how to get your C-61 license in california for foundation jacking and pile driving

C-61/D-30 License: Piling Contractor’s Road Map

Table of Contents

What is a C61 / D30 Pile Driving and Pressure Foundation Jacking Contractor?

A pile driving rig preparing to penetrate the earth

“A pile driving and pressure foundation jacking contractor provides a pile driving and/or caisson drilling or auger service. This work also includes but is not limited to the injection of concrete or mortar into foundations for stabilization purposes” –CSLB.GOV

The C-61/D-30 License is the classification required in the state of California for anyone looking to contract for projects involving pile driving and pressure foundation jacking the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.

C-61 License

The C-61 Contractor License is an umbrella term for all licenses that may fall under a more obscure category of construction work. 

They cover specific areas of construction and construction-related tasks. 

If your skillset or business is limited to one particular portion of trade work, you could obtain a C-61 limited specialty license to contract over $500 for your services legally.

Duties of Piling Contractors

The C-61/D-30 license is a specialty classification for piling contractors.

Typically piling contractors engage a wide variety of services including:

  • Pile driving and pressure foundation jacking
  • Identifying seismic activity, excessive moisture, intense sun and dry heat
  • Geological testing
  • Operating piling rigs, diesel hammers, and hydraulic impact hammers
  • Penetrating earth 
  • Injecting concrete and mortar to stabilize foundations
  • Ensuring personal and job site safety
  • Bidding, estimating, and accounting


a drill, going into the ground

Due to the nature of the trade, siding contractors typically work as a subcontracted unit apart of a large construction project.

For example, a General Engineering Contractor may subcontract a pile-driving contractor specifically for their equipment and expertise.

As a result, a General Engineering Contractor ensures that the pile driving or foundation jacking phase of the project is completed safely. 


Logo of the Contractors state license board. illustration features a paint brush, hand saw and cement truck with the letters CSLB above in white

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing body for all contractors in the state of California. Their sole responsibility is to protect the consumer public. 

They ensure that anyone charging over $500 for construction services is qualified and registered with the state.

The C-61 / D-30 Pile driving and foundation jacking contractor license is issued to contractors by the CSLB. 

How to get a Piling Contractor License

To get the C-61/D-30 license you must prove a minimum of 4 years journeyman level experience and pass a law exam.

To qualify for an exam date you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Driver's License or USA Issued Identification
  • Have a Social Security or ITIN #
  • Not Currently be on probation or parole

You must also have:

  • 4 Years Journey Level Experience
  • A Qualifying Individual to sign off on your experience
  • A way to prove your experience if the state asks for documentation

Online Practice Exams and Study Guides

What is journey level experience?

A contractor holding a red hard and and wearing a gold tool belt. The CSLB will require piling contractors to prove four years journey level experience

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a pile-driving or foundation jacking company, or for a contractor that holds the C-61/D-30 Piling Contractor License.

  • A journeyman can perform all of the duties associated with his or her trade.

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 act as a Qualifying Individual when applying for the piling contractor's license:

  • Licensed General Engineering Contractor
  • C-61 / D-30 License Holder
  • Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
  • Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years)
  • Business Associate
  • Fellow Journeyman
  • Union Representative

How to fill out the Contractor License application

In addition, your Qualifying Individual will need to provide a brief but detailed description of your knowledge and skillset.

The way this description is written is critical to whether or not your application gets accepted.

For example:

“Ed has a lot of experience in pile driving” is not descriptive enough.

Your description must sound more like this:

“Ed has operated a variety of pile driving equipment including sheet pile pushers, Vibro hammers, and hydraulic pile hammers. He has engaged in pile driving and foundation jacking on various job sites”

Most importantly, the description written by your qualifying individual has to include the core skills required for the piling contractor's license.

Work experience for the Contractor License

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 which include:

  • Tax Returns
  • Check Stubs
  • Contracts
  • Material Order Invoices or Receipts

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.

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:

  • 6-8 Week Application Processing Time
  • 3-4 Week wait for an Exam date

I have seen some situations where applicants got their test date sooner and somewhere they got their test date much later.

The most common reasons your application would get held up are:

  1. Time of year (processing time slows down during the holidays) 
  2. Criminal History 
  3. Proving Experience
  4. Mistakes on your application 

Contractor License Fees

The Current CSLB fees are: 

Can you get a Contractors License with a Felony in California?

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-61/D-30 Piling contractor 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.

Four contractors analyzing a construction blueprint. Piling contractors must know how to read blueprints in a construction setting

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.

Typically the CSLB is most concerned with Fraud, Embezzlement, and Forgery.

The Contractor License Exam

Contractor licenses are broken down into four categories:

1) A-General Engineering

2) B-General Building

3) C-Specialty classes

4) C-61 / D-Limited Specialty classes

Each category of license except the D-Limited Specialty license class requires that you pass a TRADE exam.

C-61 Classification licenses do not have trade portions.

You must only pass a LAW exam. The exam is:

  • 115 Questions on Contractor LAW
  • 3 Hours to complete
  • Multiple choice, taken on a computer
  • Closed Book

The Law Examination is divided into eight major sections:

1. Business Organization (10%)

  •  Company organization
  •  Project organization

2. Business Finances (15%)

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

3. Employment Requirements (12%)

  • Employment regulations
  • Evaluation and record-keeping
  • Payroll

4. Bonds, Insurance, and Liens (10%)

  • Bonds
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Liens and other remedies
  • Other insurance

5. Contract Requirements and Execution (23%)

  • Bidding
  • Cost control
  • Contracts
  • Payments

6. Licensing Requirements (8%)

  • Business license
  • Contractor’s license
  • Activity regulation

7. Safety (15%)

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

8. Public Works (7%)

  • Prevailing wage requirements
  • Bonding requirements
  • Insurance requirements

Learn everything you need to know about Contractor License LAW!

CSLB Test Locations

There are CSLB testing locations in the following cities:

  • Berkeley
  • Fresno
  • Norwalk
  • San Jose
  • Oxnard
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • The CSLB will assign you a testing center based on your location
  •  The test is not available online 
  • The CSLB allows you to bring a pre-approved translator with you 
  • The CSLB will grant you 18 months after your application is accepted to pass the test 
  • You must wait three weeks before retaking the state exam ( $60 per retake )

California Contractors License Exam Prep

A pencil and calculator laying on top of a piece of graph paper

  • Getting the D-30 Pile Driving and Foundation jacking License is a smooth process if you have the right information. 

  • It can be confusing to see un-familiar terms used to describe tools or job site practices. The Contractor LAW exam covers a number of different topics.

  • Questions are presented to you as if you are running a large scale remodeling business with multiple employees.

  • Being prepared and knowing what to study is the most important thing you can do in ensuring your success on the contractor license exam.

Construction Apprenticeships

If you do not have the experience required to get the C-61/D-30 license for piling contractors, not to worry! 

Your journey begins here. Generally, someone looking to become a contractor would want to look into an apprenticeship to find an experienced person to work with.

For a detailed explanation of this process, check out my article: Apprentice vs Journeyman!

Blueprint Reading Course

featured image for a blog post about how to read construction blueprints for those looking to get the piling contractor license

Deck contractors should be able to read designs and symbols on construction blueprints.

If installation or repair is part of a larger project, being able to execute their duties within the larger scope of the job is essential. 

Reading blueprints is an invaluable skill for all tradesmen but can be especially important for deck contractors.

Check out our Free Blueprint Reading Course!

OSHA Certification

image shows two contractors high up on a steel beam, piling contractors looking to get licensed and bonded should know about osha certifications

Occupational Safety Hazard Association

Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.

That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average.

In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between.

The construction industry is notoriously dangerous, especially if your workers are not properly trained.

For employment with a piling contractor, it is typically required that you have completed some level of OSHA training. Learn more about OSHA Training.


Getting the C-61/D-30 Piling Contractor License can be a huge step up in your career if you are looking to start your own company or become an RMO for an existing firm!

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!