North Carolina Grading and Excavating
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  • Pre-approval from the state is required to sit for the examination.
  • Please note a separate North Carolina Business and Law exam is not needed, that information is incorporated into the Grading and Excavation exam.
  • A license is required for projects that are $30,000 or more.
  • There is no minimum experience requirement. Applicants must submit 3 names as references.

    All licenses covered by the commercial licensing board are divided into 3 financial categories:

  • Limited: Applicants must have a minimum working capital of $17,000. This level allows bids up to $500,000 per single project.
  • Intermediate: Applicants must have a minimum working capital of $75,000. This level allows bids up to $1,000,000 per single project.
  • Unlimited: Applicants must have a minimum working capital of $150,000. This level has no restrictions as to the value of any single project.

    Applicants for the Intermediate and Unlimited license must submit audited financial statements with classified balance sheets prepared by a CPA or independent accountant engaged in the public practice of accounting.

    Surety bonds are required for applicants with insufficient working capital. The board may request that a surety bond and payment bond be obtained for jobs above a certain monetary level.

Scope of Work:

The Grading and Excavation classification covers digging, moving and placing of materials forming the surface of the earth (excluding air and water) in such a manner that the cut, fill, excavation, grade, trench, backfill, or any similar operation can be executed with the use of hand and power tools and machines commonly used for these types of digging, moving, and material placing. It covers work on earthen dams and the use of explosives used in connection with all or any part of the activities described in this outline. It also covers clearing, grubbing, and erosion control activities.


To apply, contact State of North Carolina Licensing Board 1-919-571-4183.

The licensing fees are: Limited $75, Intermediate $100, and Unlimited $125.

Applications are cleared for approval to take the exam as soon as they are received. However, once exams are passed, applications are submitted to the board for review.

Applications must be submitted the 1st week of the month prior to the next board meeting (ex. 1st week of June for July approval).

The board meets once per month in every month except December. Therefore, processing time would be 1 to 2 months depending on the date submitted to the board.

All general contractors licenses expire December 31 each calendar year and normally are not issued during the month of December.


North Carolina has reciprocity with South Carolina for this license.


As of this time, there is no continuing education for this license.

  • The fee for the exam is $60 and a score of at least 70% is required to pass the exams.
  • The exam is open book, multiple-choice, and timed.
  • There are 45 questions on the exam with a 2 hour time limit. Not all reference books are allowed into the exam.

    Topics covered on the exam are excavation and grading, One Call, safety – Code of Federal Regulations, erosion and sedimentation control, general knowledge and regulations, licensing and regulations, and lien law.

  • Once you are approved you will receive an eligibility letter to schedule your testing. The eligibility letter is valid for 120 days from the date on the letter and allows the candidate to take 1 exam within that time frame.
  • To schedule your exam you must contact PSI at 1-800-733-9267.
  • Failing candidates may not retake an exam until at least 30 days after the failed exam.

All the books listed under, Reference Materials, on this page are used to create the exam and are recommended for study. However, only the following books are allowed into the exam room while testing. They are: NC OSHA Standards for the Construction Industry; NC Standard Specifications for Roads and Structures, 2018 These references may be tabbed (with permanent index tabs) and highlighted. They are available for purchase from our online contractor’s bookstore or by calling our office at 1-800-992-1910.

*There are additional downloadable documents for the North Carolina Grading and Excavation exam*

Laws and Regulations Applicable to General Contracting in the State of North Carolina.

North Carolina Administrative Code, Title 15A, Chapter 4 Sedimentation Control, as amended July 1, 2000.

North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 113A, Article 4 Sedimentation Pollution Control Act of 1973, as amended through October 2002.

North Carolina One Call.

North Carolina Standard Specifications for Roads and Structures, 2006.


American Contractors offers a 1-day seminar to prepare for the North Carolina Grading and Excavation contractor license exam. Please contact us for additional information, 1-800-992-1910.

  Seminar Price: $300.00  
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Schedule Info:
Instruction for this course, if available, is given on a private and/or home-study basis. Please contact us for more information.

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