How to Get Your Texas Contractor License


Know what type of Texas contractor bond you need before starting your business?

Photo credit: Calsidyrose / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Are you from Texas and looking to start your own construction company? Being a newbie in any industry can be quite frustrating, especially with all the paperwork you have to acquire before setting out to develop your business. The perfect place to start is getting your Texas contractor license. You need to do this before anything else, as you are not allowed to operate as a contractor in the state if you are not licensed.

Getting a contractor’s license in Texas may not be the easiest task, as different types of contractors need to fulfill different requirements and get licensed by different institutions. For example, all HVAC contractors, plumbers and electricians need to get their license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, while for a fire sprinkler license you need to go to the Texas Department of Insurance. General contractors, such as homebuilders, are not required by the state to have a practicing license, although it might be a good idea to double check with the municipality in which you are located.

Fire Sprinkler Licensing

If you are looking into becoming a fire sprinkler contractor, you need to get licensed as it is a type of specialty contractor job. Your license will be issued by the Texas Department of Insurance and it will be signed by the Fire Marshall.

The Fire Marshall issues three types of certificates — general, dwelling, and underground water supply piping. To get the certificate you are looking for you need to provide proof of insurance (including $100,000 per occurrence with $300,000 total coverage), authority to do business in Texas from the Texas Secretary of State or the County Clerk, a letter of good standing with the Texas Comptroller and you need to hire at least one full-time employee, who will also be licensed by the Fire Marshall to be your Responsible Managing Employee (RME).

The last thing you need to do to get licensed as a fire sprinkler contractor is to pass a course and an exam at the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. Sitting for the exam is subject to a fee, which depends on the certificate level you wish to obtain.

Plumbing License


All plumbers need to pass an exam before getting licensed to practice.

Photo credit: John Carleton / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In order to become a licensed plumber in Texas you need to take a master exam before applying for your license certificate.

To sit for the master exam you need to have had a journeyman license in Texas for at least one calendar year. If you have already done that, then you need to contact the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners to register for the exam, which will cost you $155.

The exam consists of two parts—a written section and a hands-on test. The written part will have questions regarding plumbing mathematics, both general and specific to water heater installation codes, occupational safety, health administration, etc. The hands-on part of the exam will revolve around designing different sizing charts.

HVAC Licensing

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation offers two types of HVAC licenses, depending on the contractor work you plan on doing. The class A license allows you to work on any size of HVAC equipment, while class B license-holders can only operate on up to 25 tons of cooling and 1.5 million BTU of heating equipment.

Before acquiring either of these two licenses you need to pass an exam to prove yourself qualified to do the work. In order to register for the exam you need to have had three years of work experience in the last five years. If you have a degree in refrigeration, engineering, mechanical engineering or air conditioning engineering, you can substitute that for up to two years of the practical-work experience requirement.

After you have passed the exam you need to get the appropriate insurance in order to obtain the license you need. The license application fee itself costs $90.

Electrician Licensing


There are 12 different electrician licenses you can apply for in Texas.

Photo credit: LAD0T / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

In order to get an electrician license, you first need to very carefully choose which one you actually need. The department issues twelve different electrician licenses. Apprentices also need to get licensed. All licenses are subject to different exams and have various work experience requirements. For example, in order to become a maintenance electrician, you need to have at least 8,000 hours of experience on the job under the supervision of a Master electrician.

Licensing fees also differ according to what type of contractor you apply to be.

Specialty Contractors – Start with Your Surety Bond!

Being a newbie in any industry can be hard. Therefore, just start with the basics. The first thing you will need to penetrate the Texas construction market is getting a contractor license bond.

The Contractor License Bond is a form of reassurance to your clients and government entities that you will follow the rules and regulations of the local authorities and that you will conduct your business with clients in an ethical manner. The bond also protects the end customer. Should you fall out of compliance with the license, your bond will cover your client’s losses, although the surety company will look to you for reimbursement.

With JW Surety Bonds, getting your Texas contractor surety bond is a simple and fast process. You can even get bonded if you have bad credit. JW Surety Bonds is the largest surety bond agency in the country, which allows us to approve contractors for bonds when other firms fail to do so.

If you wish to get your construction business going today, go ahead and apply online for your Texas Surety Bond.


Jason Doyle

I have a journeymans license. I want to know what I can work on legally if I get a contractors license

Eric Weisbrot

Hey Jason,

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations says a license is needed for:

Any labor or material used in installing, maintaining or extending an electrical wiring system and the appurtenances, apparatus or equipment used in connection with the use of electrical energy in, on, outside, or attached to a building, residence, structure, property, or premises.

You can read more here:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>