Florida general contractor licensure through endorsement is a process that allows individuals who are already licensed in another state, such as Georgia, to obtain a license in Florida without having to retake the Florida Division I (General, Building and Residential Contractor) trade exams (Contract Administration and Project Management). Endorsement is a fairly new option in Florida so this article will explain some of the nuances of this path to a Florida Contractors license.
Florida General Contractor License Via Reciprocity
Endorsement is a potential option for out-of-state Contractors, including Georgia General Contractors, who are looking to expand their business to Florida or for those who have recently moved to Florida and want to open a business. That said, this path to licensure is very narrow with strict requirements. There are a few endorsement options out-of-state Contractors can pursue. Regardless of the endorsement path selected, all applicants must pass the Florida-specific Business & Finance Exam plus complete a Florida Building Code online class. In addition, any potential endorsement applicant must have held their out-of-state license in valid and current status for a minimum of 10 years. Florida provides three general routes to licensure through endorsement:
- Endorsement through Reciprocity:
This is a route available to Contractors initially licensed as General Contractors in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. Florida has formal reciprocity agreements with these three states, which means the Trade exam requirements are waived. Remember, you still must pass the Business & Finance Exam plus complete an approved Florida Building Code course.
- Endorsement through Examination:
There are actually two options here: First option, the State of Florida accepts the NASCLA Commercial Contractor exam in lieu of the two Trade exams typically required. If you obtained your initial license by passing the NASCLA exam, that transcript can be used to satisfy the Trade exam requirements in Florida.Second option, if you can prove to the CILB that your State of initial licensure exam was substantially equivalent to the Florida state licensure exams, this may be a path available to you. However, only California has been recognized by the CILB as a candidate for General Contractor endorsement through examination equivalency. This path is very narrow and difficult to prove.
- Endorsement through Licensure:
Even if Florida does not have a formal reciprocity agreement with another state, such as Georgia, the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) will consider applications for endorsement through licensure. The key to this path is that the out-of-state license must ‘line-up’ exactly with the license type you are seeking in Florida. For example, as a General Contractor in another state, you would have to be able to build any commercial or residential structure without a height, square footage or contract value limitation, which is equivalent to the Certified General Contractor (CGC) license in Florida. And the experience requirements to obtain that initial licensure must also align with the experience requirements for Florida.The endorsement through licensure specifically for General Contractors in Georgia becomes a little more complicated. The license scopes align, that is not the problem. However, to obtain your CGC license in Florida, you must have experience supervising at least one project 4-stories or higher. The Georgia General Contractors license does not have this requirement, so the CILB does not recognize it as equivalent to the CGC. Instead, the CILB has issued license endorsement approvals for Georgia General Contractors as Certified Building Contractors (CBC) because as a CBC, you can build commercial or residential structures up to 3 stories, with no height requirement for the projects you supervised. Again, you are still required to pass the Florida-specific Business & Finance Exam and complete a Florida Building Code class. In addition, you would list your work history on the license application to make sure you have the experience required by the State of Florida.Once you have determined that you meet the qualifications for licensure through endorsement, passed the required Business & Finance Exam and the Florida Building Code class, you can apply for a Certified Contractors license in Florida. The process involves submitting an application, paying the required fees, and providing proof of your current license, summary of your relevant work history, and proof of insurance coverage. It’s important to remember that while licensure through endorsement can save you time and effort, there is no guarantee the CILB will approve your application.
If you have any additional questions on the endorsement, the application or the exam process, please reach out to Gold Coast School of Construction at www.GoldCoastSchools.com or call 1-800-732-9140 or send us an email at Contractor@GoldCoastSchools.com. We have helped thousands of students from across the county obtain licensure in the State of Florida, and we look forward to helping you.
** Chris Clausing is the Program Director for Gold Coast School of Construction and Curriculum and Program Innovation for Colibri Group’s Construction Education Ecosystem. Chris is a Certified General Contractor (CGC1515171) in the State of Florida with over 20 years’ experience in the Construction and Inspection industries. Chris also sits as a Consensus Committee Member for the IECC helping shape the energy codes of the future. If you have any questions, please reach out to Chris directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.