Professional License Lawyer in North Carolina

How Do I Get My General Contractor’s License in North Carolina?

NC Administrative Law

How Do I Get My General Contractor’s License in North Carolina?

If you want to be a General Contractor in North Carolina, it is important to get a General Contractor’s License. According to NC § 87-1(a), you must be a licensed General Contractor to undertake construction on any project that has a total value of $30,000 or more. Today’s blog will walk you through how to get your NC General Contractor’s License.

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The first step to getting your GC license is to determine your license limitation and classification. The North Carolina Licensure Board for General Contractors (NCLBGC) defines limitations as the total value of the projects that you can undertake with your license. There are three levels of license limitations: (1) limited, (2) intermediate, and (3) unlimited. [21 NCAC 12A .0204]. If you have never had a GC license, you will start with a limited license. A general contractor with a limited license will be allowed to work on projects with a total value of up to $500,000, a GC with an intermediate license can undertake projects of up to $1 million, and a GC with an unlimited license can undertake a project of any amount. Additionally, a general contractor is certified in one of four classifications. The Building Contractor classification covers all building construction and demolition activity, the Highway Contractor classification covers all highway construction activity, and the Public Utilities Contractor classification includes construction on water and wastewater systems. The fourth classification is for Specialty Contractors, and it includes a variety of specialized subtypes for operations such as masonry construction, railroad construction, and wind turbines. [21 NCAC 12A .0202]. It is important to note that you may qualify for more than one classification. If you meet the requirements for all of these—including passing the examinations for them—you can receive an Unclassified Classification. 


The next step towards getting your GC license is to determine whether you are applying as a licensee or a qualifier. Licenses are issued to a specific legal entity, and this can be a business, partnership, or individual. Licensees have met all the requirements for license including completing the application, meeting the financial requirement, and having someone complete the exam on behalf of the license. Qualifiers are defined as owners of the licensed entity, officers, or individuals responsible for managing employees. Qualifiers are the people who pass the exams on behalf of a license, but a qualifier is not a licensee unless they applied for and received the license as an individual. [GS 87-10(b)].


The third step for getting your GC license is to complete the application. The NCLBGC has a few requirements that you must meet as a part of your application. [NC § 87-10]. You must be at least 18 years old and possess good moral character as determined by the Board. Additionally, you must be able to provide evidence of financial responsibility based on the license limitation for which you are applying and submit the appropriate application fee for your license limitation. For a limited license, you must have a working capital of $17,000 (or total net worth of at least $80,000) and pay an application fee of $75. For an intermediate license, you must have a working capital of $75,000 and pay a fee of $100, while those applying for an unlimited license must have a working capital of $150,000 and pay a fee of $125.

To complete your application, you will also need the following information [21 NCAC 12A .0303(a)]:

·      Your social security number and tax identification number

·      Your contact information

·      If applicable, information about any crimes that you have committed

·      If applicable, certified copies of court records reflecting the information about any crimes you have committed

·      Information indicating whether you have any disciplinary history with the Board or any other professional licensing board

·      Three written letters of reference [21 NCAC 12A .0308]


Yes, you will need to take the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) exam. The NASCLA exam tests your ability to make practical applications of knowledge about contracting, such as your ability to read plans/specifications, your knowledge of the NC State Buildings Codes, your knowledge in estimating costs/construction, your knowledge of ethics, and other similar matters important to construction. The exam typically allows 3.5 hours to complete 90 questions, and you need to score at least 70% (answer 63 questions correctly) to pass. [NC § 87-10(b)].

When you are ready to get your General Contractor’s License, go to the NCLBGC’s website to apply.

Nothing in this blog post is legal advice or establishes the attorney-client relationship.  This is for informational purposes only.  If you’d like to learn more about professional licensing issues in North Carolina check out our site at or our YouTube site here.  919-521-8810 is the direct line to North State Law.