Maryland Contractor Licenses

Situated near the nation’s capital, Maryland ranks as the 4th state with the largest percentage of federal workers in the U.S. With a population of more than 6 million people, the state of Maryland boasts a bustling economy, reaching a median household income of $75,847 in 2017, up 2.4% from 2014.

What it means to be licensed

To be a licensed contractor in Maryland means that you have met all state requirements and are authorized to perform the work you’ve been licensed for.

Being a licensed contractor also requires you to secure a set amount of money to ensure that you’ll be provided coverage in case of loss or default.

Do You Need a General Contractor’s License in Maryland?

General contractors are not required to apply for a license to render services in Maryland. However, those whose trade involves home improvement, electrical, plumbing, and HVACR work will need a license before they do. Although not a general contractor, to search for home improvement licenses in Maryland, check out our section on looking up licenses.

All licensing processes in the state of Maryland are handled by the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) except for those who wish to perform their trade in Baltimore County and in areas under the jurisdiction of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

You can contact DLLR using the following information:

The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
500 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651
410-230-6309
1-888-218-5925

Email: [email protected]

Why You’re Better Off Hiring Licensed Contractors in Maryland

Did your pipes burst? Is your electrical wiring faulty? Are you having thermostat issues in your HVAC system? If you have a knack for DIY, it can be incredibly tempting to fix these issues yourself.

Some jobs, however, are best left to the professionals. Not only can they provide you with long-term solutions, but they also have the comprehensive education and training needed to ensure that there will be no potential issues that may arise in the future.

Unlike DIY enthusiasts, these professionals have undergone structured training and a standard certification process to learn their trade. By hiring a professional tradesman, you are assured that the level of service meets a certain standard of excellence. As the old adage goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To top it off, hiring a licensed contractor ensures that any property damages or onsite accidents will be compensated. The state, after all, requires every licensed professional to maintain a certain amount of general liability insurance and workers compensation.

Contractor License Search and Lookup in Maryland

Imagine hiring someone who claims to be a master plumber and not being able to shake the feeling that this person is not who he claims to be. Fret not! You can verify if that person is listed as a licensed contractor in Maryland by looking up his/her name on the state’s official website.

To see if an individual or business is licensed, visit Maryland’s official government website and go to the Licensing Queries page. Click on the specific profession and you’ll be taken to a page where you can search for active licenses by name, location, or license registration number. It’s also the place where you go to search for licenses of home improvement contractors.

Those under the jurisdiction of the WSSC can search for and verify the authenticity of a plumber license through the WSSC Permit and Licensee Search page or here.

Contractor Prequalification in Baltimore County

Those who want to render services in Baltimore County with contracts exceeding $25,000 are required to undergo a bidding procedure for capital improvement contracts. The first order of business is to apply for prequalification at the Department of Public Works (DPW). The prequalification request should be approved at least ten business days prior to the specific date set for the opening of bids.

For complete information on the prequalification procedure, check the Rules for Prequalification of Contractors PDF document from Baltimore County’s government website.

You must submit all completed applications to the following address:

Division of Construction Contracts Administration

111 West Chesapeake Avenue, Room 300 B

Towson, Maryland  21204.

Baltimore County uses a tiered approach in managing and regulating contracting opportunities through its Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP).

Plumber’s Licenses Covered by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC)

The State of Maryland created the WSSC to serve as a separate government enterprise that aims to support and perform services for the residents of Prince George’s County and Montgomery County. As such, these Counties have their own rules and regulations as specified in WSSC’s Code & Standards when it comes to the plumbing trade.

All questions related to the licensing process should be directed to:

Regulatory Services Group

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

14501 Sweitzer Lane

Laurel, MD 20707-5902

(301) 206-8588

Apprentice Plumber

If you are new to the plumbing trade and want to perform work in Prince George’s County or Montgomery County, you need to apply for a WSCC apprentice license with the Regulatory Services Group.

Being an apprentice plumber authorizes you to provide assistance in plumbing projects. As an apprentice, you’re required to work on a job site under the direct supervision of a licensed journeyman plumber or a master plumber.

You’re not required to take any exams or provide any references to qualify for an apprenticeship.

An apprentice license doesn’t have an expiration date and will remain valid until you become a journeyman or your apprenticeship is deactivated.

Journeyman Plumber

Being a WSSC journeyman license holder authorizes you to provide plumbing services under the supervision and direction of a WSS licensed master plumber. To earn a journeyman license, you need to take the WSCC Journeyman Plumbing exam as administered by PSI.

Below are the requirements to qualify for a journeyman plumber exam

  1. Minimum of 7,500 hours of work experience as an apprentice (or equivalent work experience) under the direction of a Master Plumber over a period of four years.
  2. Examination fee.
  3. Three letters of reference issued by employers (or equivalent supervisor).
  4. Copy of Apprentice registration card.

Master Plumber

Obtaining a WSSC Master Plumber license authorizes you to own a plumbing business and to supervise journeymen plumbers and apprentice plumbers. You are required to take and pass the Master Plumber exam to become a master plumber.

The qualification requirements for obtaining a master plumber license are:

  1. +3,750 hours of work experience as a journeyman plumber under the direction of a licensed master plumber for a period of at least two years.
  2. Examination fee.
  3. Pass a State-approved 32-hour Backflow Prevention Certification Program (or a similar program from another jurisdiction) within three years prior to application.
  4. Three letters of reference from employers or equivalent supervisors.
  5. Journeyman registration card.

Have any questions?

Do you have any questions or concerns about the examination process? You can contact PSI through the following information:

PSI Licensure Certification

3210 E Tropicana Las Vegas, NV 89121

www.psiexams.com

(800) 733-9267

Fax (702) 932-2666

Fees

Registration and Renewal Fees

  • Examined Master Licenses – $108.00 (renews every 4 years)
  • Reciprocated Master Licenses – $102.00 (renews every 2 years)
  • All Journeyman Licenses – $31.00 (renews every 2 years)
  • Apprentice License – $11.00 (no expiration)

WSSC Additional Licensing Fees:

  • Change of company fee – $31.00
  • Duplicate license fee – $16.00

Late Renewal Fees

  • All Master Licensees – $52.00
  • All Journeyman Licenses – $21.00

Electrician’s Licenses

The Maryland State Board of Master Electricians issues only one license category: the master electrician license. A licensed master electrician can work unsupervised, run his own business, and supervise other electricians.

You can contact the Board using the information below:

Maryland State Board of Master Electricians

500 N. Calvert Street, Room 201

Baltimore, MD 21202-3651

Phone: 410-230-6231

Fax: 410-244-0977

E-mail: [email protected]

Do you want to take the master electrician’s license exams? To qualify, you need to satisfy any of the following requirements:

  • Seven years of active engagement with all types of electrical equipment and apparatus under the direction of a master electrician or a similarly qualified government employee.
  • Three years of required experience with proof of having undergone professional training in the electrical trade that is equivalent to the required experience.

You can obtain an application to take the master electrician’s license exams by contacting PSI Exams at 1-800-733-9267.

Once your application is approved, PSI will mail you a Qualification Information Handbook along with an application form for the examination. The application fee costs $65. You can pay the fee through money order, cashier’s check, personal check or company check. Cash payments will not be accepted.

You can send your payment to:

You can visit the PSI offices through the following address:

PSI Examination Services

3210 E. Tropicana Avenue

Las Vegas, NV 89121

Disabled applicants can request for a special arrangement by filling out the form at the end of Candidate Information Bulletin

PSI administers master electrician exams from Monday to Friday at six test centers in Maryland. All exams are scheduled by appointment.  The Master Electrician exam is an open book exam, which means candidates are allowed to bring with them reference books. However, materials have to be unmarked and can’t contain additional papers.

You need to acquire a minimum score of 70% in order to pass the exam. If you fail the exam, you need to wait for 30 days before you can be scheduled for another one.

If you pass the exam, PSI will mail you two approvals, one of which will be used for the issuance of your master electrician license.

As a licensed master electrician, you have to renew your license every two years starting from the date it was issued.

You can renew your master electrician license by logging in with your License Registration Number through this link.

Below is a breakdown of all fees involved in being a Master Electrician

  • Master (active): original – $20, renewal – $25
  • Master (inactive) (not insured): original – $20, renewal – $50
  • Active assignment to company: original – $20, renewal – $25

HVAC Contractor’s Licenses

The Maryland Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors issues four licensing categories in the HVAC trade: the master license, the master restricted license, the limited license, and the journeyman license. Their differences are based on level of experience and qualifications. Of course, your earning potential increases as well as you move up another level.

You can contact Maryland’s HVAC Board through:

Maryland Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors

500 North Calvert Street, Room 201

Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651

410-230-6231

Fax: 410-244-0977

e-mail: [email protected]

Apprentice HVAC Technician

An apprentice HVAC technician is authorized to provide assistance in HVAC projects under the direction of experienced technicians holding a master license, a master restricted license or a limited license.

You don’t need to take an exam to earn an apprentice HVAC technician license. You will be required to complete an application form to apply for an apprenticeship.

You can join the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program (MATP) to receive comprehensive and structured training. For apprenticeship opportunities, you can get assistance from an apprenticeship navigator by calling 410-767-2246 or emailing [email protected].

If you have any questions concerning the apprentice license application process, you can contact the Board secretary at 410-230-6159.

Journeyman HVAC Technician

A journeyman HVAC technician is someone who has completed an apprenticeship in the HVAC trade and has passed the journeyman HVAC exam. He is responsible for the repair, installation, and maintenance of HVAC systems, among other duties.

To become a licensed journeyman HVAC technician, you need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Has completed +1,875 hours of on-the-job training over a period of at least three years as a licensed apprentice who has completed at least 1,875 hours of training under the guidance of a licensed HVACR contractor.
  2. Passed the journeyman examination.
  3. Holds an apprentice license that’s in good standing.
  4. Completed an apprenticeship program approved by the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Council

For a complete list of exam application forms, go to this link.

Master HVAC Technician (Restricted License)

  1. Holds a Journeyman license and regularly employed to render HVACR services under the direction of a licensed HVACR Master for at least two years
  2. Minimum of 1,000 hours of work experience in the year prior to the application.
  3. Pass the limited contractor exam with a score of at least 70%.
  4. Holds a Journeyman license or a license of a higher level.

Master HVAC Technician

A master HVAC technician can start his own HVAC business and supervise other HVAC technicians.

To apply for a master license as an HVAC contractor, you need to meet the following requirements.

  1. At least three years of active experience working as a journeyman HVAC technician under the guidance of a master HVAC contractor.
  2. Acquire a minimum of 1,875 hours of work experience in the year prior to applying for a master license.
  3. Scored at least 70% in the master examination.
  4. Holds a journeyman license or a license of a higher level.

Taking the Exams

All licensing examinations are administered by PSI Examination Services. Please note that every application must be filed to the Board. Once your application is approved, your information will be forwarded to the test vendor, PSI, Inc. PSI will then provide the applicant with aIl the information required to take the examination.

Examinations are administered daily by PSI, Inc. in Baltimore, College, Park, Hagerstown, and Salisbury.

License Fees

  • Master: $75
  • Master Restricted: $25 for each category, maximum $75*
  • Limited: $75
  • Inspector: $0
  • Journeyman (including Journeyman Restricted): $20
  • Apprentice: $10

Plumber’s Licenses

The Maryland State Board of Plumbing handles and manages all licensing processes concerning the plumbing trade in the state of Maryland.

You can contact the Board through the following information:

Maryland Board of Plumbing

500 N. Calvert Street, Room 201

Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651

410-230-6231

Fax: 410-244-0977

e-mail: [email protected]

Apprentice Plumber

The state of Maryland provides apprentices with a wide range of opportunities to further their apprenticeship training. One such opportunity is the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program (MATP), which provides apprentice plumbers with the structured and comprehensive training that can help them gain the skills and credentials needed to be an accomplished plumber.

For apprenticeship opportunities, you can connect with an apprenticeship navigator by calling 410-767-2246 or emailing [email protected]. The navigator can fill you in on available apprenticeship programs in the plumbing trade.

Apprenticeship programs provide a combination of on-the-job training and professional instruction over a four-year period, which should give candidates enough time to complete the required minimum of 7,500 hours of supervised on-the-job work experience.

As you gain experience working as a registered apprentice, your pay is likely to increase as well.

Journeyman Plumber

You need to meet the following requirements to earn a journeyman plumber license:

  1. Has completed +7,500 hours of training under the guidance and direction of a licensed master plumber over a period of at least four years.
  2. Has undergone 32 hours of training in backflow prevention device testing.
  3. Has passed a comprehensive written examination.

Master Plumber

You can obtain a master plumber license by satisfying the following requirements:

  1. Has held a Journeyman license for at least two years.
  2. Has completed 3,750 hours of training under the guidance and supervision of a licensed Master Plumber.
  3. Has passed the written examination.

Taking the Exams

Exams are administered by PSI Examination Services on a weekly basis at PSI’s testing centers in Baltimore, College Park, Salisbury, Lanham, Crofton, and Hagerstown.

For any questions or concerns about the exams, you can contact:

PSI Examination Services

100 West Broadway, Suite 1100

Glendale, CA 91210-1202

1-800-733-9267

Fees

  • Master plumber:  license fee – $70
  • Journey plumber:  license fee – $35
  • Apprentice plumber:  license fee – $15

Home Improvement Contractor’s Licenses

You are required to obtain a state license from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission before you can perform home improvement projects in the state. Home improvement work involves the repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, or conversion of a residential building or an individual condominium.

Contact the Commission

Maryland Home Improvement Commission

500 North Calvert Street

Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651

410-230-6309

1-888-218-5925

e-mail: [email protected]

All applicants must take and pass the home improvement licensing exam before they can be eligible for a license. For questions concerning the exam, please contact PSI Examinations.

Minimum requirements for getting a contractor’s license

  1. At least two years of experience performing home improvement work, construction, and/or related education.
  2. Proof of financial solvency based on the applicant’s personal assets
  3. Articles of incorporation and a Certificate of Good Standing obtained from the Department of Assessments and Taxation
  4. Proof of $50,000 liability insurance
  5. Certificate of trade name registration

Taking the Exam — Home Improvement Commission

The home improvement license examination comprises of 55 questions, all of which are based on the laws and regulations concerning the home improvement business. Applicants must have a minimum score of 70% in order to pass the examination. Applicants who pass the examination have to apply for a license within two years or the test results become invalid and as such will have to retake the exam.

PSI Examination Services conduct exams for the Home Improvement Commission from Monday through Friday at testing centers in Baltimore, College Park, Salisbury, Frederick, Hagerstown, Lanham, and Crofton. The two-hour exam is done on the computer and costs $63.

PSI Examination Services

2950 North Hollywood Way, Suite 200

Burbank, CA 91505

For examination applications, call 1-800-367-1565, e-mail [email protected], or visit PSI’s website.

If you failed the exam, you have to wait 30 days before you can reapply.

Fees

Original License (2 year period)

  • Contractor
  • $250 Application Fee
  • $250 Per Each Additional Company Location
  • $100 Guaranty Fund Assessment
  • $  20 Processing Fee

Renewal License  (2 year period)

  • Contractor
  • $250 Application Fee
  • $250 Per Each Additional Company Location
  • $125 Guaranty Fund Assessment
  • $5.42  Credit Report
  •  § 8-303. Applications for licenses (d) (2)

Inactive License  (2 year period)

  • Contractor
  • $112.50 Change of Status Fee
  • $   50 Application Fee
  • $   135.00   Reactivation Feel

Continuous Inactive Status (2 year period)

  • Contractor
  • $112.50  Continuation of Inactive Status

Contractors License Reciprocity

Are you a licensed contractor from another state who wishes to perform your trade in Maryland?

Setting up shop in the state may not be as challenging as you think thanks to the reciprocity agreements the state of Maryland has entered into with other states.

A reciprocity agreement is a contract between two states allowing a trade license from one state to become valid in the other. In other words, it allows a licensed plumber from Maryland to perform his trade in a reciprocal state without needing to retake the trade exams.

Applying for a Reciprocal License – HVAC Contractors

Are you a licensed HVAC contractor in Delaware or Virginia? If yes, you can render HVAC services in the state of Maryland without going through a lot of hoops. You must submit the completed Reciprocity Application for Maryland HVACR License form along with an original letter of verification from the Virginia Board of Contractors or the Delaware State Division of Professional Regulation to the following address:

State Board of HVACR Contractors

500 N. Calvert Street, Room 201

Baltimore, Maryland 21202-3651

Applying for a Reciprocal License – Master Electricians

A reciprocity agreement between the Maryland Board of Master Electricians and the West Virginia State Fire Marshal states that anyone who holds a Master Electrician license issued by West Virginia may apply for a Master Electrician license in Maryland without taking the licensure exam, as long as the applicant has held the license for at least two years and is in good standing.

In the same vein, individuals licensed in Virginia and whose license is in good standing may apply for a license in Maryland without taking the written exam.

Master Electricians holding a Delaware license that’s in good standing for at least five years may also apply for a license in Maryland without taking the written exam.

The Board may also grant a reciprocal license to individuals who hold a Master Electrician’s license in any Maryland county or Baltimore City.

You can submit the completed Master Electrician Reciprocal form to the Maryland State Board of Master Electricians through the following address:

Maryland State Board of Master Electricians

500 N. Calvert Street, Room 201

Baltimore, MD 21202-3651

Phone: 410-230-6231

Fax: 410-244-0977

E-mail: [email protected]

Applying for a Reciprocal License – Plumbers

The Maryland State Board of Plumbing may issue a reciprocal license to anyone holding a Master or Journeyman Plumber/Gas Fitter license in Baltimore or WSSC. Online applications can be done online.

The Maryland Board also has a reciprocal agreement with the State of Delaware for the Master Plumber/Gas Fitter license ONLY. If you’re a Master License holder in Maryland, you can apply for a reciprocal license in Delaware online or through the phone.

You can also email your supporting documents through [email protected].