is under the Office of the Attorney General. As a general contractor, you’ll have to register at the city or county level.

Other requirements include proof of insurance, financial solvency and two years of work experience. Passing a business and law exam are also essential.

21. Massachusetts

The Office of Public Safety and Inspections issues a Construction Supervisor License. This is in addition to showing proof of three years of experience.

22. Michigan

General contractors need a Residential Builder’s license or Maintenance & Alterations Contractors license. To get any of these, you’ll have to complete a 60-hour pre-licensure course. This is followed by a test which you must pass.

23. Minnesota

As a residential remodeler, you’ll require a Residential Building Contractor license. This is issued by the Department of Labor and Industry. However, you must show proof of worker’s compensation insurance and liability. Passing a law and trade exam is also required.

24. Mississippi

Projects worth more than $50,000 will require a state license. Other requirements include passing a trade and law exam. Proof of general liability insurance must also be tendered.


The state of Missouri has no license requirements. However, some licensing requirements may apply at the local level.

26. Montana

Licensing requirements do not apply. While this is the case, you’ll have to register with the Department of Labor and Industry if you have employees.

27. Nebraska

There are no licensing requirements for contractors. However, you’ll have to register with the Department of Labor.

28. Nevada

The Nevada State Contractors Board issues licensing for contractors. Requirements include tendering proof of 4 years experience, passing a trade, business and law exams and proof of insurance, bond, and workers compensation insurance.

29. New Hampshire

There are no state licensing requirements for contractors. Nevertheless, you’ll still need to check for local licensing requirements.

30. New Jersey

State licensing does not apply to contractors. Commercial contractors will be licensed at the city or county level.

31. New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Regulation and Licensing issues licensing to contracts. Requirements include passing trade, law and business exams.

32. New York

Local governments within the state have licensing requirements. However, this is not applicable at the state level.

33. North Carolina

The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors is saddled with the task of issuing licenses. Passing an exam is a requirement to get licensed. These licenses are in multiple categories too.

34. North Dakota

Construction licenses are classified based on the scope of work covered. Proof of insurance is one of the basic requirements.

35. Ohio

General contractors require no licensing at the state level. However, this may not be the case at the local level. You’ll need to check to find out.

36. Oklahoma

There is no requirement for a state license. Check for such requirements at the local level.

37. Oregon

Types of construction licenses include residential licenses, commercial licenses, and dual residential & commercial licenses. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board issues these licenses. Requirements include a pre-licensing training followed by a test. Others include proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance.

38. Pennsylvania

There is no contractor licensing provisions at the state level. For contracts worth more than $5,000, registering with the Attorney Generals Office will be necessary.

39. Rhode Island

No licensing requirements apply. Nevertheless, you’ll need to register with the Contractor’s Registration and Licensing Board. Requirements include completing 5 hours of pre-license education plus proof of liability insurance.

40. South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Labor awards construction licenses. Requirements include proof of 2 years’ experience within the past 5 years, as well as passing law, trade and business exams.

41. South Dakota

The state of South Dakota does not require licensing. However, such licensing requirements may apply at the local level.

42. Tennessee

Contractor requirements for the state of Tennessee include passing law, business and trade exams. Additional requirements include proof of experience, insurance, and financial statement.

43. Texas

The state of Texas has no licensing requirements for contractors. However, local licensing requirements may apply at the local level.

44. Utah

The Utah Division of Occupation and Professional Licensing awards contractor licensing. You’ll need to show proof of financial responsibility, workers’ compensation insurance, and general liability in addition to two years’ experience.

45. Vermont

Vermont does not need contractor licensing. However, this may not be the case at the local level. Find out what applies to your location.

46. Virginia

The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation awards three types of licenses. These include Classes A, B, and C. These require completing a pre-license education and passing an exam.

47. Washington

There are no state licensing requirements. However, you must register with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. You must also pass an exam in addition to showing proof of a surety bond into the tune of $12,000 plus general liability insurance.

48. West Virginia

The West Virginia Division of Labor will issue a general contractor license. These consist of multiple classifications. To qualify, you’ll need to pass law, trade and business exams. Other requirements include worker’s compensation insurance and a wage bond.

49. Wisconsin

Contractors in Wisconsin need a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier license. Requirements consist of completing a 12-hour education course and passing a test. Proof of insurance is also necessary.

50. Wyoming

You won’t be needing a license as a general contractor to work in the state of Wyoming. However, you’ll have to check with your city or county for further clarification.

These are the requirements for contractor licensing. As we’ve seen, such requirements aren’t uniform. Also, several states do not need licensing. In such states, contractors will need to check for applicable local licensing requirements.