How Long Does it Take to Get QCP Licensing?

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Your Quality Certification Program (QCP) license shows that your woodworking firm’s knowledge, skills, and work ethic are among the best in the industry. As well as qualifying you to work on exclusive QCP-specified projects, it gives you a powerful competitive advantage and inspires confidence in potential clients.

It’s possible to bid for a QCP-specified project without a QCP license, though you’ll need to have earned your credentials before the project can be certified. But some woodworkers worry about whether they’ll be able to earn their license in time.


Expected timescale for QCP licensure (it’s less than you’d think!)

Firms have up to 12 months to complete their QCP licensing process. But most firms only take around three months to earn their license. Even this is considered a rather relaxed and comfortable period. We’ve known firms to achieve QCP licensing in as little as 30 days!

You can choose from 35 QCP licenses covering various aspects of woodwork manufacturing, finishing, and installation under the AWI Standards. When you apply, you’ll also need to specify a custom- or premium-grade quality level for your license. A premium-grade license allows certification of both custom and premium work. For a complete list of the licenses we offer, please see the Standardized Minimum Sample Criteria for QCP Licensing (MSC).


Eligibility guidelines

To apply for a manufacturing or finishing license, you must:

  • Own or lease a manufacturing facility
  • Own or lease woodworking equipment
  • Employ, hire, supervise, and discharge woodworking employees who manufacture, fabricate, assemble, finish, or install architectural woodwork, as defined under the latest edition of the AWI Standards
  • Actively seek and transact business with the public
  • Have complete responsibility for the quality of your products

To apply for an installation license, you must:

  • Employ, hire, supervise, and discharge woodworking employees who install architectural woodwork, as defined under the latest edition of the AWI Standards
  • Actively seek and transact business with the public
  • Have complete responsibility for the quality of installation for your projects

Obtaining a finishing license requires you to demonstrate the ability to finish woodwork by yourself in your own plant. Similarly, obtaining an installation license requires you to carry out complete on-site supervision for the installation. The designation for finishing or installation will be listed on your participant certificate, as well as on the QCP website.


5 steps of QCP licensing


Step 1: Submit your application

The first step toward earning your QCP license is to complete your online application. All you need to do is provide your firm’s basic information, indicate the licenses you’re seeking, and pay your application fee.


Step 2: Take two tests

Once your application has been accepted, you’ll need to complete and pass two tests to prove you have outstanding industry knowledge. These are:

  • A 75-question, multiple-choice, open-book test on the latest edition of the AWI Standards
  • A 50-question, multiple-choice, open-book test on the latest edition of the QCP Policies


Step 3: Submit 10 trade references

By reviewing trade references from those your firm has worked with, we can confirm that your performance meets or exceeds industry expectations. Of the 10 trade references you submit, you must include a minimum of:

  • Two from general contractors
  • Two from design professionals
  • Two from projects owners

If your business model or market makes this exact combination impossible, don’t worry. We’re happy to explore whether an alternative combination is acceptable.


Step 4: Complete sample shop drawings

You’ll need to provide shop drawings illustrating samples that both correspond to the QCP licenses you’re seeking and conform to the AWI Standards.

These shop drawings must meet all of the requirements in AWI 100 – Submittals. This is often a stumbling block for unlicensed woodworking firms, as the standard requires more information than most typically provide. Sample inspection can’t occur until the shop drawings fully conform.

For complete requirements, please review the Standardized Minimum Sample Criteria for QCP Licensing (MSC).


Step 5: Undergo licensing inspection

Once you’ve completed the above steps and fabricated the required work samples, a QCP representative will be in touch to arrange a visit to your facility. They’ll assess your licensing samples against the MSC to confirm they meet the standards necessary for compliance.

Your assigned QCP representative will also visit and inspect two projects that you’ve completed within the last two years. These inspections are to evaluate your general workmanship, not to check for compliance with the AWI Standards. This also verifies that your firm actively transacts business with the public.

If you’re applying for an installation license and the installation for one or both of these projects was performed by your employees, they’ll most likely serve as your necessary samples. Please discuss installation samples with your assigned QCP representative before they visit your projects to ensure the installation meets the sample criteria.

Once the representative has completed their checks, they’ll issue a report detailing their findings. This includes comments related to the conformance of your work samples to AWI Standards. If the one-year period for obtaining your license hasn’t lapsed, your company can provide the necessary corrections or omitted items. QCP will then assess whether all issues have been resolved.


How much does QCP licensing cost?

The standard application fee for QCP licensing is $3,500, with an annual renewal cost of $2,650. However, AWI Manufacturing Members enjoy significantly reduced fees of only $2,000 for application and $1,250 for annual renewal. Since a Manufacturing Membership can cost as little as $990, it’s often very cost effective to apply for Membership as well as QCP licensing.


Apply for your QCP license now

Earning your QCP license is a rigorous exercise that confirms your status as one of the industry’s top woodworkers. But the simple five-step process makes it possible to qualify in a relatively short time frame. And the sooner you apply, the sooner you can obtain your license.

Submit your QCP licensing application today, then start reviewing the AWI Standards and QCP Policies in preparation for your tests.