Carpenters take on a wide range of construction projects, from framing houses to building cabinets and furniture. In Mississippi, carpenters are considered “residential remodelers” and are required to be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (MSBOC) for certain types of projects.

Specifically, carpenters in Mississippi undertaking remodeling projects costing $10,000 or more on existing residential structures need a Residential Remodeling License. This covers additions, alterations, renovations, repairs, and more. Licensure ensures carpenters have the proper knowledge, skills, and insurance to safely carry out projects in compliance with state regulations.

This guide covers everything Mississippi carpenters need to know about obtaining, renewing, and maintaining a Residential Remodeling License. We’ll also touch on license reciprocity with other states, bond requirements, and necessary insurance coverage.

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Carpenter in Mississippi

To qualify for a Residential Remodeling License from MSBOC, carpenter applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a legal resident of the United States
  • Provide a Social Security Number, Federal Tax ID Number, or Mississippi Tax ID Number
  • Pass the required exams
  • Carry general liability insurance
  • Provide financial information if requested by the board
  • Pay all licensing fees

The two exams carpenters must pass are the Mississippi Business and Law Exam and the Residential Building Contractor Trade Exam. The business and law exam ensures basic understanding of construction regulations and business practices. The trade exam covers building codes, construction methods, estimating, and more specialized knowledge.

MSBOC has reciprocity agreements with several states – passing equivalent exams in these states can exempt carpenters from retaking the Mississippi exams. See the reciprocity section below for details.


The Mississippi Business and Law Exam has 50 multiple choice questions and lasts for 120 minutes. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass.

The Residential Building Contractor Trade Exam also has 50 multiple choice questions but candidates have just 90 minutes to complete it. This exam too requires a minimum passing score of 70%.

Reference materials containing sample questions are available for both exams. MSBOC provides a list of approved references that can be used during the exams.


The following are the fees charged by MSBOC for a Residential Remodeling License:

  • Application Fee: $25
  • Business and Law Exam Fee: $120
  • Trade Exam Fee: $100
  • License Issuance Fee: $75
  • Total New License Cost: $320

There is also an annual license renewal fee of $100. Additional fees apply for late renewals.

Steps to Obtain a New Carpenter’s License in Mississippi

Once a carpenter is ready to get their Mississippi contractor’s license, the process is straightforward:

  1. Complete the license application – Fill out the Residential Remodeling License Application in full and submit to MSBOC with the $25 application fee.
  2. Pass the required exams – Use the exam bulletin from MSBOC to register for and schedule the business/law and trade exams. Exam fees apply.
  3. Provide general liability insurance – Submit proof of liability coverage listing MSBOC as the certificate holder.
  4. Pay license fee – The $75 license issuance fee must be paid before a license is granted.
  5. Obtain the contractor’s license – After passing the exams, providing insurance, and paying all fees, MSBOC will issue the Residential Remodeling License.

The full process usually takes around 7-10 business days from the time the application is submitted. However, carpenters can’t schedule exams until registered with the exam provider by MSBOC, which adds time upfront.

Establishing Eligibility

When first applying for a Mississippi contractor’s license, carpenters must establish they meet the eligibility requirements. This is done by submitting:

  • A copy of a driver’s license or other proof of identity and age
  • Documentation showing legal residency
  • Social Security Number, Federal Tax ID Number, or Mississippi Tax ID Number
  • Past tax returns or business documents may be requested by MSBOC

Reference letters vouching for relevant carpentry experience are also useful but not necessarily required.

Submitting the Application

To apply for the Residential Remodeling License, carpenters must mail a completed application form with the $25 fee to:

Mississippi State Board of Contractors
P.O. Box 320279
Jackson, MS 39232

The application PDF can be printed out and filled in by hand, or filled digitally and then printed. All signatures must be handwritten and notarized.

Carpeters should include as much detail as possible on their experience, past projects, education, and references. Thorough applications help prevent delays.

Steps to Renew a Carpenter’s License in Mississippi

Residential Remodeling Licenses in Mississippi must be renewed each year before the expiration date printed on the current license. To renew, carpenters need to:

  1. Submit renewal form – The renewal form will be mailed to licensees or can be downloaded online. Send the completed form to MSBOC.
  2. Provide proof of insurance – Updated proof of liability coverage must accompany the renewal form.
  3. Pay renewal fee – The annual renewal fee of $100 must be included as well.
  4. Fulfill continuing education – 8 hours of MSBOC-approved continuing education is required in the 12 months prior to renewing.

As long as the license has not been expired more than 180 days, carpenters can renew as late as 180 days past the expiration date printed on the current license. However, an extra $100 late fee applies to late renewals.

Licenses expired more than 180 days cannot be renewed – a completely new application is required at that point.

Continuing Education Requirements

Every year, licensed carpenters in Mississippi must complete 8 hours of continuing education (CE) before renewing their license. Courses must be approved by MSBOC and cover topics like changes in building codes and construction laws.

At least 1 of the 8 required CE hours must deal with workplace safety topics such as OSHA compliance. The remaining 7 hours can cover any code, law, or business practices subjects.

Proof of completing qualifying CE courses must be submitted when renewing the contractor’s license each year. MSBOC may audit compliance with the CE requirements.

Reciprocity with Other States

Mississippi has reciprocity agreements for contractor licensing exams with the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee

This means carpenters holding an equivalent residential remodeling license in one of these states can have the trade exam requirement waived in Mississippi. They would still need to take the business and law exam.

To get licensed via reciprocity, carpenters submit proof of their current license, liability insurance, and any other requested documents as part of the standard Mississippi application process.

The new license application fee is still required but the trade exam fee is waived.

License Bond Requirements

Licensed contractors in Mississippi are not required to obtain license bonds. MSBOC has the authority to mandate bonds for specific contractors if deemed necessary, but this rarely occurs.

Insurance Requirements

As part of obtaining and renewing a contractor’s license, Mississippi carpenters must carry general liability insurance. This protects both the contractor and their clients in the event of damage or injuries.

At a minimum, the liability policy must provide coverage for:

  • Bodily injury – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence
  • Property damage – $10,000 per occurrence

Certificates of insurance showing evidence of current coverage must list MSBOC as the certificate holder. The board must be notified by the insurer if a policy is canceled or reduced.

There are no laws in Mississippi establishing minimum amounts for other common construction insurance policies like workers comp and builders risk. However, most experts recommend contractors carry coverage well above the state minimums.

Contractors can request an exemption from the liability insurance requirement if they are not actively working and want an inactive license.


Carpenters in Mississippi undertaking residential remodeling projects costing $10,000 or more must hold a Residential Remodeling License issued by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors. Key steps for becoming a properly licensed carpenter include passing two exams, obtaining general liability insurance, submitting an application, and paying all required fees.

Before renewing their license each year, carpenters must complete 8 hours of continuing education and provide an updated certificate of insurance. Reciprocity agreements with surrounding states allow qualified carpenters to transfer their exam results.

Understanding Mississippi’s licensing system, from application to renewal, helps carpenters remain in compliance. This ensures they can legally and safely take on carpentry projects while delivering quality workmanship to their clients.