Congratulations! You have chosen to make an excellent career move by getting your North Carolina contractor’s license.

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North Carolina is receiving a lot of positive publicity regarding its beauty and affordability, and most of all the number of people moving into the state continues to increase. Retirees find North Carolina to be a very desirable place to relocate. With the number of baby boomers moving into the state, the housing and home improvement markets are expecting record growth. It’s time to get licensed and reap the benefits. The related article expresses the realized and anticipated growth in the state of North Carolina.

Do I need a North Carolina builders license?

According to the North Carolina Code, you must have a General Contractors license to work on projects costing more than $30,000. If the cost of the project is less than $30,000 or if the building is the owner's personal residence, a license is not required.

Obtaining your North Carolina Builders License will enable you to charge customers and be compensated for your work.

How to acquire your North Carolina Contractors License

The following are the requirements to obtain your North Carolina Residential Builder or Building Contractors license:

  •   Complete a General Contractors License application. Applications can be obtained from:

North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors
P. O. Box 17187
Raleigh, NC 27619
(919) 571-4183
Fax: (919) 571-4703
http://www.nclbgc.org

  • Submit the General Contractors License application and supporting documents to the North Carolina Board for General Contractors. Applications must be received 30 days prior to any regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. The license fees for the various types of licenses are listed below:
    • An unlimited license permits you to act as general contractor without restriction as to the value of the project. You must also have $150,000 of working capital to apply for this license.
    • An intermediate license permits you to act as the general contractor for any project valued up to $700,000. You must also have $75,000 of working capital to apply for this license.
    • A limited license permits you to act as the general contractor on any project valued up to $350,000. You must also have $17,000 in working capital to apply for this license.
  • *NOTE - If you cannot prove the required level of working capital, an applicant may obtain a surety bond.
  • Successfully complete the NC contractors license exam that measures your knowledge of the profession. Once your application has been approved by the Board, you will be sent an Examination Eligibility Letter, along with instructions for registering and scheduling the examination.

One of the most important steps in obtaining your North Carolina Contractor License is preparing to take the contractors test. Our contractors exam preparation Online Course will help you accomplish this task in the most efficient way possible. By practicing all of the possible questions in the Online Course, you will be prepared for any combination of questions that you may be given on your contractors license exam. In addition, studying our Online Course helps you become familiar with computer generated tests and greatly reduces your anxiety on the day of your contractor exam since you prepared using a computer based testing (CBT) format.

The next step is registering to take the NC contractors license exam. This can be done as soon as you receive your Examination Eligibility Letter from the Board. The State of North Carolina uses PSI Examination Services to administer the builders test. There are 4 ways to register for the North Carolina General Contractors Exam:

  1. Internet - Log onto www.psiexams.com and complete the online test registration form. Once you complete the form you will be given a list of available dates to schedule your contractors license exam.
  2. FAX - Complete the Examination Registration Form and fax it to (702) 932-2666. Please allow 4 business days to process your registration.
  3. Standard Mail - Complete the Examination Registration Form in the Candidate Information Bulletin. Return the completed original form to PSI with the appropriate examination fee.
  4. Telephone - Call PSI at (800) 733-9267, 24 hours a day and schedule using the Automated Registration System or between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. Monday through Friday ET and Saturday between 11:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. to schedule an appointment for the contractors license test with a registrar.

North Carolina builders license exams are given at the following locations:

  • Asheville, NC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Greenville, NC
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Fayetteville, NC
  • Wilmington, NC
  • Winston-Salem, NC

Included with the Online Course is the Candidate Information Bulletin which outlines the topics covered on the General Contractors Exam. Complete instructions for taking the North Carolina construction license exam and directions to the testing centers are also provided.

Taking the NC Contractors License Exam

You have studied diligently and are ready to take the contractors license exam. You can arrive with confidence knowing that you are prepared for whatever questions may appear on the test. It is recommended that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time. You must present two (2) valid forms of identification when you arrive at the testing center. One of the ID's must have a photograph and your signature. A driver's license will satisfy this requirement. The name on the application must exactly match the name on the photo ID used to check in for the builders test. In addition, you should bring a non-programmable calculator. Our Online Course will prepare you for the following 2 exams:

Building Contractor Exam - There are 90 questions on the Building Contractor exam and you must answer at least 63 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 70%. You are allowed 3 hours to complete the exam.

Residential Builder Exam - There are 90 questions on the Residential Builder exam and you must answer at least 63 questions correctly in order to pass. The minimum passing score is 70%. You are allowed 3 1/2 hours to complete the exam.

After you have completed the test, your score will immediately be displayed on the computer screen and a printed copy of your results will be given to you.

Obtaining Your North Carolina Contractors License

Once you have successfully passed the North Carolina builders license exam, your test results will be sent to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. The Board will then issue your license to practice as a General Contractor in the State of North Carolina.

Traps to avoid

It is a common misconception that since the builder exam is open book, it is not difficult to pass. In actuality the North Carolina construction license exam is more difficult to pass than similar closed book exams due to the fact that you have books available as a resource during the contractor exam. You are permitted to bring certain reference materials into the builder test. The reference materials may be highlighted, underlined, or indexed to assist you in finding information quickly. The books may not be written in and may not contain any additional papers. (Do not use sticky notes or Post Its to index your books because they are not permitted and you will be asked to remove them at the test center.) You are required to bring your own reference materials because they are not available at the testing center. We recommend purchasing the following reference books and using them together with our Online Course to give you the greatest chance of passing the builders license test the first time. The following books and references are allowed into the North Carolina contractors license exam:

  • Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management - North Carolina Contractors Edition
  • North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Construction Industry
  • North Carolina State Building Code, General Construction, 2006. (Only needed if you are taking the Building Contractor Exam)
  • North Carolina State Residential One and Two Family Dwelling Code, 2006. (Only needed if you are taking the Residential Builder Exam)
  • North Carolina State Administration and Enforcement Requirements Code
  • North Carolina State Building Code - Accessibility Code (Only needed if you are taking the Building Contractor Exam)

If you forget the answer to a question during the North Carolina construction license exam, having these reference books will allow you to quickly find the answer and complete the builder exam within the time allowed. Going into the construction exam with your toolbox filled with all of the resources available will give you the greatest chance of success. In construction the saying, “Do it right the first time” is often heard. We believe it also applies to getting your Residential Builder or Building Contractor license.