Water Conditioning Contractors specialize in:
of various water purification or conditioning systems.
"A water conditioning contractor installs water conditioning equipment with the use of only such pipe and fittings as are necessary to connect the water conditioning equipment to the water supply system and to by-pass all those parts of the water supply system within the premises from which conditioned water is to be excluded" - CSLB.GOV
The C-55 license is the classification required in the state of California for all persons looking to bid on water conditioning projects where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.
Water conditioning contractors engage in a wide variety of activities associated with the purification and treatment of water filtration systems.
While there is no solution for the total elimination of harmful mineral build-up in water, steps can be taken to reduce the levels of contaminants such as chloramine, lead, ammonia, and chlorine.
Their typical duties include:
Generally a water conditioning contractor will work in a residential or commercial setting.
If a homeowner is looking to have a complex water treatment system installed in their home beyond a simple home water filter.
A water conditioning contractor would come in and assess the system or design and install a new system.
They may also be subcontracted by a General Contractor. Check out this article for an in-depth look at the General Contractor License!
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 plumbing services is qualified and registered with the state of California.
The C-36 License is issued to plumbing contractors by the CSLB.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable water conditioning 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. Learn how to get an EPA Certification, in 8 hours!
Blue Print Reading Course
It is critical for water conditioning contractors to be able to follow specific designs and symbols on construction blueprints when working on job-sites.
If their installation duties are part of a larger project or involve some kind of alteration to a sink or wall, it will be very important for them to understand the design of the home.
Construction blueprints communicate important information about how a structure has been built as well as what materials are necessary or have been used for its construction.
Being comfortable with construction blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesman but is especially important for those looking to get the C-55 license.
Water conditioning contractors in California must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience.
You must also 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:
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-55 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.
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-55 license:
Your Qualifying Individual will also need to provide a brief but detailed description of your knowledge and skillset.
The way this description is written will be critical to whether or not your application is accepted. For example:
“Ed installed our water filter” is not descriptive enough.
The CSLB will want to see:
"Ed has safely connected treatment systems to existing water supply, conducted water analysis, installed pipes, vales and installed water conditioning equipment".
The description written by your qualifying individual will need to include the core skills required a water conditioning contractor.
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.
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.
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:
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 a C-55 License.
The truth is many applicants with criminal records get licensed in California each year...some end up obtaining multiple classifications.
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 or Forgery
The exam will be:
The Water Conditioning (C-55 license) Examination is divided into four major sections:
1. Water Testing and Equipment Selection (37%)
2. Water Systems and Component Installation (33%)
3. Troubleshooting, Maintenance, Repair, and Replacement of Water Systems and Components (21%)
4. Safety (9%)
CSLB Test Locations
Currently, there are CSLB testing locations in the following cities:
Learn more about Contractor License LAW
C55 study guides and practice tests
Some things to remember:
I have helped water conditioning contractors from all over the country get licensed in California. Many are startled by how strange the questions on the exam are.
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-55 License.
Water Treatment Apprenticeship
If you don’t have the 4 years required journeyman level plumbing experience to get a C-55 license, your journey begins here.
Generally, someone looking to get into this trade would begin by finding a union or plumbing apprenticeship program.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman!
Getting the C-55 License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own water conditioning company 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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