Can A Felon Get A Contractor License?

Construction work has long been one of the most admired blue-collar jobs. Not only can it be well-paid, you often get to be your own boss.

There are numerous jobs one can find on the construction site, with many being contractor jobs. There are many niches one can focus on, or simply work as a general contractor.

For felons, the ability to work freely and make a good living is desirable. But, can a felon get a contractor license?

can a felon get a contractor license

This is vital as a license is a must for certain jobs. The National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) provides the rules. Though licensing protocols may still vary as per state and county.

Each state has its version of a state licensing board. They often set out certain requirements that applicants must meet to get a license. This can include skills and education.

For many professions, these licensing boards also have character standards. This is where many felons may fall short. But before we delve into this, let’s look at why this career makes for a good choice.

Why Work as A Contractor?

As said, this is an often lucrative career. You often get to set the pricing for projects you are working on. This control often allows contractors to enjoy good pay.

When it comes to taxes, business owners can calculate this on earnings after expenses. This is unlike salaried employees who are taxed before factoring in their expenses.

However, one must ensure they do not set too high a price. The market can still be tough. If clients think you are inflating prices, they may opt for another contractor.

You also get to enjoy being our own boss. For many people, this means choosing how much of the profit to enjoy from each project. And control over how to handle projects.

an felon get a contractor license

For many people, being a business owner is far more rewarding than working for others. And this is made easy when you are a contractor. You can start small and build up a bigger firm that offers jobs to others.

This flexibility is great. You get to set your own schedules, choose suppliers, and customers. It also means being able to manage and balance work/life.

Many people also more fulfilled by such blue-collar work. Putting up homes and commercial developments can be tough but rewarding. Seeing the final result and how it benefits its owners can also be a joy.

The variety of jobs often means changing locations as soon as projects are done. This can be stimulating and make for a more challenging work life.

So what does being a contractor entail and how does one qualify?

Becoming A Contractor

As mentioned, contractors work on construction projects. They are often part of the crews while building, renovating, and making repairs. They work with the owners to realize what needs to be done.

Contractors also work in tandem with suppliers of building materials. This coupled with their labor costs helps guide the quotes they give to property owners. Permit costing is also factored in where needed.

They also work with other contractors in other niches. This is to ensure the overall successful completion of the project. And see to worker safety.

can felon get contractor license

When trying to join the industry, it can help to start early. High school elective classes in electricity, carpentry, and drafting can help build a strong core.

Many teens also start construction work right out of high school. It helps acquaint them with this work environment. And gain some experience on such issues as time management and workplace safety.

While job experience helps, earning certifications and degrees can also be key. Here contractors can get deeper training on certain subjects. This can include accounting for businesses, how different construction materials work, and building codes.

This training can be acquired through vocational schools, colleges, or even military experience.

Pursuing academic certifications is advisable, but also seek out an apprenticeship. The hands-on skill will prove valuable. Getting that real-world guidance and training will form the basis of whatever business you later establish.

As said, licensing is also required. Consult NASCLA to find out the process and requirements for your state. There are also often insurance and bonding standards that may vary by state.

Continued training is advisable in this industry. This is because new technologies and changing laws are part of the business.

Keeping current can help in remaining competitive. It makes you better able to advise clients properly.

Can Felons Become Contractors?

Contractors often have to get and maintain multiple licenses. Some are issued by the state, county, or city. These applications are thoroughly vetted, including running of background checks.

Each licensing authority will have its rules when it comes to handling felon applicants. They will often define what offenses may disqualify an applicant. Many also show what can lead to suspension of a license.

When applying for a license, you will often be given a chance to explain the situation. This is a chance to make your case. You need to show that you are fully rehabilitated.

This should be supported by recommendation letters from upstanding members of society. Preferably clergy, other contractors, and law enforcement. They need to give a positive character reference and indicate how you have changed for the better.

Other factors that are considered include the severity of the offense and when it was committed.


Buildings are continually needed. Whether for homes or business, contractors are constantly being sought out to help make spaces livable and workable.

But to earn this professional license, one must be deemed fit. Do review your jurisdictions’ licensing rules and standards. This can help in confirming if your offenses will still permit you to join the industry.

Be honest about your history as background checks are certain. Lying to licensing authorities may not only cost you your chance but may also lead to prosecution.

Note that good references, a steady work history, and other proof of rehabilitation can also help.

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