Ohio Contractor Licenses

There are certain types of contractor work that require state licenses, irregardless of the requirements from the individual cities and counties, and these include hydronics, plumbing, refrigeration, HVAC and electrical. We have tried gathering the local information for your convenience so you can easily see what the local requirements are too. General construction contractors are regulated on a local level, with each city or county having different rules and ways to ensure contractors have the necessary licenses.

Contractor License Lookup in Ohio

Where do you go when you want to lookup the license of a contractor in Ohio? To find out if a contractor holds a license, go to the OCILB eLicense Center. This database includes the specific trades that are regulated at state level.

We have tried finding the specific city level information below to make it easier for you to find, although the cities’ own websites will have more extensive information.



The city of Columbus requires different contractors to have licenses, including:

  • OCILB: Plumbing, refrigeration, heating, electrical
  • Journeyperson plumber
  • General contractors: New structures, additions, commercial, and work on multi-family dwellings is the general definition that they use.
  • Sign installer
  • Home improvement: Improvements, conversion, remodel, and repair work.
  • Fire: Work related to fire detection and protection
  • Demolition: Any sort of demolition work.
  • Sewer contractor: Sewer work, or a combination of sewer and water work.

Get more information here.



Cleveland requires permits or licenses for a bunch of different jobs, including solar, pool, plumbing, painting, new home construction, HVAC, fencing, electrical, driveways and more.

To find out if a contractor has the necessary permits, contact the Department of Building and Housing below

Department of Building and Housing
Ayonna Blue Donald, Interim Director
601 Lakeside Ave. Room 510
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
P: 216.664.2282



You can find the registered contractors in Cincinnati using this page.



Access the City Of Toledo’s website to see if the contractor has the required licenses.



Find a list of all the registered electrical, heating, pipe laying and plumbing contractors on this page.


To do contractor work in Parma, a contractor will need to register with the Building Department according to the information on this page, which includes a lot of different types of work like siding, roofing, waterproofing and more.


Here you can find a list of the different types of contractors in the City of Hamilton.

State-Regulated Licenses

There are certain requirements for the state-regulated licenses that you can read more about here. They include that the applicant:

  • Is 18 or older, is a citizen or legal alien
  • Has 5 or more years of experience
  • Does not have a disqualifying offense.
  • Will take and pass the required exam specific to the relevant trade.
  • Pays all the relevant fees.
  • Has the necessary liability coverage.

The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB) needs to approve the application before you are able to take the exam. For more information, you can contact OCILB using the following information

Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of Industrial Compliance
Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board (OCILB)
6606 Tussing Road
P.O. Box 4009
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-9009
Phone (614) 644-3493

When your application to take the exam has been approved, you will then need to take the specific trade exam as well as the business and law exam. To pass the business and law exam you need at least 70% correct. It’s a 50 question exam that you have 120 minutes to complete. It’s also open book.

These are the different topics of the exam:

  • Business structure, practices and licensing
  • Contracts and acceptance
  • Estimating and bidding
  • Financing and record keeping
  • Insurance and bonding
  • Labor laws and personnel policies
  • Project management and planning
  • Safety and OSHA compliance
  • Tax, lien laws and dispute resolution

Reciprocity program

Ohio has reciprocity with other states, that may make it possible to get your license transferred there. The reciprocity program for contractors currently is available with, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia for the following categories.

reciprocity states

Ohio Electrical License

To lookup an electrical license in Ohio, you need to visit OCILB, where you also check the other state-regulated licenses.

To obtain an electrical license in Ohio, you will need to pass the business and law exam, and the state board needs to approve your application too. You also need at least five years of experience to qualify, and the exam is 4 hours long with 100 questions.

These are the topics covered in the exam to get an electrical license.

  • Boxes
  • Cabinets
  • Cables
  • Conductors
  • Conduit bodies
  • Control devices
  • General electrical knowledge,
  • Miscellaneous
  • Motors and generators
  • Panelboards
  • Raceways
  • Service feeders and branch circuits
  • Special occupancies and uses
  • switchboards
  • Transformers and equipment
  • Utilization equipment and devices
  • Wiring methods and installation

General Contractor License Ohio

The general contractors do not have a state-regulated license, so the specific requirements are determined by each city. In the city of Columbus, the requirements for obtaining a general contractor license includes that you’re at least 18, that you’re legally allowed to work in the US and that you have no less than three years of experience in the construction of one to three-family dwellings with an unrestricted license. The alternative is at least one year of experience with a limited license.

Ohio Plumbers License

Plumbers are issued licenses by the state in Ohio, which also means you can visit OCILB to check the license of a contractor. To get a plumbers license, you need to pass the business and law exam too. The trade exam is 4 hours long with 100 questions to answer. You need 70% right to pass, and these are topics that are covered by the exam. It’s an open book exam and these are the topics:

  • Cleanouts
  • Drainage Requirements
  • Fixtures
  • Interceptors
  • Materials and fundamentals
  • Plan analysis
  • Plumbing Materials & Fundamentals
  • Special Requirements
  • Traps
  • Vents
  • Water distribution

Ohio HVAC License

The exam to obtain an HVAC license in Ohio consists of 100 questions, is open book with a minimum requirement of 70% to pass. You have 240 minutes in total. These are the different aspects of the exam:

  • Air conditioning
  • Air ducts systems
  • Connectors
  • General knowledge
  • Heating systems
  • inspections
  • Operation procedures, maintenance and repairs
  • Piping systems
  • Refrigeration
  • Special equipment and appliances
  • Testing
  • Ventilation and exhaust systems
  • Warm air and heating distribution

Hydronics & Refrigeration Exam to Get a License

You can spend up to 240 minutes on the refrigeration exam with 60 questions. It’s also open book requiring you get 42 right answers. These are the topics covered.

  • Air duct and insulation
  • Compressors
  • Condensers
  • Cooling towers
  • Electrical and controls
  • Evaporators
  • General requirements
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Operation procedures
  • Piping inspection and field testing
  • Refrigerants
  • Terminology
  • Theory

The hydronics exam is up to 150 minutes long with 50 questions, where you need at least 35 correct. You need to pay $69 to take the exam.

  • Controls and control systems
  • Fuels and firing methods
  • General code applications and venting
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Piping, pumps and valves
  • Tests and inspections
  • Water supply treatment and feed

Filing an application to get pre-qualified to take the exam costs $25, you then need to pay for each exam, and a copy of the scores then need to be mailed as well as proof of liability insurance, to have your license issued.

Asbestos Abatement License in Ohio

Doing asbestos abatement work in Ohio requires that you are certified and licensed by the Ohio Department of Health to ensure the dangerous material is handled safely. There are different classifications that you need to look into to ensure you’re sufficiently certified and licensed.

  • Asbestos hazard abatement worker: A person in a non-supervisory capacity responsible removing or repairing areas with asbestos.
  • Asbestos hazard abatement specialist: Responsible for oversight of the work performed.
  • Asbestos hazard evaluation specialist: Responsible for Detection, identification and assessment.
  • Asbestos hazard project designer
  • Hazard abatement air-monitoring technician: Environmental monitoring and air-sampling

Certificates and licenses are obtained by contacting the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio EPA Contact Information:
Asbestos Program
50 W. Town St., Suite 700
Columbus, OH 43215
Telephone: (614) 466-0061
Fax: (614) 564-2481

E-mail: [email protected]

You can also apply for an asbestos certification online instead of filling out a hard copy form, and you will have the possibility to upload the necessary documents there too.

Department of Transportation

You must be pre-qualified to bid on Department of Transportation work in Ohio. To become pre-qualified, you can contact the DOT using the information below.

 Ohio Department of Transportation
Contractor Qualifications
25 South Front Street, Room 402
P.O. Box 899
Columbus, OH 43216-0899
(614) 466-2823
Fax: (614) 728-2078

All the information you will need on prequalification is available here on the Ohio DOT website. You can find all the information on what’s required in the process, also depending on which type of work it is.

When you send your application, the DOT will evaluate it on the basis of your past performance, credit record, experience, equipment and organizational structure. A prequalification is valid for one year at a time at which point it will need to be renewed.

Out-of-State Corporations Doing Business in Ohio

For businesses originally incorporated outside of Ohio, you will need to contact the Secretary of State in Ohio to be allowed to legally do work in the state. Their contact information is the following:

Ohio Secretary of the State
180 East Broad Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 466-3910

You can find all the necessary forms here as well as the fees you need to pay. All forms can also be submitted online through this page.