Becoming a licensed general contractor in Oregon requires completing several steps and meeting specific requirements. This comprehensive guide outlines everything you need to know about getting licensed, from eligibility to required exams, fees, and insurance.


In Oregon, anyone who performs construction work for compensation on residential or commercial buildings must hold a state contractor’s license. This applies to general contractors, who manage entire construction projects, and specialty trade contractors like plumbers and electricians.

The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) issues licenses to contractors and enforces licensing laws. CCB was established in 1971 to regulate the construction industry and provide consumer protection. All licensed contractors must follow laws and rules outlined in the Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules.

There are several steps required to get an initial contractor license in Oregon. You’ll need to establish your business structure, complete pre-license training and testing, and submit an application with all required documents. General liability insurance, a surety bond, and workers’ compensation are also required. Renewing an active license involves fewer steps but requires proof of continuing education.

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Contractor

To become a licensed contractor in Oregon, you must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Establish your business structure
  • Complete pre-license training
  • Pass the Oregon construction contractor exam
  • Submit a complete license application with all required additional documents
  • Carry general liability insurance, surety bond, and workers’ compensation coverage

Establishing Your Business

The first step is to establish your contractor business as a legal entity in Oregon. Common options include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • General partnership
  • Limited partnership (LP)
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation (S or C)

You’ll need to choose and register your business structure with the Oregon Secretary of State. Your business name will also need to be registered if you are using anything other than your full personal name.

At this stage, you should also obtain your federal tax ID number (EIN) from the IRS and state business registration numbers.

Pre-License Training and Testing

Oregon requires contractors to complete pre-license training before applying for a new license. You must take a 16-hour course from an approved pre-license education provider. These courses cover business practices, law, project management, and other relevant topics.

After completing the course, you can register to take the Oregon construction contractor exam. This is an open book test administered by PSI Exams with 80 multiple choice questions. You’ll need to answer 70% of questions correctly to pass.

The $60 exam fee is paid directly to PSI. Some pre-license courses include the exam fee, while others do not. The same exam is given regardless of whether you will be doing residential or commercial work.

If you have already passed the NASCLA commercial contractors exam, you can submit proof of passing to waive the training requirement. However, you will still need to pass the Oregon test before applying for a new license.

Submitting a License Application

Once you have established your business, finished pre-license education, and passed the exam, you are ready to formally apply for your contractor license.

CCB’s license application asks for information about your business structure, owners/officers, and managing employees. You’ll also need to designate a Responsible Managing Individual (RMI). The RMI must be actively involved in the company and qualified to make decisions dealing with construction activities.

A complete application package includes:

  • Completed application form
  • Exam results
  • Original $12,000 license surety bond
  • Certificate of general liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation documents (if applicable)
  • Application fee of $250 for a 2-year license

Licenses can be issued to individuals or businesses. sole proprietors may apply using their full legal name or with an assumed business name. Partnerships and corporations will need to submit an application in the registered business name.

CCB evaluates applications in the order received and issues licenses to qualified applicants. Call 503-378-4621 if you have any questions about completing the forms or required documents.

Steps to Obtain a New Contractor License in Oregon

Follow these steps when applying for an original contractor license in Oregon:

  1. Select your business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.) and register with the Secretary of State if applicable.

  2. Obtain a federal EIN and state business registration numbers. You may need tax IDs and employer account numbers.

  3. Choose a Responsible Managing Individual (RMI) to complete pre-license training and testing. This person will be listed on your license.

  4. Have your RMI complete 16 hours of pre-license training with an approved provider.

  5. Register your RMI to take the Oregon Construction Contractor Exam. A passing score is required to get licensed.

  6. Obtain a $12,000 license surety bond. The amount is the same for all license endorsements.

  7. Get general liability insurance. Your policy declaration page will be submitted with your application.

  8. Get workers’ compensation coverage if you plan to hire employees. An exemption form is required if you won’t have workers.

  9. Complete the license application forms and include exam results, bond, insurance, fees, and any other required attachments.

  10. Submit your contractor license application to CCB. Processing time is up to 8 weeks currently.

License Renewal and Continuing Education

Active Oregon construction contractor licenses expire after two years. To renew, you must complete the renewal application forms and pay a $250 fee.

The major additional renewal requirement is finishing eight hours of CCB-approved continuing education (CE). Courses must be completed within the previous two years. The RMI and all owners and officers must finish CE.

Active renewal applications can be submitted within 90 days before the license expiration date. But renewing after the expiration date requires starting over as if applying for an original license.

Renewal steps include:

  • Complete 8 hours of continuing education
  • Submit renewal application and $250 fee
  • Provide updated surety bond and insurance
  • Update your workers’ compensation coverage info
  • List any changed business information

Late renewal results in having an inactive license. After 24 months inactive, you must retake the exams and reapply like a new applicant.

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Contractors

Oregon does not have direct license reciprocity agreements with other states for general contractor licensing. To become licensed in Oregon, you will need to go through the same application process as described in this guide, including training, testing, and providing current insurance and bond documentation.

However, passing the NASCLA exam may help streamline the process for out-of-state contractors. Submitting proof of a current general building contractor license in certain states can also allow you to take the Oregon exam without repeating pre-license training.

License Bonds

All contractors must carry a $12,000 surety bond when applying for a new license. This bond helps protect consumers if there are problems with the construction project. It does not cover losses due to poor workmanship or unfinished work.

The surety bond must name the State of Oregon as obligee and remain in place for the entire license period. Licenses cannot be issued without receiving the original bond document. After licensing, contractors must maintain an active bond or change bond companies within 30 days if a bond is cancelled.

An increased bond amount of $15,000 to $20,000 is required in certain situations:

  • New licenses following license suspension or revocation
  • Applicants with recent construction-related civil judgments or arbitration awards against them
  • Businesses organized as corporations or partnerships if any corporate officers or partners have previous revocations or suspensions

The CCB License Bonds page has full details on bond requirements.

Insurance Requirements

Oregon requires licensed contractors to carry:

General liability insurance – Minimum of $500,000 per occurrence coverage is required. This protects against property damage claims or third-party bodily injury claims.

Workers’ compensation coverage – This is required if you have any employees, including subcontractors. Exceptions apply for sole proprietors and some partnerships with no employees.

You must submit proof of required insurance policies with new license applications. Acceptable documentation includes a certificate of insurance or policy declaration page showing policy limits.

For workers’ compensation, you can submit a copy of your coverage certificate or fill out CCB’s exemption form certifying you have no subject workers.


While Oregon has extensive licensing requirements for general contractors, going through the entire process thoroughly prepares you for operating legally in the state. From registering your business to obtaining state-mandated insurance policies, each step aims to protect property owners who hire contractors.

Completing pre-license education, passing the required exams, and providing proof of insurance and bonding demonstrates your competency. It allows CCB to issue contractor licenses only to qualified applicants ready to run their construction businesses responsibly.

Regular renewal and continuing education requirements help keep contractors up to date on changing legal and practical knowledge. Overall, following Oregon’s licensing process helps establish credibility and trust between contractors and their customers.