Wisconsin Contractor Licenses

Most residential builders must have a state credential. Electricians, plumbers and some specialty trades must have a state credential. For a complete list of credential categories in Wisconsin, go to http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/SB/SB-CredList.html. To verify that a contractor has their credentials, click on http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/SB/SB-CredentialStatusCheck.html. Contractor forms are available online at http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/SB/SB-DivForms.html.

Contractor License Lookup in Wisconsin

Where do you go when you want to lookup the license of a contractor in Wisconsin? To find out who has the right credential, call the Credentialing Unit at (608) 261-8500.


To file a construction permit for a one- or two-family dwelling, you have to have a credential. To apply for the credential, contact:

Department of Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division
201 W. Washington Avenue
P. O. Box 7082
Madison, WI 53707-7082
(608) 261-8500
http://commerce.wi.gov/

You will need to post a $25,000 bond or document $250,000 of liability insurance. You also have to document workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance. It will cost you $10 nonrefundable to file the application. The credential fee is $40.


Asbestos Abatement Certification

With a few exceptions, you need to be certified to work on asbestos abatement in Wisconsin. To apply for certification, contact:

The Asbestos Unit
Bureau of Public Health
Room 137, 1 West Wilson Street
Madison, WI 53701
(608) 261-6876
http://www.dhfs.state.wi.us/licensing.htm

The Bureau issues the following types of certificates:

Worker Project designer
Supervisor Roofing worker
Inspector Roofing supervisor
Management planner

To qualify for a certificate you must complete a training course and pass a closed book, multiple choice exam. Here’s a summary showing each type of certificate, the length of its training course, number of questions on its exam, and the fee you have to pay for the certificate:

Worker 
Length of training: 32 hour course
Number of exam questions: 50
Fee: $50

Supervisor 
Length of training: 40 hour course
Number of exam questions: 100
Fee: $100

Inspector 
Length of training: 24 hour course
Number of exam questions: 50
Fee: $150

Project designer 
Length of training: 24 hour course
Number of exam questions: 100
Fee: $150

Management planner 
Length of training: 24 hour asbestos inspector course, 16 hour asbestos management planner course
Number of exam questions: 50
Fee: $100

Roofing worker 
Length of training: 8 hour course
Number of exam questions: 35
Fee: $25

Roofing supervisor 
Length of training: 8 hour roofing worker course plus 8 hour roofing supervisor course
Number of exam questions: 50
Fee: $50

If you have a valid certificate in another state and you got your certificate by completing an EPA-accredited training course or a course equal to Wisconsin’s, you can petition the Bureau to be certified in Wisconsin. You won’t have to repeat the training or work experience the Bureau requires. However, you may have to pass a Wisconsin exam and you’ll still have to pay the certification fee.

A certificate is good for one year.


Lead Abatement Certification

With a few exceptions, you need to be certified to work on lead abatement in Wisconsin. To apply for certification, contact:

The Lead Unit
Bureau of Public Health
Room 137, 1 West Wilson Street
Madison, WI 53701
(608) 261-6876
http://dhfs.wi.gov/

The Bureau issues the following types of certificates:

Worker Risk assessor
Supervisor Project designer
Inspector

To qualify for a certificate you must complete a training course and pass a closed book exam. You have to have taken the training within 24 months or less from when you apply for a certificate. If more than 24 months have elapsed, you’ll have to take a refresher course before you can get certified. If you took your training in another state, you can possibly get it approved by Wisconsin. Here’s a summary showing each type of certificate, its training course, and the fee you have to pay for the certificate:

Lead-Safe Worker 
Fee: $50

Abatement Worker 
Training course(s) required: Worker
Fee: $75

Abatement Supervisor 
Training course(s) required: Supervisor
Fee: $125 + $50 (exam)

Inspector 
Training course(s) required: Inspector
Fee: $150 + $50 (exam)

Project Designer 
Training course(s) required: Project designer plus supervisor
Fee: $175

Risk Assessor 
Training course(s) required: Risk assessor plus inspector
Fee: $175 + $50 (exam)

Sampling Technician
Fee: $50

Hazard Investigator
Fee: $175 + $50 (exam)

There are also some special requirements for supervisor, project designer, and risk assessor certificates. If you want to get a supervisor certificate you’ll have to complete one of the following:

  • one year of experience as a certified lead abatement worker
  • two years of work experience in a related field such as asbestos, environmental remediation, or construction

For a project designer certificate you’ll have to complete one of the following:

  • bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or a related profession and one year of experience in building construction and design or a related field
  • four years of work experience in building construction and design or a related field

For a risk assessor certificate you’ll have to complete one of the following:

  • bachelor’s degree and one year of experience in building construction and design or a related field
  • associate’s degree and two years of experience in building construction and design or a related field
  • high school diploma or equivalent and three years of experience in building construction and design or a related field
  • hold a professional certification as an industrial hygienist, professional engineer, registered architect, safety professional, or environmental scientist

A certificate is good for one year.


Electrician’s Credentials

In Wisconsin you can get a state master, journeyman, or electrical contractor credential which allows you to do electrical work in any municipality in the state that requires a license. To apply, contact:

Department of Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division
201 W. Washington Avenue
P. O. Box 7082
Madison, WI 53707-7082
(608) 261-8500
http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/

To get an electrical contractor’s credential, you must be the head of your company and give the Division the following:

  • your social security number
  • your workers’ compensation number
  • your unemployment insurance account number
  • your state tax identification number
  • your federal tax identification number
  • the names and addresses of all the officers of your company

Electrical contractor’s credential fees: It’ll cost you $35 nonrefundable to file an application. The credential costs $200 and it’s good for four years.

To be certified as a master or journeyman you need to pass an open book exam on the National Electrical Code and the electrical code part of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. To qualify for the master electrician exam you need 1,000 hours per year of electrical construction work experience for at least seven years. You can substitute 500 hours of work experience for each semester you’ve completed in accredited electrical study, up to 3,000 hours.

There are two ways to qualify for the journeyman electrician exam. One way is to complete 1,000 hours per year of electrical construction work experience for at least five years, substituting 500 hours of work experience for each semester you’ve completed in accredited electrical study, up to 2,000 hours. The other way is to complete an electrical apprenticeship program recognized by Wisconsin and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Electrician’s credential fees: It will cost you $65 nonrefundable to file the application and take the exam for master or journeyman. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $80 to get your credential. The credential is good for four years.


Plumber’s Credentials

To do plumbing work in Wisconsin you must get a credential. To apply for the credential, contact:

Department of Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division
201 W. Washington Avenue
P. O. Box 7082
Madison, WI 53707-7082
(608) 261-8500
http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/

The Division issues the following plumbing credentials:

Master Journeyman – restricted service
Master – restricted appliance Pipe layer
Master – restricted service Apprentice
Journeyman Plumbing learner – restricted appliance
Journeyman – restricted appliance Plumbing learner – restricted service

To be certified as a master or journeyman, you need to pass an open book exam on Chapter 145 of the Wisconsin Statutes and sections of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. You’ll get a copy of Chapter 145 with your credential application.

To qualify for the master plumbing exam, you need 1,000 hours per year of work as a licensed journeyman plumber for at least three consecutive years or a degree in civil engineering, mechanical engineering, or other approved engineering degree related to plumbing. For either master plumber restricted exam, you need only two years of work experience as a journeyman.

To qualify for the journeyman exam you must complete a Division-approved plumbing apprenticeship program. For the journeyman (restricted appliances) exam you need 1,000 hours of work experience and the following educational courses:

  • plumbing code – 40 hours
  • blueprint reading – 20 hours
  • transit or builder’s level – 10 hours
  • construction related mathematics – 20 hours
  • first aid and safety – 10 hours

For the journeyman (restricted sewer services) you need 1,000 of work experience and these educational courses:

  • plumbing code – 40 hours
  • blueprint reading – 20 hours
  • plumbing related mathematics – 10 hours
  • appliance and equipment servicing – 30 hours

Plumber’s credential fees: It will cost you $50 nonrefundable to file any master plumber application and take the exam. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $250 to get your credential. The credential is good for two years.

It costs $30 nonrefundable to file any journeyman plumber application and take the exam. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $90 to get your credential. The credential is good for two years.

To work on water service lines and sewers you need a utility contractor’s credential To qualify for the utility contractor exam you have to be at least 18 years old. It costs $40 nonrefundable to file an application and take the exam. The credential costs $250 and it’s good for two years.

To work on water service lines and sewers under the supervision of a licensed utility contractor, licensed master plumber, or a licensed master plumber (restricted sewer service), you need a pipe layer’s credential. It’ll cost $10 nonrefundable to file an application. The credential costs $90 and it’s good for two years.


HVAC Credentials

To do HVAC work in Wisconsin you must get a credential. To apply for the credential, contact:

Department of Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division
201 W. Washington Avenue
P. O. Box 7082
Madison, WI 53707-7082
(608) 261-8500
http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/

HVAC credential fees: The Division issues HVAC contractor and qualifier credentials. To qualify for an HVAC contractor credential you must be the head of your company. It’ll cost you $10 nonrefundable to file an application for a contractor credential. The credential costs $100 and it’s good for four years.

To qualify for the HVAC qualifier credential exam you need to have 1,000 hours per year for four years of work experience in HVAC. You also need four years in an accredited technical school or a combination of work experience and study for four years.

It costs $30 nonrefundable to file an HVAC qualifier application and take the exam. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $60 to get your credential. The credential is good for four years.


Fire Sprinklers Credentials

To work on fire sprinklers in Wisconsin you must get a credential. To apply for the credential, contact:

Department of Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division
201 W. Washington Avenue
P. O. Box 7082
Madison, WI 53707-7082
(608) 261-8500
http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/

The Division issues fire sprinkler contractor, journeyman fitter, sprinkler maintenance contractor, and sprinkler maintenance fitter credentials.

Fire sprinklers credential fees: To qualify for a fire sprinkler contractor credential you have to pass an exam. It costs $125 nonrefundable to file an application and take the exam. The credential costs $1,000 and it’s good for two years.

To qualify for the journeyman sprinkler fitter credential exam you need to have completed a Division-approved automatic fire sprinkler system apprenticeship. It will cost you $30 nonrefundable to file the application and take the exam. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $90 to get your credential. The credential is good for two years.

To qualify for the sprinkler maintenance contractor credential you have to pass an exam. It costs $75 nonrefundable to file the application and take the exam. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $200 to get your credential. The credential is good for two years.

To get a sprinkler maintenance fitter credential you have to file an application with the Division. It will cost you $10 nonrefundable to file the application and $30 to get your credential. The credential is good for two years.


Tank Installer’s Credentials

To work on tanks in Wisconsin you must get a credential. To apply for a credential, contact:

Department of Commerce
Storage Tank Regulation
P. O. Box 7837
Madison, WI 53707
(608) 266-7874
Fax: (608) 261-7725
http://www.commerce.state.wi.us/

The Division issues tank specialty, aboveground tank system installer, underground tank system installer, tank system liners, and tank system removers and cleaners credentials.

Tank installer’s credential fees: To qualify for a tank specialty firm credential you must be the head of your company. It will cost you $20 nonrefundable to file the application and $15 to take the exam. The credential costs $50 and it’s good for two years.

To qualify for any of the other credentials you need to pass an exam. It costs $20 nonrefundable to file the application and $15 to take the exam. When you pass the exam you’ll have to pay $50 to get your credential. The credential is good for two years.


Pump Installer’s Credentials

To do pump installation business in Wisconsin you must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources. To get an application, contact:

Department of Natural Resources
101 South Webster Street
P. O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
(608) 266-0153
Fax: (608) 267-7650
http://dnr.wi.gov/

You must pass an exam the Department gives to prove you’re competent to do pump installation work. The exam is on Department rules, well location and pump installation requirements, driven point well construction, and sampling and reporting requirements. The Department will send you a study guide for the exam after they get your completed application.

Pump installer’s credential fees: You will have to pay a $25 application fee but not until the Department requests it. Then there’s a $25 registration fee when you pass the exam and get your registration. Registration is good for one year and it expires on December 31 each year.


Well Driller’s Credentials

To do well drilling business in Wisconsin you must be registered with the Department of Natural Resources. To get an application, contact:

Department of Natural Resources
101 South Webster Street
P. O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
(608) 266-2621
Fax: (608) 267-3579
http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/dwg/

You must pass an exam the Department requires before you can be registered. The exam is on Department rules, well construction, reconstruction, well abandonment, location requirements, and sampling and reporting requirements. To take the exam you must have two years of supervised well drilling experience within the last five years. You must also have drilled at least 30 wells or have 1,500 hours of well drilling in two years, with at least ten wells or 750 hours in a single year.

If you have a valid well drilling license in another state which you got by fulfilling requirements similar to Wisconsin’s, you may qualify for the exam directly. You will need to submit Department Form 3300-94 and a photograph of yourself operating a drilling rig with your application. The Department will evaluate your license and notify you if you qualify or not.

The Department will send you a study guide for the exam after they get your completed application.

Well driller credential fees: You’ll have to pay a $50 application fee but not until the Department requests it. Then there’s a $50 registration fee when you pass the exam and get your registration. Registration is good for one year and it expires on December 31 each year.


Department of Transportation (DOT)

To bid on any Wisconsin Department of Transportation construction project, you must be prequalified by the Department. To get the Prequalification Statement, contact:

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Bureau of Highway Construction
4802 Sheboygan Ave., Room 601
P. O. Box 7916
Madison, WI 53707-7916
(608) 266-1631
http://www.dot.state.wi.us/

The Transportation Department will ask you for these items:

  • financial statement
  • which types of work you want to be prequalified for
  • your current and past work projects
  • what equipment your firm owns
  • maximum amount of work (in dollars) you would be willing to undertake

You’ll also be asked which of the following types of work you want to be prequalified in and what the maximum amount of work (in dollars) you think you can do for each of those types:

General construction Rail construction or rehabilitation
Grading Bridge painting
Concrete pavement Street or airport lighting
Asphaltic pavement Building construction
Gravel or crushed stone Incidental construction
Structures

The Department will use this information to give your company a prequalification rating. Prequalification is good for 16 months from the date of your financial statement.


Out-of-State Corporations

Out-of-state corporations doing business in Wisconsin must qualify with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. For information, contact:

contact.GIF (447 bytes) Department of Financial Institutions
345 W. Washington Ave.
P.O. Box 7846
Madison, WI 53707-7846
(608) 261-7577
http://www.wdfi.org

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