what is a C-61 contractors license and how to get one in California

What Is The C-61 Contractors License?

Table of Contents

Logo of the Contractors State License Board. Image features a paint brush, handsaw and cement truck with the letters CSLB above in white

In California there are 4 Classifications for Contractor Licensing:

  • General Engineering (Class A)
  • General Building (Class B)
  • C – Specialty Classification (Class C)
  • C-61 Limited Specialty Classification (Class D)

The C-61 Contractor License is an umbrella term for 29 different trade classifications that do not fall under the General B, General A, or the C- Specialty Classifications.

The current classifications offered by the CSLB are:

These construction trades are considered more obscure and specialized, but in order to protect the consumer public the Contractor State License Board has given them designated license numbers.

Anyone charging over $500 for these services must hold a C-61 Contractors License. 

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C-61 License Requirements

To get any Contractor License in California you must first meet some basic requirements:

  • 18 Years of Age
  • 4 Years of Journeyman Level Experience
  • Driver's License or USA Identification
  • Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently on Probation or Parole

Verify your experience
A group of contractors staring down at construction plans in the middle of a job site

In addition, you will need:

  • A Signature from a Qualifying Individual 
  • Submit proof of work experience (if the state requests)
  • Application Fee
  • Activation Fee (after you pass the exam)

Journeyman Level Experience

A journeyman is someone who has worked un-supervised on a job site performing all of the duties associated with a particular trade or area of expertise.

A journeyman can also mean someone who has completed an apprenticeship or a certain level of certification.

Generally, for the C-61 Contractor license classifications, a signature and a brief description of your daily duties will be enough.

The CSLB just wants to know that you can perform your trade safely and competently.

If you have a certification or vocational degree, you can include that in the Certification of work experience you will be required to fill out. 

Signature from a Certifier
A hand holding a pen filling out an application. The C-61 Contractor License has specific requirements

A Certifier can be any of the following:

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • Employer
  • Fellow Employee
  • Union Representative
  • Foreman or Supervisor
  • Client or Business Associate

Basically, someone other than yourself can vouch for your experience.

This person will sign your application, and provide their information and a brief summary of the daily duties they have witnessed you perform. 

C-61 License Test

There are no trade exams for the C-61 Contractor license so you will only need to pass a LAW test. The exam is:

  • 115 Questions of LAW
  • Multiple-Choice
  • 3 Hours / Close Book
  • Taken on a Computer at a testing facility

C-61 License Test Visual Breakdown

The concepts that will be on the CSLB law and business exam will be:

1. Business Organization (13%)

  • Company organization
  • Licensing requirements
  • Advertising and subcontracting

2. Business Finances (15%)

  • Cash management
  • Budget and planning
  • Taxes
  • Financial reporting

3. Employment Requirements (20%)

  • Hiring employees
  • Supervising and training employees
  • Evaluation and record-keeping
  • Payroll

4. Insurance and Liens (12%)

  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Business Insurance
  • Liens and other remedies

5. Contract Requirements and Execution (21%)

  • Bidding
  • Cost control
  • Project Organization
  • Contracts
  • Payments

7. Safety (14%)

  • Training and reporting requirements
  • General safety
  • Hazardous/unknown materials

8. Public Works (5%)

Check out this article to learn more about the CSLB LAW and Business Exam.

After You Pass

Once you pass the CSLB law and business exam. The state board will request two things:

  • License Activation Fee (every two years)
  • Contractor Bond #

A Contractor Bond is a requirement for all active license numbers in the state of California.

For a complete look at the bonding process, you can check out this article called: Construction Bonds Explained.

Additional Skills

Some great additional skills to brush up on before applying for a C-61 contractors license are:

Step up in Career
two contractor installing a garage door. article details what you need to do after you pass the CSLB law and business exam

Getting the C-61 Contractor License can be a great career move for someone looking to scale their business and move to the next level.

There are many reasons why someone would move forward with getting a contractor license.

As long as you have the right information you can avoid the delays and hassles that many people face. 

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