Article Index

California Contractor Licenses

State Licenses

Select a license to view its requirements, definition, exams, and books.

General Building Contractor (B)

Build any structure for the purpose of housing people and animals (houses, highrises, condos, etc.)

Asbestos Abatement Contractor (C-22)

Abatement, containment, encapsulation, or removal, and disposal of asbestos-containing construction materials

Asbestos Certification (ASB)

Contractors with an asbestos certification can only perform abatement work within the license classification(s) they already hold

Boiler, Hot Water Heating and Steam Fitting Contractor (C-4)

Power boiler, hot-water heating systems, steam fitting, fire-tube, and water-tube steel power boilers, hot-water heating low-pressure boilers, steam fitting and piping, fittings, valves, gauges, pumps, radiators, convectors, fuel oil tanks, fuel oil lines, chimneys, flues, heat insulation, and even related solar heating systems

Building Moving/Demolition Contractor (C-21)

Raise, lower, crib, underpin, demolish and move or remove structures, including their foundations

Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor (C-6)

Cabinets, millwork, cases, sashes, doors, trims, nonbearing partitions, and similar structures

Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor (C-54)

Glazed wall, ceramic, mosaic, quarry, paver, faience, glass mosaic and stone tiles; thin tile that resembles full brick, natural or simulated stone slabs for bathtubs, showers and horizontal surfaces inside of buildings, or any tile units set in the traditional or innovative tile methods. Excludes hollow or structural partition tile

Concrete Contractor (C-8)

Form, pour, place, finish and install specified mass, pavement, flat, and other concrete work; place and set screeds for pavements or flatwork

Construction Zone Traffic Control Contractor (C-31)

Prepare or remove lane closures, flagging, or traffic diversions like cones, delineators, barricades, sign stands, flashing beacons, flashing arrow trailers, and changeable message signs. This work can be done on public streets and highways

Drywall Contractor (C-9)

Hang, tape, and finish drywall, as well as nonstructural metal framing

Earthwork and Paving Contractors (C-12)

Cutting, filling, excavating, grading, trenching, backfilling, mixing, fabricating, and placing of paving and any other surfacing materials

Electrical Contractor (C-10)

Any electrical wiring or installation, including solar photovoltaic cells. Any employee of a C-10 contractor needs to have a certification as either a General Electrician, Residential Electrician, Fire/Life Safety Technician, Voice Data Video Technician, or a Nonresidential Lighting Technician.

Elevator Contractor (C-11)

Electrical, hydraulic, and manually operated elevators, including sheave beams, motors, sheaves, cable and wire rope, guides, cab, counterweights, doors (including sidewalk elevator doors), automatic and manual controls, signal systems

Fencing Contractor (C-13)

All types of fences, corrals, runs, railings, cribs, game court enclosures, guard rails and barriers, playground game equipment, backstops, posts, flagpoles, and gates, excluding masonry walls

Fire-Life Safety Technician Certification

Employees of an Electrical (C-10) contractor, who perform Fire-Alarm related work, need to have this certification.

Fire Protection Contractor (C-16)

All types of fire protection systems. Does not include electrical alarms

Flooring and Floor Covering Contractors (C-15)

Flooring and floor coverings, carpet, resilient sheet goods, resilient tile, and wood floors. Does not include tile

Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor (C-5)

Framing and rough, including sub-flooring, siding, exterior staircases and railings, overhead doors, roof decking, truss members, and sheathing

General Electrician Certification

Employees of an Electrical (C-10) contractor, who perform electrical work, need to have this certification.

General Engineering Contractor (A)

Irrigation, drainage, water power, water supply, flood control, inland waterways, harbors, docks and wharves, shipyards and ports, dams and hydroelectric projects, levees, river control and reclamation works, railroads, highways, streets and roads, tunnels, airports and airways, sewers and sewage disposal plants and systems, waste reduction plants, bridges, overpasses, underpasses, pipelines for the transmission of petroleum, parks, playgrounds, refineries, industrial plants, chemical plants, powerhouses, power plants, utility plants, mines and metallurgical plants, excavating, grading, trenching, paving, and surfacing

General Manufactured Housing Contractor (C-47)

Any type of work on any type of mobile or multifamily manufactured homes, including the accessory buildings or structures, and the foundations

Glazing Contractor (C-17)

Glass, glasswork, mirrored glass, and glass substitute materials for glazing, frames, panels, sashes and doors

Hazardous Substance Removal Certification (HAZ)

No contractor shall engage in a removal or remedial action, unless the qualifier for the license has passed an approved hazardous substance certification examination.

Insulation and Acoustical Contractor (C-2)

Any insulation and acoustical materials for purposes of controlling temperature and sound

Landscaping Contractor (C-27)

Development of landscape systems and facilities for public and private garden-like spaces

Lathing and Plastering Contractor (C-35)

Coat surfaces with a mixture of sand, gypsum plaster, quick-lime or hydrated lime and water, or sand and cement and water. This includes coating for soundproofing and fireproofing. You can also install lath, metal studs, and channels

Limited Specialty (C-61)

These are limited trades that start with “D-” followed by a number and they do not require a trade exam (business only). They range from awnings to tree service and there are about sixty (60) of these limited trades

Lock and Security Equipment Contractor (C-28)

Doors, gates, locks, panic and fire rated exit devices, manual and automatically operated gate and door closures and releases, jail and prison locking devices, permanently installed or built-in safes and vaults, master key systems, metal window guards, security doors, card activated and electronic access control systems for control equipment, and motion detectors

Low Voltage Systems Contractor (C-7)

Limited to systems that do not exceed 91 volts, for example, telephone systems, sound systems, cable television systems, closed-circuit video systems, satellite dish antennas, instrumentation and temperature controls, and low voltage landscape lighting. It does not include Fire Alarms

Masonry Contractor (C-29)

Install concrete units and baked clay products; concrete, glass and clay block; natural and manufactured stone; terra cotta; and fire brick; masonry component units for structural load bearing and non-load bearing walls for structures and fences installed with or without mortar; ceramic veneer, and thin brick for facing; paving; and clear waterproofing

Non-Residential Lighting Technician Certification

Employees of an Electrical (C-10) contractor, who perform Non-residential Lighting work, need to have this certification.

Ornamental Metal Contractor (C-23)

Brass, bronze, copper, cast iron, wrought iron, monel metal, stainless steel, steel, and/or any other metal for the architectural treatment and ornamental decoration of structures. Does not include sheet metal work

Painting and Decorating Contractor (C-33)

Scraping and sandblasting of surfaces, and the application of paints, papers, textures, fabrics, pigments, oils, turpentines, japans, driers, thinners, varnishes, shellacs, stains, fillers, waxes, and adhesives to any surface. Also includes decorating, protecting, fireproofing, and waterproofing

Parking and Highway Improvement Contractor (C-32)

Protective coatings, vehicle stops, guard rails and mechanical devices, directional lines, buttons, markers, signs and arrows on the horizontal surface of any game court, parking facility, airport, highway, or roadway constructed of concrete, asphalt, or similar material. Does not include re-paving

Pipeline Contractor (C-34)

Pipelines for water, gas, and petroleum, as well as incidental trenching, boring, shoring, backfilling, compacting, paving and surfacing

Plumbing Contractor (C-36)

On-site waste disposal systems, piping, storage tanks, venting, vacuum, compressed air, gases for medical, dental, commercial and industrial purposes, gas appliances, flues, suspended space heating units (no forced warm air units), extend gas and water piping to utility meter, water heaters

Refrigeration Contractor (C-38)

Refrigerators, refrigerated rooms, insulated refrigerated spaces, temperature insulation, air-conditioning units, ducts, blowers, registers, humidity and thermostatic controls for the control of air, liquid, and gas temperatures below fifty (50) degrees Fahrenheit

Reinforcing Steel Contractor (C-50)

Any re-bar work used to reinforce concrete structures

Residential Electrician Certification

Employees of an Electrical (C-10) contractor, who perform residential electrical work, need to have this certification.

Residential Remodeling Contractor (B-2)

Any residential remodel involving at least three unrelated trades (for example, a contract requiring drywall, painting, and finish carpentry would fall within the scope of this trade)

Roofing Contractor (C-39)

Work on surfaces that seal, waterproof and weatherproof structures using asphaltum, pitch, tar, felt, glass fabric, urethane foam, metal roofing systems, flax, shakes, shingles, roof tile, and slate. C-39 Roofing contractors are not eligible for an exemption from the workers’ compensation insurance requirement and must file with CSLB either a Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance or a Certificate of Self-Insurance.

Sanitation System Contractor (C-42)

Cesspools, septic tanks, storm drains, and other sewage disposal and drain structures, including the laying of cast-iron, steel, concrete, vitreous and nonvitreous pipe

Sheet Metal Contractor (C-43)

Cornices, flashings, gutters, leaders, pans, kitchen equipment, duct work (including insulation, patented chimneys, metal flues, metal roofing systems and any other installations requiring sheet metal)

Sign Contractor (C-45)

Wiring and installation of electric signs, including post or pole supported signs, signs attached to structures, painted wall signs. Non-electrical sigs are also included

Solar Contractor (C-46)

Thermal and photovoltaic solar energy systems

Structural Steel Contractor (C-51)

Structural steel shapes and plates, of any profile, perimeter or cross-section to be used as structural members for buildings and structures, including riveting, welding, rigging, and metal roofing work necessary

Swimming Pool Contractor (C-53)

Swimming pools, spas or hot tubs, including solar heating equipment

Voice Data Video Technician Certification

Employees of an Electrical (C-10) contractor, who perform Voice-Data-Video work, need to have this certification.

Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor (C-20)

Warm-air heating systems, water heating heat pumps, ventilating systems with blowers and plenum chambers, AC systems, ducts, registers, flues, humidity, and thermostatic controls, as well as solar-based AC systems

Water Conditioning Contractor (C-55)

Installs water conditioning equipment with the use of only such pipe and fittings as are necessary to connect the water conditioning equipment

Welding Contractor (C-60)

Welding of any metal by use of gases or electrical energy

Well Drilling Contractor (C-57)

Install water wells and pumps by boring, drilling, excavating, casing, cementing and cleaning to provide a supply of uncontaminated water

Getting a Contractor's License in California

For the California contractor licensing process, you must first apply with all the requested information from the State. Once received by the board, you'll be required to complete your fingerprints, and they'll allow you to sit for the exam. The tests are closed books, meaning studying the books thoroughly to prepare yourself for the exam is a must. If English is not your first language, you may request to have an interpreter with you.

If you are new to the California Licensing process it would be a good idea to sign up for the free contractor workshop, which is held on the first Friday of every month at 10:00AM. It is hosted by the CSLB.

Taking the California Exam

To have a better understanding on what is going to be on the exam, please visit the Examination Study Guides page. Or if you are looking for the exact scopes of the different licenses, you may visit the License Classifications page.

FAQ for California Contractors licensed through the CSLB
Fees for California contractors applying for a contractor's license

Getting an Electrical Contractor's License in California

Electrical Certifications are NOT Electrical contractor licenses in California. The only electrical contractor's license in California is the C-10 Contractor's license. Any employee working for a C-10 contractor MUST have one of five electrical certifications. Those certifications are:

  • General Electrician
  • Residential Electrician
  • Fire/Life Safety Technician
  • Voice Data Video Technician
  • Nonresidential Lighting Technician

If you are a licensed C-10 contractor licensed by the Contractors' State License Board, then you do not need to be certified. However, if you have employees that work under you then they need to get certified. Please visit our website for more information about certification. Note that if you are a licensed C-10 contractor but working under another C-10 contractor's license as an employee you must be certified

The legal source of the above-mentioned information is:

Existing law requires that persons performing work as electrician under a C-10 licensed contractor be certified pursuant to certification standards established by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. “Electricians” is defined as all persons who engage in the connection of electrical devices for electrical contractors licensed pursuant to Section 7058 of the Business and Profession Code, specifically, contractors classified as electrical contractors in the Contractors State License Board Rules and Regulations [Labor Code § 108 (c)].

Below are some important links for electricians in California:

Instructions on filling out the Electrician Application
Application for Electrician Examination and Certification
California Electrician's FAQ
If you have no experience as an electrician, you must be a electrician trainee
Department of Industrial Relations

Reciprocity for California Contractors

The “License Verification Request” form is for contractors who have been licensed in a state that has a reciprocal license agreement with California. Currently, California has reciprocity with Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada and Utah. If a contractor has held a valid license in one of these states for the past five years and is applying for a similar license in California, he/she may be eligible for a waiver of the trade exam. The bottom portion of the License Verification Request form must be completed by the licensing agency in the state where the contractor was previously licensed.

California PSI© Electrical Exam Test Locations

Contact Information

To submit an application to the address below:
CSLB Headquarters
Contractors State License Board

P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826-0026

To visit the licensing board in person, the location is:
Contractors State License Board
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827

24-Hour Licensing and Consumer Information: 800-321-2752
Outside California: 916-255-3900
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time
(closed holidays)

To inquire about an electrical certification as General Electrician, Residential Electrician, Fire/Life Safety Technician, Voice Data Video Technician, or a Nonresidential Lighting Technician, you may contact:
Department of Industrial Relations Division of Labor Standards Enforcement Attn: Electrician Certification Unit
PO Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142-0603

Phone: 510-286-3900
Fax: 510-286-3917
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Important Forms and Applications

Accommodation Requests for Examination
Application to Inactivate Contractor's License
Application to Remove Classification from License
Application for Additional Classification
Application for Joint Venture License
Application for Original Contractor License
Application for Original Contractor License - Examination Waiver (7065)
Application for Registration as a Home Improvement Salesperson
Certification of Work Experience
Construction Project Experience
Disclosure Statement Regarding Criminal Plea/Conviction
Owner-Builder B-General Building Construction Project Experience
Replace qualifying Individual
Request for License Number Reissuance
Request for Suspension of Contractor's License and Proof of Unsatisfied Final Judgment

There are three ways for fill out a form (pdf, order, easy fill). You can access all options on the CSLB'S Form and Applications page.