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Obtaining a contractor license in the State of Virginia

MARCH 1, 2016 - NEW DPOR REGULATION - All new contractors must be preapproved to take PSI technical exams.  You must apply to the state and fill in a License Application and an Experience Verification Form.  You must fill these out and send them to DPOR before you can take the PSI Technical Exams.  If you are in a rush and taking the Class A - you can use the Expedited Form to speed up the process.  You can only expedite if you are apply for a class A.  You need pre approval to take the RBC / CBC and Highway Heavy but NOT the NASCLA exam! 

Due to Virginia’s Code, a contractor license can only be issued to businesses. They can’t be received by an individual, regardless if a business has just one employee. Any contractors and all kinds, are required to finish a mandatory 8-hour course for “Contractor Basic Business.” The courses are accessible via the internet. They can also be taken via a classroom. They just have to receive approval from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Steps to Receive Virginia Contractors License:

  1. Register for and review the eight hour course for “Virginia Contractor Basic Business.”  This course is FREE if you purchase one of our classes.  The course will be though a provider that is approved prior.
  2. Be sure to PASS the mandatory sections of the exam for the contractors. It is meant to measure knowledge with the specific profession.
  3. Receive an application for license for a contractor. You can do this by contacting the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation at the following:
Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
  1. Deliver the application for the contractor’s licensure, as well as any necessary documents back to Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Be sure to insert a money order or check. It should be made out to “Treasurer of Virginia”, along with one of the below amounts:

$385 for Class A

$370 for Class B

$235 for Class C

Important:  Paying by credit card is a choice. Just be sure to fill out the form for the credit card.

View the below website for a step-by-step guide that is easily able to be printed and was produced by the state of Virginia DPOR:

License Categories in the State of Virginia

Classifications for Licensure

There are two parts to the contractor licenses. There is the class of the specific license, and that tells what restrictions there are on classification and the projects/contracts size. These parts are set to determine the nature of work that the contractor can perform.

There are three classes that the Contractor’s Board issue licenses: Class A, B, as well as C. There are some types of licenses to apply for. It will be based on the price of the contract of a business or the value of the business that you are engaged with. (Please see the following note for any exceptions.)

Class A Contractors: These types of contractors will manage construction, perform removal, make improvements, or even repair when the entire total with a project or contract total of $120,000+, especially if the entire value regarding the construction, improvements, removal, and repair is undertaken by someone in a 12-month time frame totals $750,000+.

Class B Contractors: These contractors manage and/or perform removal, construction, improvements, or repair when the entire value to a single project or contract totals $10,000+, but has to be less than the amount of $120,000, or even less than the entire value of improvements, construction, repair, or removal that has been undertaken by anyone with a 12-month time frame and totals $150,000+, but also has to be $750,000 or less.

Class C Contractors: These contractors manage or perform repair, removal, improvements, or construction when the entire value for a single project or contract exceeds $1,000+, but not exceeding $10,000, or can’ exceed improvements, repair, removal, or construction that is undertaken by anyone within a 12-month time frame, and not exceeding $150,000.

Important: Water Well and Landscape irrigation contractors are required to hold either a Class A, Class B or Class C contractor, and it does not matter the amount of money that it costs for the contract or project.

Other requirements for Virginia licensing? How to be Qualified For a Company

Each business entity is required to have a “Qualified Individual” regarding each specialty and classification that is mentioned on the application. This individual who is considered qualified is the individual whom has the necessary experience when it comes to the specialty or classification that is being added on the completed application. Someone can be a Qualified Individual for multiple specialties, and it does not have to be just one specialty or classification. The individual is required to have a member of the “Responsible Management with the businesses who is applying for a clients. They must also be required to hold the most minimum work experience, involving the specific specialty. Qualified Individuals for a Class A should have 5 years minimum experience, Class B should have 3 years experience minimum, and Class C should have 2 years experience.

Which Test Should I Take?

The Class A exam for the licensure has three different parts. These parts involve Virginia and the main sections, which is contained within the exam for Class B), and the Advanced Section, and that will test each candidate on their business and general administrative knowledge, so they can engage with the Class A contract.

In Addition, the Designated Employees that are with firms who are Appling for the Class A and/or B classification for building licenses are required to succeed with the Building Technical Exam that comes from PSI Examination service.

How Do I Take The Exams?

To take the exam, you would need to contact PSI Exams as they administer the Virginia exams.

PSI Examination Services 3210 E Tropicana Las Vegas, NV 89121 (800) 733-9267 • Fax (702) 932-2666

The PSI Candidate Information Bulletin is the information that will be on the PSI test.

Click here to download the PSI Candidate information bulletin:

For RBC Exam: Virginia PSI Residential Building Exam Candidate Information Bulletin

For CBC Exam: Virginia Commercial Building Exam Candidate Information Bulletin

For Class A Exam: Virginia PSI Class A Exam Candidate Information Bulletin

For Highway Heavy: Virginia PSI Highway Heavy Contractors

PSI has testing centers in the following cities:

  • Richmond, VA
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Falls Church, VA
  • Mclean, VA
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Roanoke, VA
  • Salisbury, MD

Want to see what times and dates are available to take your exam? 

Click here:  PSI – Test Center Date and Availability Checker

DPOR State License Info  ATTENTION: You have to PRE-APPLY with the state of Virginia in order to take the Class RBC or CBC exams but NOT the NASCLA exam.   

Virginia DPOR now requires you to get pre-approved to take the RBC and CBC exam (but not the NASCLA exam).   If you plan to take the RBC or CBC you must apply for your Class A or B license first, add your specialty and wait 30 days, or you can get an expedited application request if you apply for the Class A Only.  When you apply for the Class A, you will list your specialty and once they approve you – you can take the CBC or RBC exam.  Again, you do not need approval to take the NASCLA exam.

The normal application process takes 30-45 days unless you fill out the Expedite Form.  Then it is only 72 hours.  Here are the application and forms on the Virginia DPOR web site:


What is the Time Period I Can Keep My License?

Original contractor’s licenses will expire within two years from the month that the license was received and issued.

The original license for contractors expire within two years. This is from the first month it was issued.

Is a Virginia Contractor license reciprocal With Other States?

The following information has been available and accurate since January 1st, 2012. The Contractor License for Commercial Building is reciprocal withn the state of Louisiana. Although, residency is not needed. If you would like more information regarding this, contact Board for Contracts at the following: Email – or by phone – 804-367-8511

Commonwealth of the State of Virginia: Do They Disburse Licenses That are Temporary?

The Contractor’s board will give out temporary licenses to those who are out-of-state contractors, but they must have the entities. The temporary licenses have requirements set. They can only be used for out-of-state entities whom need a license during the waiting period for their permanent one. Each temporary license is only valid for 45 days. The temporary licenses can’t be reinstated, reapplied for, renewed, or reissued. The average price of a license that is temporary is typically $50.00. To receive a license with the application for a permanent license, you need to send in a letter with a good feedback from another state, as well as pay both of the application fees.

Contractor-Continued Education: Is it required in the State of Virginia?

It is not required in Virginia.

NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor License: Is it accepted in Virginia?

Yes, but you must send in your credentials with your license application.

General Contractor (commercial contractor) License: Does the State of Virginia require it?

Yes, Virginia does require it. It is call the CBC - Commercial Building Contractor. or the NASCLA.  The NASCLA exam is accepted in 12 states.


If a test question answer could differ because of conflicting information in test reference sources, a legal requirement such as a code, law or regulation overrides any other reference. If two legal requirements appear to conflict, the state specific code, law or regulation overrides the national one. Information from sources on the test reference list override information from other sources or persons. The Examination Content Outlines have been approved by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. These outlines reflect the minimum knowledge required by Contractor professionals to perform their duties to the public in a competent and responsible manner. Changes in the examination content will be preceded by changes in these published examination content outlines. Use the outline as the basis of your study. The outlines list the topics that are on the examination and the number of items for each topic. Do not schedule your examination until you are familiar with all topics in the outline.

Passing Score: 18
48 Minutes to complete this portion.

A. Regulation of Contractors (7 Items)
B. Board Rules and Regulations (5 Items)
C. Building Codes (5 Items)
D. Transaction Recovery Fund (5 Items)
E. Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations (2 Items)

Passing Score: 35
100 Minutes to complete this portion.

A. Business Organization (2 Items)
B. Estimating and Bidding (10 Items)
C. Contract Management (10 Items)
D. Project Management (7 Items)
E. Risk Management (3 Items)
F. Safety (5 Items)
G. Labor Laws (3 Items)
H. Financial Management (5 Items)
I. Federal and State Taxes (4 Items)
J. Lien Laws (1 Item)

Passing Score: 17
60 Minutes to complete this portion.

A. Estimating and Bidding (1 Item)
B. Contract Management (4 Items)
C. Project Management (1 Item)
D. Risk Management (2 Items)
E. Safety (2 Items)
F. Labor Laws (4 Items)
G. Financial Management (5 Items)
H. Federal and State Taxes (4 Items)
I. Lien Laws (1 Item)

Where can I get the books?

You can buy them from us on this site. 

Contractors Institute is offering Class A/B, RBC, CBC, Virginia Highway Heavy, Virginia Pre-license Courses and Continuing Education.

Here is the information on the class, the costs and order your books from us.  We sell and provide the study materials, practice tests and tabs for your books.  You will need to order the books and manuals from the links provided below.  Make sure that you order them early, so that you can have them for the class.

Class A/B Course 

A concise training course that covers the test content area for the Virginia, General, and Advanced exams. The books includes study material: A/B Study Guide, USBC Uniform Statewide Building Code and Tabs. Practice sample accounting and math problems and review of test taking strategies.

Virginia RBC Exam Prep Class Free $89 pre-licensing class

This is an Instructor led Exam Prep class for the RBC designation. You will also need to purchase the RBC Package that includes the books study guides and Tabs and VA Safety manual on our site. All books and materials are on our site and are needed for the class.

Virginia Class CBC Free $89 pre-licensing class

This is an Instructor led Exam Prep class.  We have live classes in Richmond, VA or you can join via Webinar.  This bundle includes the course and study material, Tabs, VA Safety Manual for the CBC (Commercial Building Contractor).  Books can be purchased on our site here. 

Virginia Highway Heavy License Exam Prep Class includes Free $89 pre-license 

Highway Heavy Contractors (H/H) means those individuals whose contracts include construction, repair, improvement, or demolition of the following: Bridges Rail roads, Dams Roads, Drainage systems Runways, Foundations Streets, Parking lots Structural signs & lights, Public transit systems and tanks. Covers: HH Workbook, Pre Printed Tabs.

Virginia DPOR Contractor Pre-license Course

This is the course that is mandatory for any new contractor in the state of Virginia.  It presents the regulations and practices that govern the contracting industry. We will review the required elements of preparing a contract in accordance with regulation, explore methods in selecting customers and jobs based on license classification and experience, explore the  various business structures to meet their particular need, and tips that will help you to avoid regulatory and business problems.  The course is designed to guide contractors in making choices that will ensure compliance with regulation and maintain the license through business success.

The course provides guidance for operating a contracting business and can be used as a continued reference for topics such as estimating and bidding, insurance, banking and credit cards, project management, employment law, tax information, contracts, environmental issues and other subjects.  Once you register and review the material (PDF) and we transmit the results to DPOR.  It’s that simple.
To register, please click here:


Virginia Tradesmen DPOR Continuing Education

The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) requires continuing education training on the various codes in order to renew a trades certificate.
> Contractors Institute, Inc. offers internet delivered training, recognized by DPOR, that focuses on major changes to the Trades portion of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) that will become effective in early 2008.
>  The courses were developed by experts who helped write the codes.
To register, please click here: