How to get a contractor's license.

Click on the abbreviation for any state in the map to see information about getting licensed in that state. Holding a license in one state usually doesn’t grant the right to do construction work in another state. Exceptions are noted in the list of license requirements for each state.

The penalty for accepting any significant work without a license is usually a fine. An unlicensed contractor may not have the right to sue to collect what's due under a construction contract.

Most states require license applicants to take a written examination on construction law, business organization and the skills of their occupation. Applicants may have to prove financial ability to operate a contracting business. Letters of reference from previous employers, customers, bankers, architects or engineers may be required. Many states also require proof of on-the-job experience.

This Web site is designed to provide everything you need to know to apply for a contractor's license or construction tradesman's license anywhere in the U.S. – including who to contact, Web addresses, phone and fax numbers, application fees, examination content and reference manuals recommended for the license examination.

Nearly all states have basic requirements for applicants. We don’t list these basic requirements under state names because they’re the same or very similar in all states:

Other issues to consider before beginning work in any community: