How To Become Licensed

Requirements to obtain a NC Landscape Contractor License

Included here are the qualifications and requirements necessary to become a licensed NC Landscape Contractor.

  1. Be at least 18 years of age
  2. Be of good moral character
  3. Submit Application and Application Fee.
  4. Provide evidence of business identification. The business name or names under which the applicant is practicing must be included on the application form.
  5. Include with application five (5) letters of reference (3 personal and 2 professional). Instructions for reference letters are included on the application.
  6. Submit an original, signed $10,000 NC Landscape Contractor’s Surety  Compliance Bond, or an Irrevocable Letter of Credit from a financial institution with the application. Follow this link for more information: Surety Bond Requirement
  7. After the above requirements are met, the applicant is required to pass an examination administered by the Board. See “Licensing Exam” section below for information about the exam. The exam fee must be submitted before the exam can be taken.  The exam must be taken and passed within one year from the date the application is approved.
  8. Once the Board has notified the applicant that he/she has passed the exam, the applicant will submit a licensing fee to become officially licensed.
  9. After the applicant becomes individually licensed, the business may be required to obtain a corporate license. Click HERE for information about the corporate license and instructions for application.

NC Landscape Contractor Code of Conduct

Ready to apply for your license? Go to Application Forms to download the Individual License Application. The steps to become licensed are included on the application form.

Licensing Exam

The NC Landscape Contractors’ Licensing exam consists of three sections. All three sections must be passed to obtain the NC Landscape Contractor license.

The three sections are:

  • Landscape Design Section – multiple choice questions on interpreting a landscape plan
  • General Knowledge Section – multiple choice questions on horticulture practice, landscape construction and NC business practices and licensing law
  • Plant Identification Section* – identification of a wide selection of plants and pests by observing photographs and selecting the correct plant or pest from a full list of possible specimens

*Note: If you have proof of successfully completing the Certified Plant Professional Plant ID exam administered by the NC Nursery and Landscape Association, the plant ID section of the licensing exam is not required.

Professional Study Manuals are available for purchase to assist you in test preparation. Click HERE to purchase study manuals.

Requirements for Maintaining your License

  • Continuing Education: All licensed landscape contractors must personally complete seven (7) hours of Board Approved Continuing Education per year. The seven (7) hours of required continuing education must be earned between August 1 and July 31 each year.  Three (3) of seven (7) CE credits must be “landscape (technical)” credits and two (2) of seven (7) must be “business” credits. The remaining two (2) may be either landscape or business.
  • Newly licensed contractors are exempt from the CE requirement during the first licensing period in which the license was obtained. The CE requirement begins on August 1 after the license is first issued.
  • The Landscape Compliance Surety Bond must remain continuously in force.
  • Licensee must notify the Board within 60 days of any change to mailing address, phone number, email or business name under which the licensee is practicing.
  • Licensee must submit a renewal application each year on or before August 1. Renewal instructions may be found HERE.