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what jobs can you bid with a C-20 HVAC license in California

Jobs You Can Bid With a C-20 HVAC License!

Table of Contents


What Jobs Can You Do With a C-20 HVAC license?

The C-20 license is for individuals or companies that specialize in HVAC services. 

There are a variety of jobs you can bid on if you have this license, including:

  • New HVAC system installation
  • Fabrication and design
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Warm air appliances
  • Ventilating systems
  • Plenum chambers
  • Humidity and thermostatic controls
  • System upgrades and replacements
  • Scheduled maintenance services
  • Demonstrating product knowledge
  • Air duct installation
  • Installation of smart thermostats
  • Emergency services
  • Indoor quality audits
  • Selecting energy efficient heating and air conditioning systems
  • Freon leak repair
  • System tune-up and safety checks
  • Furnace Installation
  • Duct Evaluation and replacement
  • Heat Pump servicing
  • Thermostat repair
  • Flame sensor repair
  • Home humidifier design

HVAC Contractors and the CSLB

The C-20 HVAC license is one of 74 classifications available in California. Contractors in the state of California are governed by the CSLB(Contractors State License Board)

There are 4 major classification categories:

Commonly referred to as simply the “C-20 or HVAC contractor license”.


Expanding your HVAC business in California

Contractors in California can hold multiple licenses.

The most common pairings for the C-20 license are:

What jobs can you bid with a C-20 Hvac license in California

Requirements for California C-20 Contractors

To get an HVAC contractor license you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • 18 Years of Age
  • 4 Years of Journeyman Level Experience
  • Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently on Probation or Parole
  • Signature from a licensed contractor, fellow employee, supervisor, or business associate 


What heating and air-conditioning concepts do I need to know for the exam?

You will definitely want to be prepared for any curveballs that could come up on the C-20 license exam.

You may be presented with questions related to planning and estimation, fabrication, and safety procedures that you may or may not be familiar with.

It will be important to review everything you can.

Below is a breakdown of what you need to know:

1. Evaluation, Design, and Estimation (26%)

  • HVAC system design and evaluation
  • Load and psychrometric calculations
  • Duct system design and layout
  • Job cost estimation 

2. Fabrication, Installation, and Startup (27%)

  • Duct system fabrication
  • Equipment installation
  • Electrical and mechanical components
  • Plumbing and refrigeration components
  • Air distribution and duct systems
  • HVAC system startup 

3. Troubleshooting, Repair, and Maintenance (22%)

  • HVAC system diagnostic tests and evaluation
  • HVAC system maintenance or repair 

4. Safety (25%)

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Job site safety requirements (Cal/OSHA)
  • Handling hazardous materials


What's the C-20 Contractor exam process like?

The exam will be:

  • 115 Questions Law & Business
  • 115 Questions HVAC
  • Multiple Choice
  • Closed Book
  • 3 Hours to Complete each section
  • Taken via Computer at a proctored exam facility
  • Exam centers located all over the state of California

Math Skills 

There will be math on your CSLB law & business and trade exam.

On the law side, questions will be presented to you as if you are a General Building Contractor with multiple projects running simultaneously with several employees.

You can expect math questions related to:

  • Arithmetic
  • Cost Estimation 
  • Percentages and Decimals

The math you can expect on the C-20 license exam will be a little bit more complex. Be prepared for questions that may include:

  • Geometry 
  • Basic Electrical Theory
  • Units of measurement

Blueprint Reading Skills

Blueprint reading is a fundamental skill for all contractors. Knowing how to interpret plans and is a key part of the job if you are working within a construction crew.

Some aspects of plan reading may also be your examination. 

For a deeper look at blueprint reading concepts, check out this free blueprint reading guide.


CSLB law & business exam

Our complete course is a guide for aspiring California HVAC contractors.

A step by step break down all of the essential knowledge you need to be successful on your CSLB law & business examination.

In addition to passing your exam, those looking to get the C-20 license will be equipped with a crash course on how to run a profitable business. 

You will learn:

  • Company organization 
  • How to bid effectively
  • Understanding cost control
  • Various contract types
  • Cash management
  • Estimation fundamentals
  • CAL/OSHA
  • Business Structures
  • Worker’s Compensation and Taxes
  • Insurance Types in Construction
  • Labor Laws and Employee Rights
  • Hiring and Firing Practices
  • Contractor Bonds
  • Mechanics Liens
  • State Laws and Statutes
  • Project Management 101
  • Prevailing Wages and Public Works
  • And Much More!