Carpenters in Oregon need to obtain a construction contractor license from the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) before they can legally work in the state. Carpentry involves making improvements to real property, so a license is required by Oregon law. This article will provide an overview of the licensing process for carpenters in Oregon, including the steps to obtain a new license, renew an existing license, license reciprocity with other states, and the insurance and bond requirements.

Introduction to Licensed Carpenters in Oregon

Carpentry work falls under the CCB’s definition of “construction contracting,” which involves improving real property and requires a state license. Some examples of carpentry work that require a license include:

  • Framing houses
  • Installing cabinets, countertops, or trim
  • Building decks, gazebos, or outbuildings
  • Renovating or remodeling projects involving structural changes

Oregon issues three types of contractor licenses that carpenters can apply for:

  • Residential contractor license – For residential construction projects like new home builds, remodels, repairs.
  • Commercial contractor license – For commercial construction projects like office buildings, retail spaces, multifamily housing.
  • Residential and commercial dual license – Allows work on both residential and commercial projects.

Before applying for a contractor license in Oregon, carpenters need to establish a legal business structure like a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.

Requirements for a Carpenter’s License in Oregon

To obtain an Oregon contractor license, carpenters must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete 16 hours of pre-license training from an approved provider
  • Pass the Oregon Construction Contractor exam
  • Establish a business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, etc.)
  • Provide proof of general liability insurance
  • Obtain a surety bond
  • Have workers’ compensation insurance (if hiring employees)

The pre-license training covers construction law, project management, business practices, and pass an exam focused on Oregon laws. The person who takes the training and exam will be the “Responsible Managing Individual” (RMI) listed on the license application.

Steps to Obtain a New Carpenter’s License in Oregon

Follow these key steps to get a new contractor license for carpentry work in Oregon:

1. Complete Pre-License Training and Exam

  • Take 16 hours of pre-license training from an approved Oregon provider.
  • Pass the Oregon Construction Contractor exam.
  • You must apply for your license within 24 months of passing the exam.

2. Establish Your Business Structure

  • File paperwork with the state to form your business as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.

3. Obtain a Surety Bond

  • Acquire a surety bond in the amount dictated by your license type. For example, a residential contractor’s license needs a $15,000 bond.

4. Get General Liability Insurance

  • Obtain a commercial general liability insurance policy that meets Oregon’s minimum requirements for your license type. Make sure the CCB is listed as the certificate holder.

5. Acquire Workers’ Compensation Insurance (If Applicable)

  • If hiring employees, you need workers’ comp insurance. Sole proprietors can be exempt.

6. Complete the License Application

  • Submit your completed application, exam results, original bond, insurance certificate, and $325 fee.

Steps to Renew a Carpenter’s License in Oregon

Oregon contractor licenses expire after two years. To renew on time, carpenters need to:

  • Complete the 8 hours of required continuing education. At least 3 hours must cover construction law.
  • Submit a bond renewal or continuation certificate.
  • Provide an updated insurance certificate.
  • Pay the $325 renewal fee.
  • Renew online or use a paper renewal notice from the CCB.

Reciprocity for Carpenters with Other State Licenses

Oregon does not offer reciprocal licensing for carpenters or contractors licensed in another state. To work as a carpenter in Oregon, you must follow the normal application process to obtain an Oregon contractor license.

There is no shortcut for reciprocity even if you hold a current license in another state. You still need to take Oregon’s pre-license training, pass their exam, and meet all bond and insurance requirements.

License Bond Requirements in Oregon

All licensed contractors in Oregon must carry a surety bond based on their license type:

| License Type | Minimum Bond Amount |
| Residential Contractor | $15,000 |
| Commercial Contractor | $20,000 |
| Residential & Commercial Dual License | $20,000 |

Carpenters need to obtain a bond from an authorized surety company before applying for their initial contractor license. The original bond must be submitted with the new license application.

For license renewals, carpenters can submit a bond renewal certificate or continuation certificate rather than getting a new bond every two years. The CCB must be listed as the bond obligee.

Insurance Requirements for Oregon Carpenters

Licensed carpenters in Oregon must carry commercial general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance (if they have employees). The table below shows the minimum general liability coverage amounts:

| License Type | Minimum Liability Insurance |
| Residential Contractor | $500,000 |
| Commercial Contractor | $1,000,000 |
| Residential & Commercial Dual License | $1,000,000 |

Certificates of insurance must be submitted with new license applications and renewals. The CCB needs to be listed as the certificate holder.

Sole proprietors with no employees can file for an exemption from workers’ compensation requirements. Otherwise, standard workers’ comp policies apply.


Carpenters planning to work in Oregon must obtain a contractor license from the CCB tailored to their residential, commercial, or dual focus. Key steps in the licensing process include completing pre-license training, passing the Oregon exam, establishing a business structure, obtaining a surety bond and insurance, and submitting the license application with all requirements met.

Since Oregon does not offer reciprocity for out-of-state carpenter licenses, all carpenters must go through the same licensing process. Failing to obtain an Oregon contractor license before starting carpentry work violates state law. Be sure to renew licenses every two years and meet continuing education and insurance requirements.