General Contractor Licensing Basics: What You Should Know


Nowadays, many people strive to be a part of a job they find exciting, motivating, and fulfilling. General contractors fulfill this job description pretty well as the individuals tasked with overseeing the development of building projects. After all, what’s better than seeing a blueprint come to life? But what exactly does it take to get a general contractor license? 


As the person who monitors the ins and outs of a construction project, general contractors have to have a well-rounded understanding of everything from plumbing, HVAC, and building code to scheduling and administration. Due to a GC’s diverse set of responsibilities, there are different tiers and types of licenses you can obtain. Keep in mind that your options will vary by state. 


Types of GC licenses 


Depending on your career goals and experience, a different license will be best for you. For example, there are three different tiers for a GC license in Georgia. Residential Basic, Residential Light Commercial and Unlimited GC. 


As a general rule of thumb, you want to get the most comprehensive license you currently qualify for. Acquiring a license can take a significant amount of time, energy, and money. The last thing you want is to repeat the whole process multiple times. Getting a license that is appropriate for your level of experience and allows you to work in all the areas of the industry you desire is the most appropriate path you can take. Keeping your long-term career goals and time constraints in mind is also essential. An Unlimited GC license will likely prove to be unnecessary for someone with residential experience who would like to remain in that area of work. Research your options carefully, and consult a licensing expert to assure you make the right decision for your career. 


Exam pricing 


General contractor license exam fees will vary by state. Overall, the state typically requires an application fee and exam fees that will need to be covered. For example, in Georgia, as of June 2022, there is a $200 state application fee along with a standard $72 cost for each exam. Each of the three types of GC licenses in Georgia requires two examinations, a business and law exam and a trade exam. Therefore, a current Georgia resident will have to commit to paying at least $344 for their license. These numbers are subject to change and will likely shift with time, so always check your local government website for updated pricing. 


Exam preparation


Trade license exams are typically open books. This can be a significant advantage if you prepare carefully. While you may and are recommended to bring your books to the exam, you must follow the testing rules exactly. For example, the books you use during the exam can be tabbed and highlighted. However, this must be done following the requirements specified in the exam guide rules. The tabs used must be permanently fixed tabs. Additionally, you may highlight and underline in your book, but you cannot write anything on its pages. Writing may be seen as cheating and could result in you being disqualified from receiving your license. 


This may seem like a lot of information. Thankfully, there are organizations that specialize in trade careers that are here to help. Upstryve, for example, provides many services to help you on your path to becoming a licensed tradesperson. At Upstryve, we offer everything from book rentals to consultations with industry professionals. So when prepping for your exam, consider purchasing or renting books that have been pre-tabbed and highlighted. Or consider talking to one of our licensing experts to help you get on the right path to success. Whatever the case may be, Upstryve is here to provide you with the most relevant effective resources out there. Visit or contact one of our amazing licensing experts below! 



JD Myers: Upstryve Licensing expert 


Phone: 321.610.2133


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