How to Get a Contractor License with No Experience

licensed contractors with no experience looking at blueprints

When you look at an expert working in their field, it’s often easy to forget that they were once a novice with no knowledge of the craft. No matter the industry, everyone has to start somewhere.

Contractors have the independence and freedom to work on projects that excite them and make a pretty penny while doing something they love. If you’re looking to begin an exciting new career in your home state, getting your contractor’s license can be a great step towards a fulfilling future. Even if you don’t have experience in the field, don’t panic! You can start fresh today.

Here’s how to get your contractor’s license with little to no experience in the industry.

Why Do You Need a Contractor’s License?

Believe it or not, it truly is worth going through the hassle of getting your contractor’s license. Here are a few of the top reasons.

It Attracts Clientele

If you’re trying to grow a business, a license signals to potential customers that you have the skills and training required to get a job done correctly. That credibility goes a long way to attract more clientele.

It Protects Your Business

An essential prerequisite of most licenses is that you obtain insurance. Having the required levels of worker’s comp and liability insurance coverage can protect your business from financial devastation.

You Can Boost Your Income

Clients will be more willing to pay a higher rate for work performed by certified contractors. When people feel they are investing in a quality result, higher costs are justified. In this sense, a license is an investment in your future earning potential.

It’s the Law—in Most Places

No matter where you live, it is almost guaranteed that having some type of contractor’s license is required by law before you can begin working. The exact requirements differ from state to state, so it’s best to do your research while in the prep stages of your business.

For example, California has a strict policy that requires a license for anyone doing construction jobs, $500 or more. On the other hand, Connecticut and Delaware do not require any sort of general contractor license.

States that do not require a contractor’s license at the state level include:

  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont

Do your research beforehand so you know the requirements in your state or county. Contractor Training Center breaks it down for you, state by state, so you won’t miss a thing.

How to Get a Contractor's License with No Experience

While there are detailed requirements to obtain a contractor license, you do not necessarily need to have a wealth of industry experience before you start the process. Here’s what you need to know about getting a license without first-hand experience.

Consider a Training Program

As the job outlook for people seeking work in the construction industry continues to climb, so does the wealth of available training programs for contractors.

A training program can be a great way to get on the fast track towards a career as a contractor. While many enter the field having on-the-job experience, seeking training is just as valid and can set you up for success in the industry.

Programs are available in many different formats, so be sure to find something that fits into your schedule. From in-person programs that span many months to online intensives that take weeks, accessible training makes becoming a contractor easier than ever.

Look for an RMO or RME

Partnering with a Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) or a Responsible Managing Employee (RME) is another way to gain meaningful work experience while pursuing your license.

A Responsible Managing Officer is a person or company who allows you to work under their license. They vouch for you and bear any legal responsibility. Similarly, a Responsible Managing Employee is an active employee of your organization and enables you to work under their license.

While this is not necessarily a step towards getting your license in and of itself, it can be a great way to get real-life work experience and prepare for your license exams.

Get a Waiver

While rare, it is possible to get a waiver from your local licensing board. A waiver exempts you from providing proof of experience, allowing even prospective contractors with little to no experience access to licensure. Check with your local licensing authority to see if you are eligible for a waiver.

Seek On-the-Job Experience

Are you worried that you don’t have enough experience? Then go and get some! While you need a license to be a contractor, many types of contractor work do not require specific licensure or certificate.

While your dream job may require more extensive licensing, you can get your footing in the industry and get some practical on-the-job training simply by first working in the real world. Various types of construction jobs don’t require the level of licensure that contracting does.

It may be worthwhile to apply for entry-level positions that let you get to work. This way, you can put some money in your pocket while acquiring foundational skills and developing knowledge of the field.

Partner with a Licensed Contractor

If you’re not quite ready to get a license yet, find a business partner that can help you meet your goals. By partnering with a licensed contractor, you can build the foundation of a company and begin doing work even if you haven’t acquired a contractor’s license of your own yet.

This option is excellent for people who don’t want to slow down their professional goals to seek formal education. You can simultaneously open your company and build a client base while pursuing your license on your own time.

Get Grandfathered In

While not an option in all states, it is possible to get grandfathered into a contractor’s license in some places.

This is often seen in family businesses, as a license gets passed down to a new generation of contractors, but there is no rule saying it has to be within a family. That said, you will still need to pass the required examinations to work under the license.

Prepping for the Contractor Exam

Even if you don’t have experience, you’ll need to successfully pass a licensing exam before you can begin working as a contractor in your state.

These exams can be daunting and challenging even for professionals with years of experience in the industry. Don’t fret! No matter your level of experience, the Contractor Training Center offers many tools to help you build knowledge.

We provide necessary reference materials, exam prep courses, and state-specific online resources. Plus, our skilled team of experts in the field has your back.


Seeking a contractor’s license can be a daunting pursuit. While the benefits of the profession stretch far and wide, the process of getting started in the industry can be tricky to navigate on your own.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. You have many options to obtain a license without experience. Plus, with Contractor Training Center at your side, you’ll be ready to excel in your exams and earn your license, no matter your level of experience.

Book a Start-Up Consultation with one of our licensing specialists to help you through the licensing process and answer any questions you may have. Get started today!

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