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What Out-of-State Contractors Need to Know About Licensing Exam and Reciprocal Information in Tennessee Part 1

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Planning on taking your services to the Volunteer State? Before you break ground in Tennessee, it’s important to procure the proper licensing and certifications to complete your project in accordance with the law. Illegal work can net you a significant fine and even affect the status of your license. In other words, contractor licensing in the Volunteer State is mandatory.

In this two-part article, a Knoxville construction lien lawyer will discuss the comprehensive licensing exam and reciprocal information in Tennessee. Remember, working without the correct license forfeits many of your rights, including the right to make a claim of lien against an owner who refuses to pay, so take the proper precautions and obtain the necessary licensing before proceeding with any out-of-state project.

Who Takes the Exam?

Any individual who is authorized to act as the Qualifying Agent (QA) for the contracting firm is approved to take the exam. Understand that the QA doesn’t retain sole ownership of the license. Issuance of the contractor’s license is reserved for the entity who provides the financial statement and insurance information. QAs are required to register with PSI Services, LLC in order to take the exam. PSI has testing centers located throughout Tennessee. Exam information can be found here. Interested QAs may want to search for code books and reference manuals geared toward PSI’s Tennessee exams. You must register ahead of time, and walk-ins are banned from participating in the exams, which are administered daily.

What Are the Two Types of Exams?

There are two types of exams, the business and law exam and trade exams, which cover a multitude of license classifications. Both of these exams cost $55. Fortunately, you don’t have to waste time waiting for the results, since scores are distributed at the end of the exam. Different entities can take different exams as needed for your business, or a single person can take multiple exams if qualified. The only occupation that must be approved before any testing can take place is plumbing. Plumbers are required to seek pre-approval before taking the plumbing (CMC-A) or full mechanical (CMC) exam.

The Tennessee “Business and Law” exam is a mandatory requirement for any contractor aiming to procure licensure in the Volunteer State. It is an open book test. Applicants should arm themselves with the “NASCLA Contractors Guide to Business, Law and Project Management” manual to increase their chance of passing.

“Trade” exams cater to various types of license classifications. For instance, if you simply want to build houses, you will need to take the BC-A exam which covers residential construction. It can be difficult to determine which exam is required for your prospective projects, so it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney before applying.

In part two, we will continue to discuss licensing exam and reciprocal information. Remember, failure to obtain the correct license could forfeit your lien rights, making it nearly impossible for you to recoup expenses that an owner refuses to pay for.

If you would like to speak with a Knoxville mechanics lien law attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.