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How to Become Licensed & Bonded as a Carpenter

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Licensing and bonding requirements for carpenters vary in different states. Some states issue a separate license for carpenters, and others require a carpenter to obtain a license as a residential or general contractor. Bonding requirements also vary considerably. Generally, the amount of the bond is determined by the annual gross of the carpenter's business. You can become a licensed and bonded carpenter by meeting the minimum requirements established in your state by the contractor's licensing agency.

Get journeyman level carpentry experience. Most states require that you have experience in the field to obtain a carpenter's license. Prepare a list of past and present employers and work projects so that you can document your experience.

Visit the website of your state's contractor licensing board. Go to the page for contractor licensing. Review the information to make sure that you meet the minimum licensing requirements. Request an application form or fill out an online application.

Study for the carpenter's or contractor's test. Most states have established licensing tests for carpenters and other tradesman. Testing generally covers trade knowledge as well as applicable areas of business laws and regulations. You can take a contractor's licensing class or study on your own. Make an appointment with the licensing agency to take the test after you have reviewed the relevant subjects.

Visit your insurance agent to obtain a bond. The amount you pay to secure a bond is determined by factors such as your experience and credit rating.

Mail your bond information along with the fees and any additional forms to the contractor's licensing board. The mailing address will be listed on the application.


Contractor licensing tests can be difficult. Be sure to review the suggested study materials. Talk to some local licensed carpenters for advice on preparing for the test in your state.


A bad credit rating or a history of lawsuits can impact your ability to secure a bond. You may need to shop around for a bonding company that deals with contractors with bad credit.