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Examination Information

ANNOUNCEMENT: The NCICLB is currently working on creating a new licensing exam. The Board expects to have the new exam completed by early 2024, and plans to start scheduling dates as soon as possible. New information will be shared as it becomes available.


Since 2009, the NCICLB has used the Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC) exam prepared by the Irrigation Association (IA) as the licensing exam. After May 17, 2023, the CIC will no longer be administered by the NCICLB. However, individuals will still have the ability to take the CIC through the IA, and apply for licensure with the NCICLB by “previous CIC”.

Individuals who wish to become licensed prior to the new exam being available are encouraged to take the CIC exam through the IA in order to apply for an NC irrigation contractor license by previous CIC. Please note: solely passing the CIC exam does NOT grant licensure. After passing, you must complete the application process through the NCICLB before receiving a license.

Application Instructions

Candidates planning on taking the new NCICLB Exam should study the NC irrigation licensing law (§89G) and NC rules (Chapter 23). Another reference for this exam will be Principles of Irrigation, Third Edition, which can be bought on the Irrigation Association website. Studying these references, and knowing the laws and rules will be vital to passing the exam! Additional information or study resources will be shared as they become available. If you would like to be in the loop for information pertaining to the new NCICLB Exam, please email asking to be added to the email list. 


The following information provided pertains to the CIC exam:

Exam Content Outline

When preparing for the exam, pay attention to areas such as:

  • Types of pipe and fittings
  • How to successfully solvent weld pipe and fittings
  • Gasketed pipe and fittings
  • Fittings other than PVC
  • Pipe and fittings repair
  • Examples of fittings failure
  • Electrical trouble shooting and devices used to accomplish electrical trouble shooting
  • Types of contracts used in operating a business
  • Types of insurance, bid bonds
  • Types of business records needed to successfully operate a business
  • OSHA rules and regulations
  • Understanding, reading and developing plans, drawings and specifications
  • NC State laws

Study Guides: Several resources have been identified to help prepare candidates for the exam.  Some of these resources must be purchased, while others are free.  It is up to the candidate and their budget as to how many references they purchase.  The Licensing Board does not require a candidate to purchase any study material, attend any preparatory classes or do any studying on their own prior to taking the exam, but each of these items will help to improve the chances of passing the exam.  Passing the Licensing Exam is the only way to become a Licensed North Carolina Irrigation Contractor.

Study Materials for the exam and a glossary of landscape irrigation terms can be found on the Irrigation Association website.  The primary references can be purchased from the IA store: Irrigation Association Store Website.  If you have trouble finding any of the materials on the Irrigation Association’s website, please call them directly at (703) 536-7080.

Primary References in Order of Importance (CIC):
1. Landscape Irrigation Contractor, 3rd Edition
2. Principles of Irrigation, 3rd Edition
3. Irrigation, 6th Edition

Free Downloads (CIC):

Licensing Practice Exam(CIC):
You can prepare for your exam by taking a certified irrigation contractor practice exam on the Irrigation Association website.  These exams are online, non-proctored, open book and multiple-choice.  They are available to be taken from your home or office computer.  There are 40 questions that are consistent with the NCICLB exams’ detailed content outline.  It also supplies resources for feedback on questions that are answered incorrectly.

The following items are required for taking the exam (CIC):

  • A scientific calculator
  • A protractor
  • A straight edge
  • An engineer’s scale
  • No. 2 pencils.

Other materials that can be used are:

  • A programmable calculator
  • A measuring wheel to measure pipe length on a plan

Items that cannot be used on the exams include:

  • Books
  • Personal computers
  • Notes
  • Cellular telephones
  • PDA’s or other electronic devices

When taking the examination if there is a question you do not understand or cannot quickly determine a solution, skip that question and move to the next question.  Some questions may take a couple of minutes to solve, while others will take 15 seconds.  Do not spend 5 minutes on a question until you have completed the exam and then go back and work on the questions you skipped.  When unsure of an answer, typically your first instinct will be the correct one.  There will be some questions that you do not know the answer or cannot solve.  On those questions take a guess at the answer.  You have a 25% chance of getting the right answer.  



Passing the Exam: Upon successful completion of the exam and prior to being licensed, the candidate must:

  • Obtain a Surety Bond in the amount of $10,000 or an irrevocable letter of credit in the amount of $10,000 from a bank.  The original Surety Bond MUST be submitted to the Board.
  • Order a seal (the Board will provide the order form).
  • If applicable submit a corporate application to the Board along with a $100 application fee.

Continuing Education: Yearly continuing education is required for license renewal. During the calendar year that the candidate passes the NCICLB examination, the successful candidate will be considered to have met the Continuing Education (CE) requirement for that calendar year.

If the candidate does not fit into the criteria above, the individual is required to obtain ten (10) credits of continuing education before being eligible for their first renewal. The ten (10) credits are comprised of four (4) business credits and six (6) irrigation credits. All Board approved continuing education courses are listed on the Board website under the continuing education tab.

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