jobs you can bid with a C-51 license in California

What Can I Do With a C-51 Contractor License?

Table of Contents

What Jobs Can You Bid with a C-51 License?

The C-51 license is for individuals or companies that specialize in structural steel construction work.

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

  • Steel construction
  • Structural steel engineering
  • Layouts
  • Custom metal fabrication
  • Iron works
  • Steel & stairways
  • Contract administration
  • Machining
  • Custom brackets and frames
  • Trash enclosures
  • Beams and anchoring
  • Shop drawings
  • Gates, doors, and balconies
  • Aluminum, carbon steel and stainless steel
  • Auto CAD and design suites
  • Drill & Tap
  • Forming
  • Coordinating submittals
  • Scheduling
  • Anchor setting, truss and joint details
  • Airports, harbors and naval stations
  • Coordinating of material delivery
  • Production management
  • Cutting, welding, forming, and layout
  • Handrail and Guardrails
  • 3D modeling and design services
  • Gates, grills, wrought iron, and access ladders
  • Shearing, Plasma Cutting, punching, water jets and lasers
  • Outside sourcing
  • Steel erectors and fabrication
  • High rise construction
  • Structural and ornamental works
  • Welding and installation
  • Steel framing
  • Metal products design
  • Project estimating
  • Material procurement
  • Project management

Steel Contractors and the CSLB

The C-51 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:

Common Pairings for the C-51 License

Contractors in California can hold multiple classifications.

The most common pairings for the C-51 license are typically

C-51 contractor requirements

To become licensed with the CSLB 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 construction 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 California C-51 license exam.

You may be presented with questions related to structural steel which could be unfamiliar.

Take the time to review every possible question and concept.

Below is a breakdown of what you need to know:

Planning and Estimating (20%)

  • Reviewing plans and specifications
  • Conducting site visits
  • Coordinating with other trades
  • Estimating equipment and material

Job Preparation (15%)

  • Developing drawings
  • Storing material
  • Determining placement of material

Shop Fabrication (20%)

  • Processing material
  • Creating holes and slots in material
  • Cleaning and priming members
  • Loading and transporting material

Field Erection (20%)

  • Erecting and securing material
  • Installing beams and trusses
  • Installing high strength bolts
  • Finishing joints and connections

Safety (25%)

  • Working in elevated areas
  • Hoisting and rigging
  • Correcting safety hazards
  • Operating lift equipment
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE)

What's the C-51 license exam process like?

The exam will be:

  • 115 Questions Law & Business
  • 115 Questions Structural Steel
  • Multiple Choice
  • Closed Book
  • 3 Hours to Complete each section
  • Taken via Computer at a CSLB Testing Facility
  • Exam Centers in: Berkeley, Fresno, Norwalk, Oxnard, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Jose

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 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-51 license exam may vary. Be prepared for questions that may include:

  • Basic Geometry
  • 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.

Interpreting building plans is critical.

Some aspects of plan reading may also be your examination. 

For a deeper look at blueprint reading concepts, you will want to check out this free blueprint reading guide.

CSLB law & business exam

Our complete course gives you everything you need to pass the C-51 California structural steel contractor license exam.

In addition to getting brushed up on the construction trade, those looking to get the C-51 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
  • 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!