Contractor's License for architects


Anyone here care to share their experience getting a general contractor’s license as an architect / designer, especially in California?

How much does our education, and experience as architects / working in architecture firms counted towards the experience required to sit for General Contractor’s exam?

We architects with our huge egos will obviously consider ourselves more than qualified, but I’m not sure how it would be perceived by the contractor’s board.

Appreciate any insights or firsthand experiences you can share, as the State Contractor License Board will NOT share any of the above interpretation with the public.

Apr 28, 14 6:03 pm

At least in most states, you don't need much beyond proof of bond and insurance to get a GC license. There isn't any education or experience requirement.

Apr 28, 14 10:28 pm  · 

i looked into it (not california) once because CEU's can be used for both.  seemed it would be fairly easy to get more letters behind my name, which i think would have been true.  the insurance would have been pretty expensive though, especially since i wouldn't really use it.

Apr 29, 14 10:23 am  · 

i don't know what it's like in other states, but in OR, it's pretty simple...i would even suggest it's pretty easy for any smart person

largely, it's about liability

Apr 29, 14 9:07 pm  · 

So you know that California is not like other states:  it's been a few years but I remember getting a couple years credit for an March1 of the four or so that are required.  So I got about 50% of the way there with my Architectural experience.  Architectural CA doesn't really count if I remember correctly.  They want to you to have more direct trade experience.  Supervision of a trade or trades does count obviously.   Owner/builder work might also count.  As for the test it's about 50% trade stuff, 50% legal.  It's not a  hard test, probably slightly easier than the ARE exams but I would still recommend that you study.  If you have significant real construction  experience you will need to study less.  GL insurance is not a state requirement,  but obviously if you plan on doing anything significant with your license you will need to address that quickly.  Good Luck.

Apr 29, 14 10:29 pm  · 
In CA, I believe you need 4 years experience working in construction in a supervising position. A degree in architecture will cover 3 of the 4. I'm not sure if overseeing a construction project from an architects perspective would count towards experience though.
Apr 29, 14 10:30 pm  · 

Noah Walker and others,

Thank you for the info.  I wasn’t sure how architectural working experience translate into the GC license requirements.  If CA experiences don’t count, than I think I’ll have a hard time qualifying, short of building my own house as an owner-builder….  

For those architects who have a GC license.  Have you find that to be beneficial? 

Apr 30, 14 1:26 pm  · 

Contracting is arguably worse than architecture. Everything gets bid to death, bids are out of your pocket, liability is serious, competition is fierce, architects and owners are your enemy, subs are less than reliable, suppliers will make your schedule miserable and there are at least half a dozen things I haven't even mentioned.

Apr 30, 14 3:52 pm  · 
1  · 

You also don’t get to pick your subs (at least on public work) so you’re fighting them to do their job while fighting the design team and getting yelled at by the owner (and school board committee’s )


Miles is right, and yet at the end of the day it's still a heck of a lot more rewarding than just being an architect.

Apr 30, 14 7:52 pm  · 

I think we all feel, the other side is bright. But whichever field we work , we should put all our effort in it. I didn't have much trouble getting a license after enrolling in a contractor's licensing school. If you are more ambitious and want to grow to the next level you can choose to be a contractor. It's not an easier job. Before taking a decision, work under a contractor.

Jun 3, 16 3:34 am  · 
1  · 

HI EVERYONE. I got my BD in my homecountry, but I don't know what can I do to become an architect here in the USA. I live in Californi, and I just need a guide to follow, thank you


Jul 25, 16 4:15 pm  · 
1  · 

Send me an email Andres, I can walk you through it...


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