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how to use your college degree credits or classes toward a california contractor license

College Degrees and Contractor License Experience!

One of the most common questions we get is whether or not a College Degree can substitute experience toward a Contractor license in California. 

This complete guide will breakdown everything you need to know about whether or not a college degree is transferable toward construction experience.

College degree classes and credits are transferable for a certain amount of experience when applying for the california contractor license

California Contractor License Requirements

The basic contractor license requirements in California are:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Valid USA Identification
  • Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently on Probation or Parole
  • 4 Years of Journeyman Level Experience

What Is a Journeyman?

The Contractors State License Board will require that you have journeyman/supervisory level experience in a construction trade.

While different regions may have varying definitions for what a journeyman is, typically this is someone who:

  • Can perform all of the duties associated with their trade
  • Has worked un-supervised performing their trade
  • Has supervisory level experience
  • (in some cases) has completed a Journeyman certification

What Types of Degrees and Education The CSLB May Accept Toward a Contractor License

A.A. Degree from an Accredited School or College 
You may receive a maximum of 1-1/2 years upon submission of official transcripts of the following:


  • An A.A. degree from an accredited school or college in building or construction management.
Bachelor's Degree from an Accredited College or University
maximum of two (2) years upon submission of official transcripts of any of the following:
  • A four-year degree from an accredited college or university in the fields of accounting, architecture (B-General Building classification only), business, economics, mathematics, physics, or areas related to the specific trade or craft for which application is being made;

You may also use substantiated accredited college or University course work in the following subjects:

  • Law
  •  Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Business
  • Construction technology
  • Drafting
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • physics
Completion of an Accredited Apprenticeship Program

maximum of three (3) years upon submission of any of the following:

  • Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship from an accredited apprenticeship program
  • A certified statement of completion of apprenticeship training from a union in for the trade classification you are applying for
Technical Degree

You may also submit official transcripts for for experience credit in the following areas:

  • Construction technology/management
  • Any field of engineering
  • Any field of horticulture, landscape horticulture, or landscape architecture for the Landscaping (C-27) classification 
  • Any field of interior design for the Painting and Decorating (C-33) classification

The CSLB Decides All...

Ultimately how much experience credit you get toward your license is 100% the decision of the CSLB. Make sure that you have all your official transcripts prior to submitting your application. 

No matter how much experience you are given for your degree or classes, you must have at least 1 year of Journeyman level experience.

The Contractor License Law Exam covers a variety of Law and Business related topics including:

  • Bidding
  • Cost Control
  • Contracts
  • Payments
  • Cash Management
  • Record Keeping
  • Estimation
  • Cal/OSHA 
  • Company Organization
  • Project Management
  • Business Licenses

For a Complete Home Study Course that includes Online Practice Exams, check out our:

Construction Apprenticeships

If you are just getting started in the construction industry and are looking to take classes in hopes of getting your Contractor License.

Enrolling in an apprenticeship program can be the single best decision you make in terms of securing your financial future.

There are several benefits to learning a trade and becoming an apprentice:

  1. Apprenticeships are way cheaper that University
  2. Construction Trade Skills are in High Demand
  3. Many tradesman earn an excellent income within 6 months to a year
  4. Learning a trade is ultimately recession proof
  5. You can get the same amount of experience for completion of an apprenticeship that you get from a degree!

For an approved list of California Apprenticeship Programs, check out this guide!

Online Trade Skills Courses

There are several online resources where you can develop critical construction trade skills.

These courses are also excellent for those with extensive experience who are preparing for the Contractor License exam, who are looking to refresh their knowledge

General Contractor License

If you are looking to get your General Contractor License, you can check out the video below.

If you are looking to get a different license classification you can check out this page

It is always important to understand that Construction is a skilled trade and to truly master this art form you must dedicate years to honing your knowledge.

While a degree may get you a test date, there is a great responsibility that construction professionals will always have to the public.

It is important to make sure you actually know what you are doing and invest in your knowledge and skill set!

Thanks for reading and be sure check back for updates on this blog post!

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