To work as a contractor in the State of Alaska, multiple licensing and registration requirements must be satisfied appropriately. These programs are set forth and enforced by Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development and the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.
In addition to passing the proper examinations and fulfilling contractor-specific registration and licensing requirements, general contractors must obtain an Alaska Business License, applicable workers’ compensation, and liability insurance. Without the proper credentials, a contractor or a person acting in the capacity of a contractor is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, risking up to 90 days of confinement and a maximum fine of $2,000 — so make sure you’re properly licensed!
Alaska General Contractor License Requirements
Alaska Statute defines a “contractor” in AS 08.18.171 as “a person who, in the pursuit of an independent business, undertakes or offers to… construct, alter, repair, move, or demolish a building, highway, road, railroad, or any type of fixed structure, including excavation and site development and erection of scaffolding.”
The State of Alaska regulates three contractor types; general, mechanical, and specialty. To obtain a license, applicants will need to define what type of contractor they are, purchase an applicable surety bond, and prove liability insurance and workman’s comp. Licensing fees will apply as well. Finally, depending on the value of the projects that they take on and the type of work involved, construction contractors may be required to obtain a “residential contractor endorsement.”
Who Needs a Contractors License?
According to AS 08.18.011, it is unlawful for a person to submit a bid or work as a contractor until that person has been issued a certificate of registration by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
This means that anybody performing construction, repair, alteration, or demolition of any type of fixed structure is required to seek out the proper license. The first step in this process is defining what type of contractor you are:
General contractors may perform new home construction, commercial work, and residential remodel work. There are three different licenses offered under this category:
- General Contractor With Residential Contractor Endorsement license: Alaska law states that general contractors who oversee new home construction, or perform residential work greater than 25 percent of the value of the structure being altered, must obtain a “residential contractor endorsement” as well. These endorsements are only licensed to individuals who have completed a 16-hour cold climate course and who have passed the residential contractors endorsement exam.
- General Contractor Without Residential Contractor Endorsement license: General contractors who perform commercial work, or do residential remodel work less than 25% of the value of the structure being altered, are not required to have a residential contractor endorsement, and instead are issued a General Contractor Without Residential Contractor Endorsement license.
- General Contractor Handyman license: Finally, general contractors who perform commercial work or do residential remodel work under $10,000.00 need only obtain a General Contractor Handyman license.
Specialty and Mechanical Contractors
Besides general contractors, there are also specialty and mechanical contractors.
- Specialty contractors may perform work as long as it is restricted to their three listed trades selected from a list of trades recognized by the state. All 37 of these trades can be found on the last page of the Specialty Contractor Online Application document.
- Mechanical contractors, on the other hand, are able to perform any of the mechanical disciplines for which they have an administrator assigned (plumbing, heating, sheet metal, or refrigeration). However, they may only perform mechanical work; installation requires an additional electrical administrators license on top of the mechanical administrator’s license. The state maintains a list of regulated mechanical professions.
After defining the type of work you’re going to perform, you can begin taking the necessary steps to obtain the correct contractor’s license.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in Alaska?
All three types of general contractors or “construction contractors” (those excluding mechanical and specialty contractors) follow a similar application process to obtain initial licensing. The Alaska Construction Contractors License Application can be found here, and requires:
- A completed, signed, and notarized Alaska Construction Contractors License Application.
- A surety bond:
- $25,000 for General Contractors
- $20,000 for General Contractors with Residential Endorsements
- $10,000 for Specialty or Mechanical Contractor
- $5,000 for General Contractor Handyman (per project) can be paid via:
- Surety Bond
- Cashier’s Check
- Time Certificate of Deposit or Savings Passbook
- Liability insurance:
- $20,000 for property damage
- $50,000 for injury or death to one person
- $100,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- Workers’ compensation (if you do not have employees, you may be exempt)
- Fee of $300.00 total
Note that General Contractors with Residential Endorsements are required to pass a 16-hour cold climate course, and to pass the residential contractors endorsement exam as well.
Licensing and Registration Fees
The amount that you’ll be required to pay for licensing and registration will depend on what type of construction contractor you are.
- Nonrefundable Construction Contractor Registration Application fee — $65.00
- Construction Contractor License fee — $235.00
- Nonrefundable Residential Endorsement Application fee — $65.00
- Residential Endorsement Registration fee — $235.00
- PSI Residential Exam (For Licensee with Res. Endorsement only) — $150.00
- ACHP certificate (For Licensee with Res. Endorsement only) — $20.00
- Alaska Business License (if you don’t already have one) — $200.00
- Bonds — $200.00 – $3000.00
- If you’re doing work in the Municipality of Anchorage, you’ll need to obtain an additional contractors license — $360.00
Alaska Contractors Exam
Only those seeking a General Contractor With Residential Contractor Endorsement license are required to complete examinations to obtain their qualifications. First each individual will have to complete The Alaska Craftsman Home Program (ACHP) or equivalent program, which includes a post-secondary course in Arctic engineering (or its equivalent). ACHP certificates cost $20.00 each and must be completed within two years before the date of the application.
The PSI AK Residential Contractor Endorsement Exam must be completed as well. This exam can be done online, usually takes about 240 minutes, and costs $150.00 to take. You must apply for the residential endorsement within 12 months after having passed the examination.
You can view available dates to take the test in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Juneau, and Ketchikan online.
The exam is comprised of 100 questions, and a score of 70 percent is required to pass. Topics include carpentry, thermal and moisture protection, safety, and other topics.
You can contact PSI through any of the following:
3210 East Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89121
Licensure Phone: 1-800-733-9267
Certification Phone: 1-800-211-2754
Contractors Exam Fees
One examination costs $150.00 and can be taken either online by computer or on location in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Juneau, or Ketchikan.
PSI accepts Money Orders, Cashier’s checks, Visa or Mastercard. All payments can be made through the PSI website once you create an account and create an exam.
Alaska Contractors License Application
The Alaska Construction Contractors License Application is required to for contractors to operate in Alaska. These applications are generally processed within 15 working days after they are received, and are processed in order of receipt. There are five basic things that must be on file for consideration for a construction contractor license:
- The Application Itself: Make sure that your application is completed, signed and notarized. This application must be immaculate — incorrect documents are returned for correction.
- An Alaska Contractor License Bond/Surety Bond: A surety bond is defined as a three-party agreement that “guarantees the principal will act in accordance with certain laws. If the principal fails to perform in this manner, the bond will cover resulting damages or losses.” The required amount of this bond will depend on what type of contractor you are. General Contractor Handyman applicants are required to submit a $5,000 bond per project and can choose between a surety bond, a cashier’s check, and a time certificate of deposit or savings passbook. General Contractors Without Residential Endorsement, on the other hand, will pay for a one-time $25,000 bond. It’s worth remembering that you likely will not have to pay the full amount of the bond to get bonded.
- Liability Insurance: You’ll need to obtain insurance for public liability ($50,000 for injury or death to one person, $100,000 for more than one) and property damage (not less than $20,000) from a legitimate insurance agency.
- Workers’ Compensation: Under AS 23.30 of the State Code, evidence of workers’ compensation is a requirement for registration as a construction contractor. However, according to AS 23.30.025, an “all states endorsement” is not acceptable, and the insurance must be provided by a private carrier registered in Alaska, and the policy written in a way specific to Alaska law. The good news is that your company might be exempt from carrying workers’ comp insurance if you don’t actually have any employees.
- Fees: Your nonrefundable application fee ($65.00) and license fee ($235.00) should be made payable to “State of Alaska”.
General contractor and residential contractor endorsement licenses expire on December 31 of even years, and must be renewed. It’s also worth noting that nonresidential general contractors aren’t required to pass an exam to obtain a license; Contractors with residential endorsements are, on the other hand.
The Residential Endorsement Contractor License Application is an additional application for contractors performing construction or alteration of structures worth greater than 25 percent of the structure’s value. Residential endorsement requirements include:
- Signed and notarized residential endorsement contractor application, sent by mail only. Send to:
Contractor Licensing Section
State Office Building, 333 Willoughby Avenue, 9th Floor
PO Box 110806, Juneau, AK 99811-0806
Phone: (907) 465-2550
- $300 application and registration fee ($65 application fee, $235 registration fee, separate from the Alaska Construction Contractors License Application).
- Copy of PSI official examination results.
- Proof of completion of the ACHP program or its equivalent, or a postsecondary course in arctic engineering, or its equivalent, within two years preceding the date of application.
- Name of currently licensed general contractor and contractor license number which the residential contractor endorsement will be assigned to.
Alaska Contractor Registration and Permitting Requirements
On top of your State-Issued License, you’ll likely also have to register locally with the city or county governments you operate within. For example, any individual or business engaged in construction within the Municipality of Anchorage Service Area is required to obtain a Municipal Contractors License. As long as they fill out the paperwork correctly, applicants can typically expect a license to be issued in 7-10 business days.
Applications for municipal contractors licenses are available at the Development Services Department, Building Safety Permit Counter, 4700 Elmore Road. To apply for one, you will have to:
- Obtain and fill out a completed application packet
- Submit a current copy of your State of Alaska Contractors License.
- Submit a copy of the required construction bond.
- Submit a copy of your Mechanical/Electrical Administrators License. (If applicable).
- Pay the $360 fee
Municipal licenses are valid for a maximum of two years, and they expire on February 14th of every calendar year.
Make sure to be attentive and fill out your application correctly. Visit the city government’s website for more information on municipal licenses in Anchorage.
Alaska State Business Licenses and Registration
No matter what type of construction contractor you are, you’ll find every type of initial application, renewal application, and miscellaneous forms required by you on the official Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development and the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing website.
Alaska Business Registration
Anybody wishing to do business in the State of Alaska must obtain an Alaska Business License.
Alaska Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
On top of your federal EIN number, assigned by the IRS, you may be required to register with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. You may also get more information on business licensing in the State of Alaska from the Department of Commerce.
Alaska Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act requires that every employer with one or more employees in Alaska must obtain workers’ compensation insurance. The Department of Labor has more information on workers’ compensation requirements for employers in Alaska, as well as a list of Alaska-specific workers’ compensation forms.
Alaska Professional License Search
The Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing website has a professional license search page that can help you lookup and verify any contractor license in Alaska.