Frequently Asked Questions

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How can I apply for a plumbing, heating, fuel piping or fire sprinkler contractor or technician license?

Start by reviewing everything on the Exam Information page, including the information contained in the links. If you meet the requirements for the license(s) desired, you may begin the application and examination process.

Should I mail in my application package or use the online application portal?  

You may download and print an application from the Forms page, and mail it in with the other required documentation. If you mail your application package in, we suggest that you use a mailing or delivery service that provides package tracking. We have experienced delivery times of a week or more, and sometimes packages are never received.  If you would prefer to apply online, review everything on the Online Application page. You must have the ability to upload documents to the portal and pay online with MasterCard or Visa.

How long will it take to review my application? 

The Board receives thousands of application each year. Applications are reviewed in the order received, and review times will depend upon the number of applications received. Online applications are obviously received immediately upon sending and therefore available for staff review much quicker than applications that are mailed in. If an application is missing any of the required documentation, or requires additional supporting documentation, the applicant will be notified of the needed items and the application will be placed on hold unti the requested material is provided.  Online applications will not be approved until online payment has been made.


Does the Board require licensees to complete continuing education classes?

No. The requirement for continuing education as a condition of renewal was eliminated on December 31, 2012. The Board does still encourage licensees to seek out and complete continuing education on a regular basis to stay current on codes and industry practices. The mandatory continuing education requirement was replaced with Disciplinary Education.

How can I find information on continuing education or exam preparation courses? 

The Education page lists a number of course categories including Business, Fire Sprinkler, Fuel Gas, HVAC, Plumbing and Well, with items including code, design, examination and more. Selecting a category will provide a listing of independent education providers that have informed the Board that they wish to offer these courses. You must contact the provider directly for information on their class offerings, dates, fees and registration procedures.

What is Disciplinary Education and who is required to complete it?

The Board established the Disciplinary Education program on January 1, 2013.  If a complaint is received against a licensee, it is thoroughly investigated and may result in the Board requiring the licensee to complete specific Board-approved courses which address the issues identified during the investigation and ajudication process.  These special courses are Board Laws & Rules, Business Management, Plumbing Design & Code, Fuel Gas Design & Code, Well Seal Installation, Protection & Sanitation, Mechanical Code, and Mechanical Design. While many licensees are required to complete these classes to satisfy disciplinary requirements imposed by the Board, applicants and any other licensees may also attend the classes voluntarily.  Information on dates, locations and fees is available on the Education page.


I can’t make it to my exam. Can I reschedule or get my money back?
If you contact PSI at least three (3) days in advance,  you may reschedule at no additional charge.  If you do not reschedule or take the exam, the exam fee is forfeited.  You will need to contact the Board’s Exam Coordinator and pay the exam fee again.

I’ve taken the test before; do I need to complete the application packet again?
If applying for the same classification previously taken, you only need to complete and submit a Re-Examination application. If testing for a different classification, additional information may be required. If your criminal background report is more than six (6) months old, you will need to obtain and submit an updated report.

How can I prepare for my exam?
All examinations are based on the current North Carolina State Building Codes and other references. You will need the books to study for the test, and you also must take the books with you to use during your exam. Books must meet all requirements listed in the Book Reference List and Requirements, which is available on the Exam Information page of this site. The Education page has a listing of education providers that offer exam prep classes.
How much does the exam cost?
The examination application fee is $100.oo and is non-refundable.

When can I take the exam?
Testing is computer based and offered throughout the year through PSI. You will be notified when your application has been appproved, and you will also receive information on scheduling your exam with PSI. Your examination approval letter will list your “Authorization Period”, a 90-day window during which you must take your exam. The approval letter will also list your exam/candidate ID number which you’ll use to create your account with PSI. If you fail an examination, there is a 90-day waiting period before you can retest. In order to do so, you will need to submit a Re-Examination form and exam fee to the Board’s office.

Where do I have to take the exam?
All examinations are computer-based and administered by PSI Services LLC. Testing centers are located in Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston Salem. When registering for your examination with PSI online, you will be able to select your desired testing location and date. If you reside in another state that has PSI testing centers, you may be allowed to take the exam there.
When can I apply for the exam?
Applicants may apply anytime throughout the year. Once an applicant receives authorization from the Board, the applicant will then be able to set up a testing date and location with PSI Services.


How can I change the company name on my license?
You should verify that your chosen name is available. Names can be checked using the License Search or by calling our offices at (919) 875-3612. You should also check name availability with the North Carolina Secretary of State.
Once you’ve verified name availability, you will need to complete a Reissuance of License/Name Change Application. You can find the application on our Forms page.

Can I ‘moonlight’ with my license?

No. The license must be listed with the Board in the name in which business is being conducted and may only be used for contracting and permitting in that name. Performing work in any name or capacity other than what is listed with the Board is not allowed.

Do all persons in a firm have to hold a license?
No. Each place of business of a licensed firm must have at least one listed qualified individual regularly on active duty to supervise and direct all licensed work, which may be performed by the license or by the firm’s bonafide W2 employees.

Can I hold more than one type of plumbing, heating, fuel piping or fire sprinkler license?
Yes. You can hold any license that you qualify for through experience, education, certification and examination. Requirements vary for different qualifications, so be sure to check the requirements on the Exam Information page of this site.

Is a license required to work on State or Federal properties?
Where certain land has been coded to the Federal Government under NCGS 104-7 and a Federal project is to be constructed on such land, state licensing regulations are not applicable to a contractor bidding or hired to work on the project. This means that a contractor not licensed in North Carolina can perform work on a Federal project located on federally-owned land within North Carolina without holding a North Carolina license. Generally, such a Federal construction project would take place on land ceded by the State to the Federal Government for military installations.

On properties owned by the State of North Carolina, such as colleges, universities, and correctional facilities; on properties owned by counties or municipalities; and on properties under private ownership, North Carolina licensing regulations are applicable and any contractor bidding or performing plumbing, HVAC, fuel piping or fire sprinkler work on such project would have to conform with North Carolina licensing requirements. This also applies to properties that are leased by the Federal Government, such as post offices and military recruiting stations.

If the license holder leaves the company, what can the company continue to do?
If the license holder of the firm is unable to perform the duties required of a licensee for any reason (including illness, injury, death, termination, resignation, active military duty, etc.) all contracting activity (including quoting, bidding, contracting, obtaining permits, and performing work – including work in progress) must cease until another licensee is put in place as the firm’s qualifier.


When do I need to renew my license?
The license must be renewed annually to remain active and valid. All licenses issued by the Board expire on December 31st of each year.

How long do I have to renew an expired license?
An expired license may be renewed for up to three years after expiration with payment of back fees and late fees. If a license remains expired for more than three years, it cannot be renewed and the licensee must take and pass the required examinations in order to reinstate the license.

How soon can I renew my license?
The renewal period begins 90 days prior to expiration date, usually on October 1st.

Will I be notified when I need to renew?
Renewal invoices are mailed to address on file for the licensee in early October, and email notices are also sent to licensees who have provided us with a valid email address. If you do not receive a renewal invoice or notice, you are still responsible for renewing the license.

How do I renew?
You may return the renewal invoice with a check or money order to the Board’s office, OR you can renew online to save time and postage costs. To renew online you will need your User ID and Password. You can find your login information on your renewal form, and it will also be listed in your emailed renewal notification.

How do I print my certificate when I renew online?
When renewing online you are responsible for printing your own license certificate; WE WILL NOT MAIL YOU ONE. The Board will only mail you a certificate if you mail or deliver your renewal application and payment to the Board’s office. When renewing online, once you submit payment, a link will appear for you to print a copy of your new license certificate. To print your license certificate any other time, you will need to login to your license account and click the “Print Certificate” link on the license profile.

How do I renew an expired license?
If you are within three years of your expiration date, please visit the License Renewal page for details. If your license expired more than three years ago, it cannot be renewed.  You must take the examination(s) in order to reinstate the license.