The State of Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs notes that since the 1980s, Florida receives an average of 873 new residents per day. With an ever-growing number of new residents, and a home improvement market that continues to experience record growths, now has never been a better time to become a licensed general contractor in the State of Florida.
In the State of Florida general contractors require licensure in order to alter, repair, remodel, demolish, add-on, subtract or improve the structure of a building. A Florida general contractor’s license is also known as a Division 1 License.
General contractor licenses are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The DBPR’s Construction Industry Licensing Board is responsible for regulating, issuing and renewing licenses in the State of Florida. The board is composed of 18 members, including 4 general contractors. They meet regularly to review and determine the status of licensing applications.
Process to Obtain a General Contractor License in Florida
- Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
- Applicant must have 4 years of education or work experience. A combination of education and work experience is also acceptable. At least 1 year of work experience must be as a supervisor or foreman.
- Apply to take the general contractor licensing exam.
- Pass all portions of the general licensing exam with a minimum score of 70% for each section.
- Fill out an Initial Issuance of Licensure application for either a certified or registered contractor’s license, depending on the type of license needed.
- Submit the application, and all requested documentation, to the DBPR.
- Submit proof of having general liability and worker’s compensation insurance within 30 days of receiving license.
Types of General Contractor Licenses in the State of Florida
There are two types of general contractor licenses in the state of Florida:
- REGISTERED License – A registered general contractor’s license limits the contractor to operating within one locale or jurisdiction. In order to operate outside that jurisdiction, the contractors are required to complete further competency requirements.
- CERTIFIED License – A certified general contractor’s license allows contractors to operate and obtain work throughout the State of Florida.
Work Experience and Education
In order to qualify to take the general contractor licensing exam, applicants must have one of the following:
- 4 years of Engineering, Architecture or Building and Construction education at an accredited institution, plus 1 year of field experience, or
- 4 years in an apprentice or training program, or
- 4 years of general contracting experience.
When completing 4 years of work experience, at least 1 year must be as a supervisor or foreman.
Applicants can also qualify to take the exam with a combination of education and work experiences. For example, applicants will qualify for the exam with:
- 1 year of work experience as a foreman and 3 years of construction education credits, or
- 1 year as a general worker, 1 year as a foreman and 2 years of construction education credits, or
- 2 years as a general worker, 1 year as a foreman and 1 year of construction education credits.
Important Note: Construction education credits are only considered valid when obtained from an accredited institution or program.
Applying to Take the Examination
Upon reaching the requirements for education and work experience, applicants must register to take the general contractor licensing exam. The general contractor licensing exam is developed by the DBPR’s Bureau of Education and Testing. Exams are administered through Professional Testing Inc.
Exams are administered bimonthly, during the months of February, April, June, August, October and December. There are three testing centers in the State of Florida, in Orlando/Kissimmee, Tallahassee and Tampa. Upon registering for the exam, applicants are given a first and second preference for their exam location.
Allow plenty of time to study and prepare for the exam before applying. Reference and study materials are available online. Applicants may also benefit from enrolling in an online course as part of their general contractor test preparation.
In order to register for the exam, applicants must fill out and submit the Florida Construction Examination Scheduling Form, along with the exam fee, at least 30 days before the application deadline. Application deadlines are dependent on the month in which the applicant wants to take the exam. It is recommended that applicants submit exam registration applications well before the 30 day mark, as the exams fill up quickly.
Applicants can register and apply for the exam one of three ways:
- Online – go to Professional Testing Homepage and click on the ‘Examination Programs’ tab, then click the link to the ‘Construction Industry Licensing Board Examinations’
- Download the applications. Mail the completed registration application and exam fees to:
Professional Testing Inc.
State of Florida Construction Program
P.O. Box 532018
Orlando, FL 32853-2018
- Download and fax the completed applications to Professional Testing Inc. at (407) 264- 2977
Important Note: Follow all directions for filling out the application. Fill out the form in its entirety and double-check everything to ensure nothing is missing before submitting the application.
The examination is composed of 3 test sections:
|Name of Section||Number of Questions on Test / Minimum Passing Score|
|Business and Finance||80 / 56|
|Construction Administration||60 / 42|
|Project Management||60 / 42|
In order to apply for a general contractor’s license, applicants must pass all 3 sections of the exam with a score of at least 70%. Applicants are informed of their score upon completion of the exam before they leave the testing center.
As of November 2011, the Construction Industry Licensing Board has extended the time allotted to pass each section of the examination. Applicants will have 4 years from their original exam date to pass each test section. During the 4-year period, applicants are allowed an unlimited number of retakes. Applicants must reapply and pay applicable examination fees for each subsequent exam retake.
Submit exam fees along with the exam registration application. Acceptable forms of payment include check, money order, cashier’s check or credit card. Applicants are required to make two payments, one to Professional Testing Inc. for $135 and another to the DBPR for $80. The payment can be combined into one payment of $215 when paying by credit card.
A third payment of $80 is also required to cover the cost of the Business and Finance test, which is a computer based test. After submitting the exam registration application, Pearson VUE will send instructions for how to schedule the business and finance exam, in addition to instructions for how to make the payment.
After submitting the Florida Construction Examination Scheduling Form and examination fees, Professional Testing Inc. will send an admission slip with further information, including the date and time of their examination.
Be sure to bring the admission slip along with proper identification to the testing center on the date of the exam. PTI also recommends that examinees bring a ruler and calculator with them to the exam.
Within 6 months of passing the exam, applicants must also undergo a background check and fingerprinting. The DBPR only accepts fingerprints obtained through Livescan Device Vendors. For further information concerning fingerprinting, go here and click on ‘Fingerprint FAQs’. Ensure that fingerprints are filed before submitting the Issuance of Licensure Application.
Submitting an Issuance of Licensure Application
Upon passing all three sections of the general contractor, or Division 1 exam, it is time to apply for an Issuance of Licensure for either a certified or registered contractor. Download a printable application packet online.
Read all directions and sections in the application packet. Follow the application checklist, which breaks down all the required fees and supporting documents to submit a completed application.
Licensing fees vary for a Florida general contractor license, depending on the year in which the applicant is applying and when the exams were passed. The DBPR accepts payment in the form of check or money order, made payable to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Certified General Contractors
|Licensing Fee||Application Date|
|$409||If exam was passed before Jan ’09 and the licensing application is submitted between May 1st of an Even Year and August 31st of an Odd Year|
|$309||If exam was passed before Jan ’09 and the licensing application is submitted between September 1st of an Odd Year and April 31st of an Even Year|
|$249||If exam was passed after Jan ’09 and the licensing application is submitted between May 1st of an Even Year and August 31st of an Odd Year|
|$149||If exam was passed after Jan ’09 and the licensing application is submitted between September 1st of an Odd Year and April 31st of an Even Year.|
Registered General Contractors
|Licensing Fee||Application Date|
|$309||When applying for a license between May 1st of an Odd Year and August 31st of an Even Year|
|$209||When applying for a license between September 1st of an Even Year and April 30th of an Odd Year|
Important Note: The postmark date on the application sets the bar for the fee amount.
The DBPR requires that applicants send supporting documents along with the general contractor licensing application. Supporting documents for both certified and registered contractors include:
- A full credit report from a major credit reporting agency. It is important that the credit report include records from the local, state and federal levels.
- Proof that any liens or judgments, such as filing for bankruptcy, have been cleared up or discharged.
- Letter of verification from the bank if applicant indicates that they have cash in the bank on the financial portion of the application.
Fill out the application in its entirety, including the financial and experience sections. Ensure that all information provided on the application is verifiable and truthful.
Page 4 of the certified general contractor application includes a section in which the applicant’s work experience must be verified by a previous employer and notarized.
For questions and further assistance in filling out the application, call the Customer Contact Center at (850) 487-1395 or email questions to email@example.com.
Submit the completed general contractor license application, along with the licensing fee to:
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783
Within 30 days of receiving their general contractor license, licensees must prove that they have general liability insurance with a minimum amount of $300,000 in bodily injury and $50,000 in property damage coverage. At this time, licensees must also prove that they have worker’s compensation coverage, unless otherwise exempt.
Florida General Contractor License Renewal
The Florida general contractor’s license is renewed every other year. Both certified and registered contractors are required to pay a renewal fee of $209. However, before the license is renewable, general contractors are required to complete 14 hours of board-approved continuing education.
Continuing education programs are managed by the Bureau of Education and Testing. As part of the 14 hours of continuing education, general contractors must include:
- 1 hour on the topic of safety on the job site
- 1 hour on the topic of worker’s compensation
- 1 hour on the topic of business practices
- 1 hour on the topic of laws and regulations
- 1 hour on Florida Building Code and advanced modules
For continuing education services and queries, contact Continuing Education Correspondence at (850) 921- 8582.
To renew your Florida general contractor’s license, go to the DBPR website and follow the directions for creating an online account.
Table of Fees
|Fee||What is it For?||What is it Due?|
|$135||Examination Fee for Professional Testing Inc.||When submitting the application to register for the exam|
|$80||Examination Fee for the DBPR||When submitting the application to register for the exam|
|$80||Business and Finance Computer-Based Testing Fee||After receiving scheduling instructions from Pearson VUE|
|$149-$409*||General Contractor Licensing Fee||When submitting the Issuance of License application for a certified or registered contractor|
|$209||License Renewal Fee||Every other year, when renewing a general contractor’s license|
*Depends on exam completion and application date