• Asbestos Abatement contractors must now hold an asbestos license known as the C-22.
  • The CSLB created the C-22 license in response to the various asbestos certifications and asbestos removal training programs 
  • While there are EPA accredited asbestos removal training programs and asbestos inspection certifications available, they do not legally permit individuals to contract for asbestos removal over $500.
a warning notice in spanish and english about the asbestos hazard in the area

C-22 Asbestos Abatement Contractor License

As of January 2015 the state of California requires anyone looking to performing:

  • Abatement
  • Containment
  • Encapsulation
  • Removal 
  • Disposal

Must now hold the C-22 Asbestos License.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a term that refers to six different microscopic fibers that can resist heat, fire, and electricity.

Asbestos fibers were used for decades in various commercial and industrial settings as well as in multiple consumer products.

Asbestos exists in many different components including:

  • Ceilings, Cement pipes, insulation & acoustical material
  • Drywall, floor tiles, shingles, gypsum board
  • Sheetrock, electrical switch boxes, boilers and much more

While its use has diminished as a result of increased public knowledge of its adverse health effects, asbestos can still be found in many older homes, schools and public buildings.

  • The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986 was created to end its use in public spaces
  • Asbestos is best known for its direct link to mesothelioma, a highly aggressive form of cancer which attacks and thins a membrane that protects vital organs.

What Is Asbestos Abatement?

asbestos abatement contractors on top of a roof removing asbestos from shingles

Asbestos Abatement Process

Asbestos Abatement is the process of

  • Removing
  • Encapsulating
  • Sealing 
  • Disposal

of asbestos fibers within a dwelling or construction materials. 

Asbestos removal contractors that hold the C-22 license play a critical role in the safety of the public and also engage in testing and remediation of asbestos fibers before and after a construction project. 

  • It is in the best interest of anyone looking to demolish or make alterations to a structure built before 1978 to have it inspected first by an asbestos abatement contractor.
  • Health risks to neighbors as well as potential financial and legal liability if executed incorrectly could be immense.
  • In the state of California where safety and environmental protection are strictly regulated, there is a massive opportunity for any asbestos abatement professional that holds the required license and DOSH Certifications.

What is an Asbestos Abatement Contractor?

Duties of an Asbestos Abatement Contractor

Asbestos Abatement Contractors engage in a wide variety of duties including: include inspection, testing, surveying

  • Inspection, testing and surveying of job sites 
  • Containment set up and notifying the area of asbestos abatement
  • Utility isolation and safe disposal of construction materials containing asbestos fibers
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    Use of duct tape, polyethylene film, and negative air pressure machine to seal and remove asbestos fibers
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    Maintaining job site and worker safety
  • check
    Estimating, bidding, accounting and basic book keeping

C-22 License and the General Contractor

Asbestos abatement contractors that hold the C-22 license can work in a variety of settings. 

They may be subcontracted by a General Contractor who has placed a bid on a project that involves remodeling an old building or school.

A General Contractor oversees a job site and ensures this phase of the construction process is executed safely. Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License!

asbestos roofing panels illegally dumped in nature on grass

Illegal dumping of roofing asbestos panels in nature.

DOSH and the CSLB

CSLB

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

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

The C-22 Asbestos License is issued by the CSLB. 

DOSH

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is a government agency that is dedicated to improving the health and safety of workers in the state of California. 

The agency governs worker safety across various industries including operators of amusement rides, cranes, elevators, tramways, mining and tunneling.

DOSH issues various licenses, permits and certifications pertaining to job site safety. They maintain labor laws and even assist in requesting benefits for work injury.

Getting the C-22 license for asbestos abatement requires that you are registered with DOSH.

How to get a C-22 License

To get a C-22 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.

To qualify for an exam date you must meet the 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 #

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

DOSH Asbestos Training

In addition to meeting the above requirements, you must also complete DOSH Registration training requirements

Levels 1 & 2 cover removal of asbestos-containing materials while Levels 3 & 4 covers repair and maintenance around asbestos-containing materials. Complete Dosh Training!

After you have completed your DOSH training and are ready to apply for the C-22 License.

What is Journey Level Experience?

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for an asbestos removal company, or for a contractor that holds the C-22 License.

  • A journeyman 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. 

asbestos removal job site. construction zone is taped off

Asbestos Abatement Journeyman

Signature of a Qualifying Individual

The following people may be used as Qualifying Individuals to sign off on your experience when applying for the C-22 license:

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • C-22 License Holder
  • Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years)
  • check
    Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
  • check
    Business Associate
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    Fellow Journeyman
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    Union Representative

Filling out the C-22 License Application

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

“Jim came by and checked for asbestos” will not be descriptive enough for the CSLB

Your description will need to be more descriptive:

"Jim has conducted air tests, notified areas of asbestos testing, used negative air pressure machines, safely disposed of asbestos-containing materials" etc.


The description written by your qualifying individual will need to include the core skills required an asbestos abatement contractor.

Work Experience for the C-22 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.

a man removing an asbestos roof panel by hand. The Contractors State license board may ask to see documentation of your experience before you are allowed to take the C-22 license exam

Be ready to prove your asbestos abatement 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.

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 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:

  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-22 Asbestos License

The Current CSLB fees are: 

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

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a asbestos 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: Fraud, Embezzlement and Forgery.

a wooden gavel

You will need to do fingerprinting when applying for the contractor license

Contractor License Exam

The C-22 License is:

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

The Asbestos Abatement (C-22 License) Examination is divided into five key sections:

1.    Estimating, Planning, and Training (27%)

  • Estimating
  • Planning
  • Training

2.    Containment Area Preparation (27%)

  • Area notification
  • Containment setup
  • Utility isolation
  • Negative pressure

3.    Asbestos Abatement Methods and Disposal (20%)

  • Asbestos abatement methods
  • ACM disposal

4.    Documentation (9%)

  • Health records
  • Site activities

5.    Safety (17%)

  • Site safety
  • Personnel safety

CSLB Test Locations

Logo of the contractors state license board. illustration of a paint brush, saw and cement truck

Contractors State License Board

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

You will be assigned a testing location based on the city you live in. Learn more about Contractor License LAW!

Contractor License 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

Asbestos Apprenticeships

Choosing a career in asbestos removal can be very lucrative. Construction is a trillion-dollar industry and public health is taken very seriously in California.

Whether you are completely new or have some experience already, there are resources available to you.  

red asbestos removal caution tape

An asbestos apprenticeship is an excellent way to enter the industry

Generally someone looking to become a plastering contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship  or find a skilled tradesman to learn under. 

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

Blueprint Reading Course

Knowing how to read blueprints is a valuable skill virtually all tradesman but especially for those looking to get the asbestos license.

Construction blueprints provide a visually representation of a project, which can be valuable for tradesman making aesthetic alterations to the interiors.

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.

image of a ruler and book laying on a desk, learning how to read construction blueprints is vital, especially for asbestos abatement contractors looking to get the C-22 license

Learn how to read construction blueprints!

EPA Certification

In addition to asbestos, understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The most profitable asbestos contractors are ones that position themselves as the experts and are the most knowledgable and helpful to their clients. 

the logo of the united states environmental protection agency. in addition to asbestos abatement, lead paint can cause adverse health affects as well. Contractors looking to get the asbestos license should be familiar with lead safety

Environmental Protection Agency

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.  Learn how to get an EPA Certification, in 8 hours!

OSHA Certification

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 falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.

The asbestos abatement industry can be dangerous, especially if your workers are not properly trained.

Gaining some level of OSHA training is a good idea for any contractor offering asbestos removal services. Learn more about OSHA Training!

image shows two contractors working high up on a construction beam. contractors looking to get the asbestos license should complete some level of osha certification

Occupational Safety Hazard Association

Conclusion

Getting the C-22 asbestos License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start bidding on projects or become an RMO for an existing company! 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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