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General Contractor Licensing in Florida

Florida regulates their construction industry by requiring anyone performing contracting work to hold a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

A licensed general contractor is allowed to improve, alter, remodel, repair, demolish, add-onto or subtract from buildings and structures for a profit in the State of Florida. A general contractor’s license is also known as a Division 1 license. It is issued by the DBPR Construction Industry Licensing Board.

The DBPR Construction Industry Licensing Board is composed of 18 members, including four general contractors and three residential/building contractors. They meet regularly to review and determine the status of licensing applications.

Types of General Contractor Licenses in the State of Florida

There are two types of general contractor licenses in the State of Florida:

  1. Registered Contractor License – A registered general contractor’s license limits the areas in the state that the contractor is allowed to work. If the contractor wants to perform work outside of their jurisdiction, they are required to obtain additional certification.
  2. Certified Contractor License – A certified general contractor’s license is less limiting. Certified general contractors are allowed to perform work anywhere within the State of Florida.

Obtaining a Registered Contractor License in the State of Florida

To receive a Registered Contractor’s License in the State of Florida, contractors must apply for a competency card from the DBPR in the county which they choose to work. Contractors should check the regulations and guidelines for the county where they plan to work, as the rules vary in different municipalities across the state. General contractors are only allowed to perform construction work in the county where they are registered.

The requirements for receiving a Registered Contractor License include:

  • Holding liability and property damage insurance. If the general contractor also employs workers, they must hold worker’s compensation insurance.
  • Proving financially stability by submitting a credit report.
  • In some cases the county may require a local competency exam.
  • Submit an Issuance of Licensure application to the DBPR.

*As of May 4th, 2012, General Contractors who hold a Registered License in the State of Florida are grandfathered into a law which states that they may get their Certified Contractors License without taking the state exam, as long as they meet certain criteria. This law extends until November of 2015. For more information, please visit:

http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/cilb/documents/cilb_grand_faqs.pdf

Requirements for Obtaining a Certified Contractor License in Florida

  1. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Applicants must have 4 years of work experience or 4 years of education. A combination of education and work experience is also acceptable. At least 1 year of the applicant’s work experience must be as a supervisor or foreman.
  3. Applicants must take and pass the general contractor licensing exam.
  4. Applicants must submit the Initial Issuance of Licensure application along with all requested documentation, including credit reports proving financial stability.
  5. Applicants must undergo fingerprinting and a background check by a vendor approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
  6. Licensees must prove that they hold public liability and property damage insurance within 30 days of receiving their license. If the general contractor employs workers, they must also show proof of worker’s compensation insurance.

Work Experience and Education

To quality to take the general contractor licensing exam in the State of Florida, applicants must prove that they meet one of the following work experience/education criteria:

  • 4 years of education at an accredited engineering, architecture or building construction school with 1 year of hands-on field experience.
  • 4 years in an apprenticeship or training program
  • 4 years of work experience as a general contractor. One year of this experience must be in the role of supervisor or foreman

A combination of education and work experience is also acceptable to quality for the exam, including:

  • 3 years of construction education credits with 1 year of field experience as a supervisor or foreman.
  • 2 years of construction education credits, 1 year as a general worker and 1 year as a supervisor or foreman.
  • 1 year of construction education credits, 2 years as a general worker and 1 year as a supervisor or foreman.

*Construction education credits are only considered valid when obtained from an accredited institution or program.

Applying to Take the Examination

The licensing exam was developed by the DBPR’s Bureau of Education and Testing. The exam is administered by Professional Testing Inc.

To apply/register for the exam, 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 depend on the month that the contractor plans to take the exam. Exams are administered every other month, during February, April, June, August, October and December. Exams fill up quickly, so be sure to register well in advance.

Testing centers are located throughout the State of Florida, in Orlando/Kissimmee, Tallahassee and Tampa. When registering for the exam, applicants are given a first and second preference for their exam location.

There are 3 ways to apply/register for the exam:

  1. Online – go to www.proftesting.com. Click on the Examination Programs tab, and follow the link to the Construction Industry Licensing Board Examination.
  2. Download the Applicationswww.floridaexam.com. Mail the completed registration application and exam fees to:

    Professional Testing Inc.
    State of Florida Construction Program
    P.O. Box 691226
    Orlando, FL 32869-1226

  3. Fax the Application – to Professional Testing Inc. at (407) 264- 2977

Be sure to submit exam fees along with the registration application. Acceptable forms of payment include:

  • Check
  • Money Order
  • Cashier’s Check
  • Credit Card

Exam Fees include:

  • $135 registration fee to Professional Testing Inc.
  • $80 exam administration Fee to DBPR
  • $80 computer-based testing fee to take the Business and Finance portion of the exam

Allow plenty of time to study and prepare for the exam before applying. Reference and study materials are found online at:
http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/servop/testing/ConstructionExamInformation.html

*Applicants may also benefit from enrolling in an online course as part of their test preparation.

The Examination

After submitting the Florida Construction Examination Scheduling Form and examination fees, Professional Testing Inc. sends the applicant an admission slip with the date and time of their exam.

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.

The exam is open-book and composed of 3 sections with multiple choice questions, covering:

  1. Business and Finance
  2. Contract Administration
  3. Project Management

Contractors are required to pass all 3 topic-sections with a score of at least 70% in each section. Scores are issued same-day before contractors leave the testing center.

*As of November 2011, applicants have 4 years from their original test date to pass each section of the exam. Applicants are allowed an unlimited number of retakes. To re-take a portion of the examination, applicants are required to reapply and pay applicable examination fees as indicated on the application.

Fingerprinting and Background Check

Within 6 months of passing the exam, applicants are required to undergo a background check and fingerprinting. The DBPR only accepts fingerprints obtained through Livescan Device Vendors. For further information about fingerprinting, follow the link below and click on “Fingerprint FAQs.” Fingerprints need to be filed before the applicant submits the Issuance of Licensure Application.

https://www.myfloridalicense.com/CheckListDetail.asp?SID=&xactCode=1030&clientCode=0605&XACT_DEFN_ID=3077

Issuance of Licensure Application for Certified AND Registered Contractors

To get a copy of the Issuance of Licensure application, download a printable application packet online:

All information provided on the application must be verifiable and truthful. Be sure to send all supporting documents along with the licensing application. Supporting documents for both certified and registered contractors include:

  • 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 of Financial Stability- 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.
  • 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: (850) 487-1395
  • Or email: callcenter@dbpr.state.fl.us.

Submit the completed application, supporting documents and licensing fees to:

Department of Business and Professional Regulation
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0783

*Read all directions in each section of the application packet. Follow the application checklist, which breaks down all the required fees and supporting documents needed to submit a complete application.

*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.

Licensing Fees

The DBPR accepts payment in the form of check or money order made payable to the “Department of Business and Professional Regulation.”

Licensing fees vary and depend on the year in which the applicant is applying.

Licensing fees for Certified General Contractors:

If all parts of the exam were passed BEFORE January 2009:

  • $409- if the application was submitted between May 1st of an even year through August 31st of an odd year
  • $309- If the application is submitted between September 1st of an odd year through April 31st of an even year

If all parts of the exam are passed AFTER January 2009:

  • $249- If the application is submitted between May 1st of an even year through August 31st of an odd year
  • $149- If the application is submitted between September 1st of an odd year through April 31st of an even year

Licensing fees for Registered General Contractors:

  • $309- When applying for a license between May 1st of an odd year through 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

*The postmark date on the application determines the fee amount for both certified and registered contractors.

Florida License Renewal for Certified and Registered Contractors

The Florida general contractor’s license is renewed every other year. The renewal fee is $209 for both certified and registered contractors. However, before the license can be renewed, general contractors are requires 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, click on the link below and follow the directions for creating an online account:

https://www.myfloridalicense.com/info.asp

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? What is it Due?
$135 Examination Fee for Professional Testing Inc. Upon submitting the application to register for the exam
$80 Examination Fee for the DBPR Upon 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 Upon 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