how to get your D-12 license for synthetic products in the state of California. Get certified by the CSLB

D-12 license: Synthetic Products Contractor

Table of Contents

What is a C-61/D-12 License?

Green synthetic turf commonly found on soccer fields

The D-12 license is the classification required in the state of California for anyone looking to bid on synthetic products projects where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.

C-61 Limited Specialty Classification

The C-61 Limited Specialty 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.

Typical activities associated with the D-12 License

A synthetic plastic bool being installed into a backyard surrounded by a mound of dirt

Most contractors applying for the D-12 license specialize in:

  • Epoxy Products
  • Bathtub Refinishing 
  • Synthetic Turf

This classification covers a wide variety of specialties including:

  • Installing and repairing PVC piping systems 
  • Fabrication and design of irrigation drip systems
  • Bathtub, sink and shower refinishing 
  • check Enamel refinishing
  • check Work with epoxy products including resurfacing
  • check Pest control services including rodent guard control
  • check Synthetic turf fabrication, design and repair
  • check Cost calculations, preparing invoices, and accounting
  • check Maintaining job-site safety

What is a Subcontractor?

In a construction setting, a General Contractor may hire a synthetic products contractor specifically for their expertise in a particular area. A contractor holding the D-12 license may also be hired for their equipment.

As a result, a general contractor ensures that this phase of the project is executed correctly.

Learn more about the General Contractor License!


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-12 Synthetic Products contractor license is issued to contractors by the CSLB. 

Online Practice Exams and Study Guides

C-61 / D-12 License Requirements

Synthetic products contractors 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 #
  • check 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

What is journey level experience?

A contractor holding down a PVC pipe while the other cuts it with a large power saw

Journeyman level experience means that you have worked unsupervised full time for a synthetic products company, or for a contractor that holds the D-12 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 D-12 license

  • Licensed General Contractor
  • C-61 / D-12 License Holder
  • Former Supervisor (within the last 10 years)
  • check Fellow Employee (within the last 10 years)
  • check Business Associate
  • check Fellow Journeyman
  • check 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: 

“Bill refinished our bathtub” is not descriptive enough.

 The CSLB will want to see:

“Steve has refinishing bathtubs, countertops, sinks and showers. He has done cost calculations and job-site preparation. He also has experience with PVC pipe, vinyl swimming pool relining” etc.

FMost importantly, the description written by your qualifying individual has to include the core skills required for synthetic products contractors.

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 

D-12 License Application Costs

The Current CSLB fees are: 

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

A wooden gavel

Having a criminal record in no way stops you from getting a C-61/D-12 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.

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
  • check 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 more about Contractor License LAW!

Recommended Resources

CSLB Test Locations

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

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

Sample blueprint with a ruler and a pencil

  • Getting the D-12 License for synthetic products 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 CSLB law & business 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-12 Synthetic Products Contractor license, 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

synthetic products contractors looking to get the D-12 license should know how to read construction blueprints

Synthetic products 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 synthetic products contractors.

Check out our Free Blueprint Reading Course!

EPA Certification

Logo of the United States environmental protection agency

When making alterations to or around structures built before 1978, contractors must know how to contain lead paint if it is present.  

Lead paint can travel miles through air, rest on soil, and enter air ducts causing potentially fatal respiratory damage.

Synthetic products contractors looking to build profitable businesses must position themselves as experts and the authority within their industry. 

Contractors must be a source of information for their clients and community if they want referrals and repeat business. Learn how to get an EPA Certification in 8 hours!