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To get a C-9 Drywall Contractors License in California, you must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience.
And pass a two part state exam with the Contractor State License Board.
To get 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 a drywall company, or contractor that holds the C-9 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 drywall contractor license:
The CSLB receives thousands of applications per month so there is a good chance they won’t document your experience but 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.
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.
“Tim is a nice guy and has installed drywall…” will not be acceptedThe CSLB will want to see something more like: "Tim has attached drywall ceilings, solid partitions, installed laminated drywall, metal door frames, and single-layer walls."
A drywall contractor lays out and installs gypsum wall board and gypsum wall board assemblies including nonstructural metal framing members, and performs the taping and texturing operations including the application of compounds that adhere to wall board to produce a continuous smooth or textured surface- CSLB.GOV
Anyone charging over $500 for drywall projects needs to have a C-9 Drywall Contractor License.
Some of the duties of Drywall Contractors include:
Drywall Contractors also assess plans, perform mathematical calculations and choose material components for projects.
They also install various types of wallboards and are expected to adhere to strict EPA standards during the installation and disposal process.
Drywall Subcontractors and the General Contractor License
Drywall Contractors that hold the C-9 License often function as an independent unit subcontracted by a General Contractor to perform specific duties associated with a construction project.
The state exam for General Contractors includes questions about drywall installation.
It is a critical skillset for anyone overseeing a full construction or remodel project.
The General Contractor reports directly to the client and is in charge of the overall project and its day to day operations, including subcontractors and job site safety.
To learn more about the General Contractor License, check out this article.
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:
Application Costs for the C-9 Drywall License
The Current CSLB fees are:
Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a Drywall License.
I have personally helped guys with all types of criminal records obtain multiple licenses.
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:
In the state of California, you are required to divulge any criminal charges when applying for any state license even if they have been expunged.
You will need to be prepared to submit anything they ask for regarding your criminal history.
Contractor licenses are broken down into four categories:
1) A-General Engineering (LAW + TRADE EXAM )
2) B-General Building (LAW + TRADE EXAM)
3) C-Specialty Classes (LAW + TRADE EXAM )
4) C-61/D- Limited Specialty (LAW TEST ONLY EXAM)
The Concrete License (C-9 license) Examination is divided into five sections:
The Drywall Contractor License (C-9) test is divided into five key sections:
1. Planning and Estimating (20%)
2. Preparing for Installation (14%)
3. Install Drywall, Ceilings, and Related Materials (28%)
4. Finishing (22%)
5. Safety (16%)
1. Which of the following is the MOST likely to cause high joints?
a. There is high humidity
b. There is low humidity
c .The mud is too thin
d. The mud is too thick
2. How many square feet of wallboard are needed to cover both sides of a wall that is26 feet long and 14 feet high?
a. 364 square feet
b. 546 square feet
c. 728 square feet
d. 736 square feet
3. For safety, what should be done when there is a break or change of elevation of18” or more in a hallway floor?
a. Postpone work until the stairway is constructed.
b. Provide a warning sign at least 8” x 10”
c. Provide a ladder, ramp, or temporary stairs
d. Provide caution tape barriers
Some things to remember:
I have helped all types of construction professionals from various backgrounds and experience levels get licenses.
Most are startled by how different the subject matter on the state exam is from their years of first-hand experience.
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-9 License test.
CSLB Test Locations
If you don’t have the four years required journeyman level experience to obtain the drywall contractor license, not to worry.
Your journey begins here!
Construction is a trillion-dollar industry and highly skilled drywall tradesman are always in demand.
Whether you are completely new or have some experience already, there are resources available to you.
Generally someone looking to become a drywall contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship or certification program.
For a detailed explanation on this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman!
Blue Print Reading Course
The drywall phase of the construction process is important to the overall structural integrity of a building.
Having a deep understanding of blue print reading is an invaluable skill.
Being able to quickly interpret construction blue prints is a core skill for everyone, including drywall contractors.
Blueprint Reading Skills are also critical to pass the General Contractor exam.
Check out this Blue Print Reading Course for a basic introduction to the concepts you will want to know about.
Understanding how to safely contain lead-based paint when altering structures built before 1978 is required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The most profitable drywall 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.
For a complete guide on how to get the EPA Certification, check out this article.
If you have ever looked into getting a Contractor License, chances are you have been bombarded with offers and courses from Contractor Schools all saying they can help you pass on your first try.
You may have asked yourself if it’s even necessary to go to a contractor license school.
What do you learn? How can they help me? Or maybe is this a scam?
If you have looked into choosing a Contractor License School in the past, this information will help you greatly!
Getting the C-9 Drywall Contractor License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own company, begin taking on larger clients 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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