Licensing Discussion Board

PSI Exam Scheduling- Not as Easy You Might Think

Whether you are stepping into the contracting industry for the first time or you’re an experienced contractor ready to expand your business into other areas, contractor licensing exams are almost always going to be part of the process. And scheduling those exams? That’s a process in itself. Most contractor licensing boards use a service called PSI for all their exam scheduling.

A quick look at the PSI website would have you believe that a couple of easy clicks will have you all set and ready to take whatever exam your business calls for. But like everything else in the contracting business, it’s not quite that easy. Does the state require approval to take the exam? Is out-of-state testing allowed? Many of these questions can be answered simply by reviewing the exam bulletins on PSI’s website. Others take a more in-depth approach, and experience has taught me a few things that can help with those.

First and foremost, choose several dates that will work for you to schedule your exam. The bulletin will state that most testing centers are open Mon-Sat. However, just like the doctor’s office, just because they’re open doesn’t mean they have an exam appointment available. Whether you are able to schedule it online or you must speak with someone in person, knowing what you can commit to is going to make the whole process much easier.

And remember, traveling is always an option. If you’re in a tight spot and need your appointment sooner than your local testing center has available, consider taking your exam in another location. It may not be as convenient, but it’s nice to have more than one option available.

Although most states allow you to test out of state, this is considered “special accommodations”. PSI’s online system does not allow this type of scheduling. Instead, you will need to speak to someone directly in their special accommodations department, which may entail a 15-20-minute wait on hold, only to leave a voicemail that is usually not returned for at least 24 hours. So, when you do speak with someone, be prepared with those availability dates so you can make the most of the time you have with them.

These are just some of the situations you may encounter. Scheduling your contractor exams are only one step in the licensing process, and it shouldn’t be the most difficult. Being equipped with as much information as possible can make all the difference.

NCL works closely with their clients during the licensing process. As a courtesy, our staff schedules trade and business and law exams.


Reciprocity…. Not a Open Door Policy

While working in the contractor licensing industry the past 10 years, I’ve been asked many questions about state contractor licensing. The most frequent question I receive goes something like this… “I am a licensed Electrical Contractor in Florida. Florida has reciprocity with North Carolina, North Carolina has reciprocity with Texas. Can’t I just get a North Carolina license then reciprocate into Texas.” To the listener’s dismay, my  answer is always, not unless you take a test.

While it is true that reciprocity agreements between North Carolina and Florida and North Carolina and Texas do exist, there is no reciprocity agreement between Florida and Texas. An applicant can obtain a North Carolina License by way of reciprocity from Florida.  However, that’s where the journey ends. In the licensing industry, the first scenario is called state jumping… and it’s  not allowed. Every reciprocity agreement requires a license verification from the reciprocal state indicating the applicant passed the state exam. The applicant could certainly get that verification when coming from Florida. However, the license verification from North Carolina is going to say,  “License obtained by way of reciprocity.”  These words will ultimately lead to a rejection in Texas.

As you can see, there are many caveats when seeking reciprocity. It’s important to understand those requirements before getting financially and emotionally invested in a scenario that will not play out in your favor.

Call NCL to discuss your licensing goals and receive a free consultation as it pertains to licensing options and guidelines.

Author: Angela Ramsay
(954) 233-0222