how to get your C-17 glazing contractor license for glass cutting in California

C-17 License: What Glazing Contractors must know!

Table of Contents

What Is a C-17 License?

“A glazing contractor selects, cuts, assembles and/or installs all makes and kinds of glass, glass work, mirrored glass, and glass substitute materials for glazing; executes the fabrication and glazing of frames, panels, sashes and doors; and/or installs these items in any structure” CSLB.GOV

The C-17 License is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to bid on glazing projects where the cost of labor and materials is over $500.

What does a Glazing Contractor do?

Generally, a glazing contractor’s duties would include:

  • Glass door and window wepair
  • Retrofitting, performing calculations, evaluating plans, bidding and estimation
  • Installation of structural and plate glass
  • Operating a variety of power tools including: power vacuums, glass handling booms, glass sings and cutoff machines
  •  Cutting and shaping of glass
  • Installing and retrofitting windows for skyscrapers 
  • Replacing Shower Windows
  • Creating invoices, hiring, handling contracts, accounting and bookkeeping 
  • Maintaining a safe job site 

To get the C-17 license you have to be familiar with all aspects of the glazing trade 

Subcontractors Explained

Men on a skyscraper installing a large class window

Contractors that hold the C-17 license can work in a variety of settings.

  • They may install or shape glass windows as part of a customized project for a client. 
  • They may also be subcontracted by a General Contractor who has placed a bid on a project that includes glazing. 

A General Contractor would oversee that the glass contractor has executed their duties safely. 

Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License.

Online Practice Exams and Study Guides


The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing body for all contractors in the state of California.

Their sole responsibility is to protect the consumer public and ensure that anyone charging over $500 for construction services is qualified and registered with the state of California.

The C-17 License is issued to glazing contractors by the CSLB.

The CSLB administers applications, exams, and maintains a database of all active and inactive contractor license numbers which are public domain.

How to get your C-17 License

To get a C-17 license in California, you have to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Driver's License or USA Issued Identification
  • Have a Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently be on probation or parole

You must also have:

  • 4 Years Journey Level Experience
  • A Qualifying Individual to sign off on your experience
  • A way to prove your experience if the state asks for documentation

What is Journey Level Experience?

Young man installing window shades at home

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for an glazing company, or for a contractor that holds the C-17 License.

  • A journeyman glass contractor can perform all of the duties associated with his or her trade.

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. 

Signature of a Qualifying Individual

A qualifying individual can be any of the following:

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • C-17 License Holder
  • Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years)
  • Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
  • Business Associate
  • Fellow Journeyman
  • Union Representative

Proving Your Work Experience for the C-17 License

glazing contractor wearing gloves cutting a large piece of glass. these are skills required of anyone looking to get the C-17 license

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.

  • Tax Returns
  • Check Stubs
  • Contracts
  • Material Order Invoices or Receipts

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.

Filling out the C-17 License Application

  • Your Qualifying Individual will also need to provide a brief but detailed description of your glazing knowledge and skillset.
  • The way this description is written will be critical to whether or not your application is accepted.
  • For example:

“Bob is a nice guy he replaced the windows in my bathroom” will not be enough for the CSLB.

 The CSLB will want to see something like: “Bob has used drills, smoothers, polishers, has cut and installed insulated glass”.

Application Processing, Fees and Criminal History

The time it takes to get your application processed and assigned a test date fluctuates throughout the year. Typically you can expect:

  • 6-8 Week Application Processing Time
  • 3-4 Week wait for an Exam date

I have seen situations where applicants got their test date sooner and somewhere they got their test date much later.

The most common reasons your application would get held up are:

  1. Time of year (processing time slows down during the holidays) 
  2. Criminal History 
  3. Proving Experience
  4. Mistakes on your application 

Application Costs for the C-17 License 

The Current CSLB fees are: 

Can you get a Contractors License with a Felony in California?​​​​

A wooden gaval

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-17 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 your fingerprinting. 

The CSLB handles criminal records on a case-by-case basis. Remember, their responsibility is to protect the public. In my experience, they are primarily concerned with criminal charges associated with:

  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement 
  • Forgery

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. 

C-17 License Exam

The C-17 Glazing Contractor exam will consist of:

  • 115 Questions of Contractor LAW
  • 115 Questions on Glazing
  • 3 hours to complete each portion
  • Multiple choice exam done on a computer
  • Closed Book

Content of the TRADE Examination 

The C-17 license Examination is broken up into 5 sections:

1.    Planning and Estimation (24%)

  • Evaluating plans and specifications
  • Performing job-related calculations

2.    Fabrication and Installation of Framing Systems (22%)

  • Measurements and calculations
  • Fabrication of framing systems
  • Installation of framing systems

3.    Fabrication and Installation of Glazing Materials (22%)

  • Installation of glazing materials
  • Specialty glazing installations
  • Finish installation work

4.    Glazing Replacement and Retrofit Projects (18%)

  • Glazing replacement projects
  • Glazing retrofit projects

5.    Safety (14%)

  •  Worker safety
  •  Job site safety

Recommended Resources

CSLB Test Locations

Contractors State License Board logo. Illustration of a paint brush, saw and cement truck

  • Berkeley
  • Fresno
  • Norwalk
  • San Jose
  • Oxnard
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego

C-17 License Study Guides and Exam Prep

Some things to remember:

  • The questions you will see on the exam may use outdated terms
  • Processes may be completely different from how things are done on the job site
  • You will see questions about things you may have never done before
  • Questions will be presented to you as if you are running a large scale construction business with several employees and jobs happening all at once. 
  • Know all aspects of your trade

California contractor license exam day

I have helped all types of construction professionals from various backgrounds and experience levels get licenses.

The truth is most are startled by how different the subject matter on the state exam is from their years of first-hand experience. 

a wooden architect scale laying on top of a piece of paper

Be as prepared as you possibly can.

Studying just 10 minutes 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-17 License exam. 

Glazier Apprenticeship

two men installation a glass window on a construction site

If you don’t have the four years required journeyman level experience to obtain the C-17 License, not to worry.

Your journey begins here!

  • Construction is a Billion-dollar industry and highly skilled glazers 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 a Glass Contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship or certification program.

For a detailed explanation of this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman

Blueprint Reading Course

a construction blueprint reading course

Knowing how to read blueprints is a valuable skill for virtually all tradesmen but especially for those looking to get the C-17 License. 

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.

EPA Certification

logo of the environmental protection agency

Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The most profitable glazing 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 to the safety of your customers.  For a complete guide on how to get the EPA Certification, check out the article.


Getting the C-17 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to open your company, 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!