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The C-5 license is required for anyone looking to charge over $500 in California for services that include framing or rough carpentry.
Some of these services may include:
Framing and Rough Carpentry contractors a an essential part of the construction process.
Their duties include:
To receive an exam date with the Contractors State License Board you must meet the following basic requirements:
You must also have:
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a construction company, a contractor that holds the Carpentry License, or Union.
The CSLB will want to see four full-time years over the last ten years.
The years do not need to be consecutive, but they do need to be four years in total.
The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience:
You must be prepared to submit documentation supporting the experience you claim to have.
The Contractors State License Board gives you many ways to prove your experience including:
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience.
However, if you are one of the applicants that get reviewed you will need to be ready to submit something.
The CSLB does not accept pictures of projects.
The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year.
Typically you can expect:
I have seen some situations where applicants got their test date sooner and some where they got their test date much later.
The most common reasons your application would get held up are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-5 Carpentry License.
Thousands of contractors get licensed each year despite their criminal record.
The key is to be honest on the application, even if the felony or misdemeanor happened years ago and even if it was expunged.
BE 100% HONEST ON THE APPLICATION, because they will see everything anyway when you do fingerprinting. The CSLB handles criminal records on a case by case basis.
Remember, their responsibility is to protect the public.
In my experience, they primarily concerned with criminal charges associated with:
In the state of California, you are required to divulge any criminal charges when applying for any state license even if they have been expunged.
You will need to be prepared to submit anything they ask for regarding your criminal history.
Contractor licenses are broken down into four categories:
1) A-General Engineering (LAW + TRADE )
2) B-General Building (LAW + TRADE)
3) C-Specialty Classes (LAW + TRADE)
4) C-61/D- Limited Specialty (LAW TEST ONLY)
The C-5 Carpentry License Exam consists of two parts:
The C-5 license Examination is divided into four major sections:
1. Planning and Estimation (27%)
2. Structural Framing (36%)
3. General framing (21%)
4. Safety (18%)
For C-5 contractor license exam prep resources, click here
The Contractors State License Board currently has testing locations in the following cities:
What is on the Law & Business portion of the Framing and Rough Carpentry License exam?
Learn more about the LAW portion of the contractor license test!
Be as prepared as you possibly can. Utilize online practice exams.
Studying just 15 mintues a day consistently can dramatically increase your chances of passing the test on your first try.
Focus on and study ONLY the information that you need to pass the C-5 License exam.
Generally someone looking to become a carpenter would want to look into an apprenticeship program or work under a master wood worker.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman
Being able to identify symbols, drawings, and specs on construction blueprints is a vital skill for carpentry contractors.
For contractors engaging in framing, finish carpentry, or any structural work having the ability to interpret the ideas an architect is trying to communicate are critical.
Carpentry contractors that aspire to hold a General Contractor License in the future will surely want to make sure their blue print reading skills are up to par.
Check out this Blue Print Reading Course for a basic introduction to the concepts you will want to know about.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients.
Becoming EPA Certified is a requirement for carpentry contractors and can be completed in a one day, 8 hour course.
Staying EPA compliant is not only important to the survival of your business but also the safety of your customers.
For a complete guide on how to get the EPA Certification, check out this article.
Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.
That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average. In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as:
Framing and carpentry contractors have dangerous jobs, especially if those doing the work are not properly trained.
Learn more about getting an OSHA Safety Certification!
Getting the C-5 Carpentry License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to open your own shop, take on larger clients, or become an RMO!
The key is to take action and follow these steps from beginning to end.
If you have found this article helpful feel free to drop a comment below and be sure to check back for updates!
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