Carpenter/Cabinet Maker (Residential)

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing


License required in 10 states
57th most burdensome licensing requirements
68th most heavily regulated occupation

(Last updated April 24, 2012)


Carpenter and cabinet maker contractors contract with clients to construct, erect, install or repair structures and fixtures made of wood, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding and rafters; wood stairways, window and door frames and hardwood floors; and may also install cabinets, siding, drywall and batt or roll insulation. They include brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways to control the proper circulation of air through the passageways and to the working places.

Typically, only contractors require licenses, not carpenters who work for them. Licensing requirements differ based on the scope of the work. Those with a residential license may work only on residential properties, while those with a commercial license may work on commercial properties. In some states, work on commercial properties requires a general contractor's license that is not specific to carpenters; the requirements are generally the same as a commercial license, and they are treated the same here.


Ten states license residential carpenter contractors; most of these states demand only fees or other minimal requirements. Three states impose substantial experience requirements, however: two years in Arizona and Maryland and one year in South Carolina. Five states require exams.

(Last updated May 2, 2012)

State Licensing Requirements

Burden RankStateFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.