California Work Experience Requirements

Visit the Contractors License State Board Guide for the steps and requirements to become a Licensed Contractor in California.

What kind of work experience is required for a California contractor license?

  • The license qualifier must have four years of at least journey-level work experience in the past ten years immediately prior to filing the application in the classification being applied for.
  • Credit is given only for experience as a journeyperson, foreperson, supervising employee, or contractor. A journeyperson is an experienced worker, not a trainee, who can perform the trade without supervision or someone who has completed an apprenticeship program.
  • Someone other than the applicant must verify work experience claims, such as an employer, fellow employee, other journeyperson, contractor, union representative, building inspector, architect, engineer, business associate, or homeowner or client if the applicant is/was self-employed. The person who verifies the experience must have observed the relevant work done during the time period in question and complete and sign the “Certification of Work Experience” form, which is included with the application.
  • Be prepared to furnish documentation of any experience listed on the form whenever CSLB requests it.

Are there educational requirements for a license?

No. There are no specific educational or course requirements to get a California contractors license.

May I substitute any education, technical training, or apprenticeship training for the required work experience?

Yes, CSLB may grant credit toward the work experience requirement for a completed apprenticeship program, or technical training or completed education at an accredited school. You will need to provide written documentation, including copies of apprenticeship completion certificates and official transcripts with the application. No credit is given for high school course work. All documents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Every qualifier must demonstrate at least one year practical journey-level work experience.

Can I use my armed services experience toward getting a contractor license?

Yes, The Military Veterans Application Assistance Program helps those transitioning from military service to civilian employment meet the minimum requirements for a contractor license. This program offers expedited processing of veterans’ applications by specially trained staff, including the evaluation of any transferable military experience and training, as well as education. You will be asked to provide evidence of the qualifier’s current or previous military service with the application, you can use the following:

  • Military orders
  • Certificate of Release
  • Discharge from Active Duty (DD 214)
  • Copy of Enlisted Record Brief (ERB)
  • Get Licensed to Build
  • Copy of Officer Record Brief (ORB)
  • Verification of Military Experience and Training (DD 2586)
  • Copy of Joint Service Transcripts (military transcripts)
  • Sealed, official educational transcripts of civilian education

You can obtain copies of service records from the National Archive.


# Jake 7 2023-08-01 16:20
Hi. I have worked in and out of a handful of trades and doing my own handyman business the past 12 years. I have spent about 4 with a general. I wasn't thinking about my future unfortunately and I happily took cash under the table. I now have children to feed and a family to take care of and I am concerned about my future moving forward. I realized the error in my thought and I recently signed on to work with a general contractor (he put me on payroll) for 2 weeks out of each month (40 hours a week but only 80 a month). Do I get the same credit towards my license than if I was working 160 hours a month?
Also is there any way of pulling work experience from a GC that had me under the table?

Also, my plan was to take up the other half of my month with a c10 electrician. My ultimate goal is to have both my b and c10. I am very good at finish work but also very proficient with electric and enjoy it. Am I able to work half the month on each and have both licenses in 4 years (assuming I complete the schooling and other requirements for the c10)? If not, what is the beat route of me achieving this goal? Located in california.
# Sharilyn Baez 2023-08-08 15:14
Hello Jake,
to prove your experience for the California Electrical (C-10) and General Building (B), you can provide W-2, pay stubs or a notarized letter from the company or contractor you've worked for. Both the C-10 and B contractor licenses, require you to have 4 years of construction experience within the last 10 years. You can start studying for the construction exams while you are working on obtaining your remaining experience. Construction exams needed to approve in order to obtain the C-10 and B contractor licenses are: General Building (B), Electrical (C-10), and Law and Business.
# Casey J 2024-01-12 01:12
I did a full apprenticeship training program with the Carpenters union and went on to have an additional 8 years working for concrete contractors. I have 2 years working for a general contractor during that time. Will those two years working for a GC and my four years of apprenticeship training qualify me for a class B contractors licence or will I be limited to only a certain classification such as carpenter etc?
# Sofía M. 2024-01-25 09:58
Hello Casey,

You may be eligible for a California General Building (B) Contractor License. However, it depends on the specific nature of your work during those past years.

Applicants must have at least four years of work experience in the trade within the past decade, including experience as a Journeyperson, Foreperson, Supervising Employee, or Contractor.

According to your stated experience, you have completed four years of apprenticeship training and eight years working with Concrete Contractors. These count towards the 4-year requirement, as long as your roles focused on skills relevant to the Class B Classification (framing, roofing, electrical, plumbing, etc.). As for the two years working for a General Contractor, this experience could further strengthen your case, especially if it involved supervising or performing other critical B Classification tasks.

The California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reviews experience on a case-by-case basis. They will closely examine the specific responsibilities you held during your years of work. Documenting your expertise thoroughly and gathering supporting evidence that provides detailed descriptions of your duties, obligations, and projects handled is essential. To demonstrate your knowledge in the field, you can provide W-2s, pay stubs, tax forms, certificates or permits acquired, or a notarized letter from the Contractors you have worked for.

Below, we attach an informative article with all the information related to the California General Building (B) Contractor License, including the step-by-step instructions on acquiring it. You will also find the products and services that we offer to help you study for the trade and business examinations:

We are a construction school and bookstore that offers books and classes to prepare you to obtain your Contractor's License. Please do not hesitate to ask us any questions or seek assistance by calling 866-986-7978. We are always happy to assist you!

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