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Reciprocal General Contractor Licensing in Tennessee

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The State of Tennessee holds reciprocal agreements for General Contractors licensed in the following states:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Georgia
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama
  • Ohio

A licensed General Contractor in one of the above states may obtain a Tennessee General Contractor license without having to take the TN Trade Exam.  Reciprocity exists between these states due to the similarity in the information covered on the trade exam.

*Tennessee also extends reciprocity to contractors in any state if they have taken and passed the NASCLA exam. 

Reciprocal License Classifications in Tennessee

All out-of-state contractors must apply for a license with the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors before they may bid on or offer to perform work in TN.

The Board offers the following license classifications to General Contractors:

  • Class BC- Combined License- allows contractors to work on projects of all kinds, including industrial, commercial and residential
  • Class BC-A- Residential License- allows contractors to work on residences under 3 stories with up to 4 units.
  • Class BC-B- Commercial License- allows contractors to work on public buildings and structures
  • Class BC-b- Small Commercial License- allows contractors to work on public buildings and structures with a limit of $750,000 per project
  • Class BC-C- Industrial License- allows contractors to work on industrial buildings and structures

Reciprocal Requirements in Tennessee

To obtain a reciprocal license in Tennessee contractors must meet the following requirements set forth by the Board:

  • Contractors must be a resident and hold a license in one of the states that holds reciprocity with Tennessee
  • Have the State Licensing Board in the reciprocal state fill out a License Verification. This form serves as a request to the Board to waive the trade exam.  For a copy of the form, please visit: License Verification Form
    *Please note that some states charge a fee for completing this form
  • The contractor’s license must be current, valid and in good standing with their home state. The TN Board does not accept applicants who have open complaints, disciplinary actions or felony convictions
  • All reciprocal applicants are required to take and pass the TN Business and Law exam.
  • Complete and submit a license application to the Board along with all the required documents and fees, including a CPA-prepared financial statement. For a copy of the application packet, please visit:
    License Application Package

Reciprocal Exams in Tennessee

All reciprocal license applicants are required to take the TN Business and Law exam, administered by PSI Services LLC.  The exam covers laws and ordinances for contractors working in Tennessee.
PSI provides a Candidate Information Bulletin which covers all the information needed to register for, prepare for and take the exam.  For a copy of the bulletin, please visit: Tennessee Contractors Candidate Information Bulletin

*If an out-of-state contractor from a state that does not hold reciprocity with Tennessee wishes to apply for a TN General Contractor license, they are required to take and pass the TN Trade Exam.

Further Information About Reciprocity in Tennessee

Once licensed as an out-of-state contractor in Tennessee, it is important to follow all local regulations for building permits and inspections.

It is also important to note that the State of Tennessee follows an ordinance known as the Bid Preference Law.  This means that Tennessee will follow the reciprocal state’s laws for resident contractor preference and increasing bid amounts for non-resident contractors.

For more information about contractor reciprocity in the State of Tennessee, including the trade exam waiver, additional requirements and the Bid Preference Law, please visit: Trade Exam Waiver Agreement (Reciprocity)

*Tennessee contractors who want to apply for reciprocity in another state may contact the Board and ask them to fill out a License Verification form by calling 615-532-3993

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