an Arizona contractor’s license has historically required
passing two examinations and verifying your experience. On March
9, 2018, the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) began the process
for making a new rule that will affect the examination and
experience requirements for a new contractor’s license.
The new rule
will be largely favorable to contractors, with no detriment to
the public, continuing a recent trend in which the Registrar has
simplified the license application process,
removed the dual-license requirement,
enhanced the fairness of ROC hearings, and
removed the “project form” requirement from the application.
Here are the
highlights of the pending rule regarding examination and
most license applicants must take two examinations: the business
management examination (which will be renamed the “statutes and
rules examination”) and a trade examination.
The new rule
will raise the score required to pass each examination to 75%
(up from 70%). The Registrar reports that, if the passing score
had been at 75% in 2017, 640 applicants would not have passed on
their first attempt.
Even with the higher passing score, the new rule should make it
easier for contractors to get licensed.
Registrar predicts that the rule will increase the percentage of
successful applicants by reducing, eliminating and clarifying
experience requirements. The Registrar will be able to waive
experience requirements and instead accept either the trade
examination or a nationally recognized certification.
In response to an increased industry-wide emphasis on
examinations and certifications, the Registrar is:
reviewing all of its trade examinations for currency,
identifying which certification programs it will
recognize for licensing purposes, and
creating examinations for classifications that do not have an
associated trade examination.
The new rule
will also ease the experience requirement. When the Registrar
reviews experience, it must recognize experience that a person
gained even while working without a license or for an unlicensed
entity. The rule also requires the Registrar to recognize
experience acquired when a person was younger than age 18.
Behind the Rule
In support of the rule change, the Registrar cites a 2017
Institute of Justice report, “License
to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing”
identifies Arizona as the nation’s fourth “most broadly and
onerously licensed state.” Although the report considers all
Arizona occupational licenses (contractors, cosmetologists,
opticians, etc.), it specifically identifies contractor licenses
as part of the burden, stating “Arizona should reduce or repeal
its onerous licenses for contractors and other occupations.”
Registrar also cites its own comprehensive 2017 study of each
license classification, which found no correlation between (a)
the experience and examination requirements and (b) the
percentage of licensees with a complaint. The Registrar’s
conclusion: Requiring more experience and examinations from a
licensee does not necessarily lower that licensee’s likelihood
of receiving a complaint.
The new rule will not directly affect anyone currently holding a
contractor’s license. Licensed contractors will not need to take
a new examination or obtain certification to remain licensed or
renew a license. The new rule will affect only those who are
interested in obtaining a contractor’s license from the
Registrar, either their first license or a license for a new
if you are a licensed landscape contractor who wants to be able
to install pools, the new rule would affect only your
application for a B-5 General Swimming Pool Contractor license.
read the new rule in the March 9, 2018, issue of the
Administrative Register (scroll down to page 7 of the PDF, also
known as page 498).
If you have
questions about the rule or any other ROC issues, contact
Hanson at his direct line (480-809-3864) or by
Jamie Hanson is a former Chief
Counsel for the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.