how to get your NASCLA contractor license

The Ultimate NASCLA Exam Guide for 2023!

Table of Contents

What is NASCLA?

nascla logo

The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies is a non-profit organization whose purpose to establish license uniformity for state agencies that regulate the construction industry.

Founded in 1962, NASCLA is dedicated to assisting contractor licensing, trade associations, and enforcement agencies promote quality standards and safety across the United States. 

Is there a NASCLA license?


Is not a license, it is an examination.

NASCLA is composed of several state licensing agencies that all share the same standards for construction regulation.

Passing the NASCLA exam allows you to get licensed in multiple states without taking a trade examination, however depending on the state you are applying to, you may still be required to pass a Law & Business exam.

NASCLA member states

Currently there are 18 states which accept the NASCLA exam:

Which license exams are offered by NASCLA?

NASCLA currently offers only two examinations:

  • Commercial General Building 
  • Electrical

Once you pass your NASCLA exam you will be entered into a national database allowing you to request that your exam scores be sent to other jurisdictions bypassing redundant trade examinations.

online nascla exam courses

Recommended Courses

NASCLA Commercial General Building Exam

Accepting States: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia

  • 115 Questions
  • 81 Minimum Passing Score
  • 330 Minutes
  • Open Book

Contents of Exam:

  • Planning and Estimating
  • Financial and Project Management
  • Safety 19 Site Construction
  • Concrete
  • Masonry
  • Metals
  • Wood Foundations and Framing
  • Thermal Moisture Protection
  • Doors, Windows, and Glazing
  • Finishes
  • Specialty Equipment and Conveyance Systems

NASCLA Electrical Exam

Accepting States: Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia

  • 100 Questions
  • 75 Minimum Passing Score
  • 270 Minutes Allowed
  • Open Book

Contents of Exam

  • Project Design & Management
  • Safety
  • Electrical Theory & Principles
  • General Code Requirements
  • Wiring & Protection
  • Wiring Methods & Materials
  • Equipment for General Use
  • Special Occupancies, Special Equipment & Special Conditions
  • Communication Systems

NASCLA Electrical Examination Classifications

there are three areas of of expertise within the accredited NASCLA electrical examination program

For states that choose to become a part of the NASCLA Accredited Electrical Examination Program, there are (3) distinct examinations. 

One for each job type:

Electrical Contractors –  Installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical work conforming to applicable standards and codes

Journeyman Electricians – Capacity in the knowledge and skills needed to properly perform the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical work conforming to applicable standards and codes

Residential Electrical Contractors – Competency in performing electrical installations, service, repair, and maintenance typically encountered in a permanent dwelling unit

Available to candidates through administering state agencies only

How are NASCLA's standards created?

NASCLA facilitates meetings of experts within various construction fields to analyze trade examinations at the state level.

National surveys are conducted on a regular basis among general contractors and electricians to create a consistent examination that accurately represents regional standards.

Questions are continuously vetted, updated and re-assessed to ensure the highest national psychometric standards.

Scheduling a NASCLA Examination date

The NASCLA examination is administered by a third-party testing company PSI Services LLC

  • You must be pre-approved by NASCLA before you are allowed to test
  • Once you are approved, they will send you information on how to register for an exam date
  • You get 1 year from your application approval date to take the exam
  • You can only sit for an exam 3 times per calendar year

You can apply with NASCLA here

Contractor License Reciprocity

featured image has a picture of california. Blog post about how contractors from other states can get licensed in california and the truth about california contractor license reciprocity

Several states have reciprocity agreements with each other independent of NASCLA

Meaning, they allow contractors to wave trade examinations because they have decided their trade standards are similar enough. 

For example:

California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona currently have a reciprocity agreement.

You can review California's Reciprocal Classification's list to be sure that the trade you specialize in, qualifies.

Contractor License Laws by State

When it comes to how contractors are regulated, each state is different. 

Some states simply require contractors to hold liability insurance to work… while some states require you to prove your experience and pass an exam.

It is important to also understand the distinction between residential and commercial construction work. While states like California offer one license classification that covers residential and commercial work.

States like Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, and others require applicants to apply for separate licensing for Residential and Commercial construction work.

The following blog posts provide the most critical information for contractor licenses by state:

Contractor License Courses

There are several online resources that can help you prepare for your contractor license examination.

It is important to remember that some states will not require you to prove your experience, however when it comes time to take the examination…

You may be tested on building codes and trade-specific concepts that only a journeyman-level tradesman would know about. 

Online Blueprint Reading Course

For general building licenses, knowledge of blueprint reading is very important.

If you plan on getting licensed as a general contractor you will want to find a blueprint reading course that covers the fundamentals of:

  • Carpentry 
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems, and sprinkler fitting systems 
  • Light commercial and residential construction

For a completely online course, click below:

online blueprint reading course for construction professionals

Online Skills Classes

Sharpening your trade knowledge before an exam can be the difference-maker on test day.

There are several online courses and continuing education classes designed to teach the fundamentals as well as review key construction trade concepts.

a solid understanding of your construction trade is fundamental if you want to pass the louisiana contractor exam

For our full online library of classes

  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Masonry
  • Drywall 
  • Roofing
  • Plumbing
  • Carpentry
  • Elevators
  • Boilers
  • Excavation
  • Fire Protection
  • Steel Construction
  • Asbestos 
  • Welding
  • Insulation
  • Concrete
  • Demolition
  • Refrigeration
  • Pipelines
  • Sheet Metal