Carpenter License Requirements by State

Apr 19, 2022 · 4 minutes to read

A happy carpenter at his workshop

Carpentry contractors provide valuable services to their residential and commercial customers. You have skills and talents that most do not, helping others repair or transform living and workspaces. You may be able to put these abilities to work by starting your own carpentry business.

But before you can start measuring, cutting, and hammering, you may need a carpenter license. The process of getting licensed varies between states and sometimes at the local level, as well. Many states require carpentry contractors to show proof of insurance to get a license, while some states don’t mandate one at all.

This guide explains how to get a carpenter license in six states to help boost your small business dreams.


Carpenters carrying out work that is worth $500 or more must have a general contractor license in California. The Contractors State License Board issues carpenter licenses and sets carpenter license requirements in the state. Two licensing subcategories apply to carpenters:

  • Class C-5 – Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor license
  • Class C-6 – Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor license

To get a carpenter license, you must be at least 18 years old and meet the minimum work-experience requirement. You will also need to:

  • Pass a background check
  • Pass exams on carpentry, law and business, and asbestos safety
  • Show proof of your General Liability and Workers’ Compensation (if applicable) insurance
  • Buy a surety bond

Carpentry contractors must renew their California licenses every two years.


Florida carpenters need a general contractor license if they complete work worth $500 or more that becomes a finished part of the structure. Carpentry contractors who only do minor work (for example, door and window repair) may not need a license.

Florida carpenter licenses are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. There are two options available to contractors in the state:

  • Certified – Lets you work anywhere in Florida
  • Registered – Restricts you to working in specific cities or jurisdictions only

To get a general contractor license in Florida, you must be 18 years or older, meet the minimum work-experience requirement, and show that you are financially stable. You must also:

  • Pass an exam or provide a certificate of competency (depending on the type of license you are applying for)
  • Pass a background check
  • Provide a FICO credit report
  • Show proof of your General Liability and Workers’ Compensation (if applicable) insurance

Florida general contractor licenses must be renewed every two years. You will need to complete 14 hours of approved continuing education each time you renew.


Tradespeople performing rough and finish carpentry in Georgia fall under specialty trades. They are not required to have a general contractor license to work in the state.


The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board does not issue statewide carpenter licenses. However, you may need a city or county license to satisfy the carpenter license requirements in your local area.


There is no carpenter license or general contractor license required in Pennsylvania at the state level, but you may need a local license to work in your area.

Additionally, you may need to register with the state Attorney General’s Office to comply with the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act. This set of laws requires contractors making more than $5,000 per year doing home improvement work to register their business.

To register your carpentry business, you must submit details about yourself and your business and show proof of your General Liability insurance. Your registration number must be included in advertising and on specific business documents.

Registrations must be renewed every two years.


Carpenters do not need a state license to work in Texas. However, you may need a local license to accept projects in your area.

All Texas businesses must have a business license to operate, including sole proprietors.

Protecting Your Carpentry Business

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*This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your carpentry license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.

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