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So you want to learn how to become a licensed contractor… Well, you’ve come to the right place.

The General Contractor License Center has been set up to help you navigate state regulations and obtain your license.

General contractor license regulations vary greatly from state to state. Some states have an exhaustive process, requiring financial disclosures, testing and more. Some states simply require registering your business. And many states defer regulation to county and municipal governments. Select your state from the map below to learn how to become a licensed contractor and quickly get started.

General Contractors

Being a general contractor covers a lot of responsibilities and possiblities. They are responsible for getting required permits, coordinating schedules and payment of subcontractors, ensuring building materials are available on site, working out design issues with the project architect or engineer, and generally keeping the project on schedule.

Many general contractors and general contracting companies provide all or a portion of the services required for the project’s construction.

Before awarding a project to a contractor, the owner will put the project out for bid. Bidding projects is an important skill that a general contractors must possess- bid a project too low and there’s no profit, bid a project too high, and the owner will award it to someone else.

Residential General Contractors

General contractors also work on smaller projects. These can range from repair projects to home building. Completing smaller projects requires expertise from many trades: plumbling, electrical, framing etc. Just like the larger scale projects, the general contractor may subcontract all or a portion of these tasks as time and budgeting allow.

General Contractor Licensing

Due to the many fields of knowledge required to be a successful and competent general contractor, licensing is regulated in many US States. The definition and licensing requirements of a general contractor vary across the nation. Some states, such as California and North Carolina, have very strict requirements for a license. Other states, such as New York and Texas allow county and municipal governments to regulate general contractors and their projects.

To learn more about how to become a licensed contractor in your area, choose your state from the list below:

List of States:


Many states with licensing requirements have reciprocity agreements with neighboring states. These agreements expedite the process for a contractor licensed in one state to get a license in another state. Not all states with licensing requirements have these agreements in place.

The General Contractor License Center is in the process of researching and publishing the reciprocity agreements that are in place across the US. Choose you state from the list in the right column to learn more about the licensing and reciprocity regulations in place for the state you would like to get your license from.