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To get a C-10 Electrical Contractor License in California, you must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience and pass a two part state exam with the Contractor State License Board.
You must also have:
Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for an electrical company, or contractor that holds the C-10 License.
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.
In the state of California, anyone performing electrical work must hold an electrical Certification. If you are working under a C-10 Contractor, you are required to have this certification.
This certification applies to individuals that hold the C-10 License who are working under another C-10 Contractor as well.
The exam is 100% code and will require a minimum of 8,000 proof of work experience even to receive a date to take it.
The exam is an open book and administered by the California Department of Industrial Relations. For more information on the electrical certification, feel free to check out our article.
The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the electrical contractor license:
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience but 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.
You must be prepared to submit documentation supporting the experience you claim to have.
The Contractors State License Board gives you a few ways that you can prove your experience.
"Bill is a great guy he rewired our house…” will not cut it.The CSLB will want to see something more like:
An electrical contractor places, installs, erect or connects any electrical wires, fixtures, appliances, apparatus, raceways, conduits, solar photovoltaic cells or any part thereof, which generate, transmit, transform or utilize electrical energy in any form or for any purpose- CSLB.GOV
The C-10 license is the classification required in the state of California for all anyone looking to bid on residential and commercial electrical projects where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.
Electrical Contractors looking to start businesses will need to obtain the C-10 license.
The duties of an electrical contractor may typically include:
The C-10 License along with the: General Contractor, General Engineering License, C-20 HVAC, and C-16 Fire Protection are what are referred to as prime licenses in the state of California because so much of our society, as well as the safety public, is dependent on these specific services.
Electrical Companies often have an individual who holds the C-10 license or an RMO working for their company which certifies the business to perform electrical work.
For a more in-depth look at the RMO, License check out this article.
Electrical Contractors that hold the C-10 License often function as an independent unit subcontracted by a General Contractor to perform specific duties associated with a construction project.
The state exam for General Contractors includes questions about electrical systems. It is a critical skillset for anyone overseeing a full construction or remodel project.
The General Contractor reports directly to the client and is in charge of the overall project and its day to day operations, including subcontractors and job site safety.
To learn more about the General Contractor License, check out this article.
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:
The Current CSLB fees are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting an electrical contractor License. I have personally helped guys with all types of criminal records obtain multiple licenses.
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 EXAM )
2) B-General Building (LAW + TRADE EXAM)
3) C-Specialty Classes (LAW + TRADE EXAM )
4) C-61/D- Limited Specialty (LAW TEST ONLY EXAM)
The C-10 contractors license exam will be:
1. Planning and Estimation (26%)
2. Rough Wiring (24%)
3. Finish Wiring and Trim (11%)
4. Startup, Troubleshooting, and Maintenance (21%)
5. Safety (18%)
Some things to remember:
I have helped thousands of electricians licenses. Most are startled by how different the subject matter on the state exam is from their years of first-hand experience.
Be as prepared as you possibly can. Studying just 10 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-10 License test.
If you don’t have the four years required journeyman level experience to obtain the C-10 contractor license, not to worry.
Your journey begins here!
Construction is a trillion-dollar industry and highly skilled electricians are always in demand. Whether you are completely new or have some experience already, there are resources available to you.
Generally someone looking to become an electrical contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship or certification program.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman.
The electrical phase of the construction process is critical in ensuring the safety of a building. Being able to quickly interpret construction blue prints is a core skill for everyone, including electrical contractors.
Blueprint Reading Skills are also critical to pass the General Contractor exam.
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 drywall contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients.
Becoming EPA Certified can help you expand your business 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.
Math skills are critical for most construction professionals but especially for electrical contractors hoping to pass the C-10 license exam the first time.
There are a variety of publications available that will teach you the basics and most utilized math skills in the electrical world including:
You will be allowed to use a calculator on the C-10 License exam, but punching each equation in will most certainly take all of your time up.
You will need to be able to do basic equations in your head.
Take the time to brush up on your electrical math skills. We have a database of the most accurate resources available to help you prepare.
Skilled electricians are always in demand. A licensed electrical contractor is required in virtually all construction projects. This guide has covered California, however each state has different electrician laws.
Getting the C-10 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to open your company, expand to 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 about the C-10 and licensing in other states!
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