California Contractors License Schools

California Contractors License Schools
Preparing Students for the California Contractor's Exam Since 1982.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

How long does it take to get a test date and can you get a faster contractors exam date?

The first correspondence you receive from the Contractors State License Board after submitting an application for a California Contractors License is a letter informing you that your application has been received. This letter will also provide you with your unique Application Fee Number and a PIN. You can use this to log into the State's website to track the progress of your application. About a week later you will receive a letter from the state informing you that you have a test date in about three to four weeks. So you can expect to test about five to six weeks from the time you submit your application. This is assuming the state does not require any corrections or additional proof of your experience.

You can take the test faster if you like. There are two ways this can be accomplished:

(1) You can include a letter with your application addressed to the Expedite Committee. This committee meets once a week and reviews such requests. If granted you can expect to test much sooner (maybe two weeks) and have your license number issued much quicker than the three weeks it normally takes after you pass the exams. Expedites are rarely granted except under extremely urgent situations that were not under the control of the applicant, especially now since you have the next option discussed below.

(2) The other option is to do what is called a "Walk-In". Once you are notified that you have a test date in the future, you can just show up at a State testing center at 7:30 a.m. on any weekday and, if they have room, they will test you! Some days they don't test so you should call in advance and check to see if they are testing on the day you would like to do a Walk-In (be sure to specify which city). They almost always have room, especially now since they are only testing about half the number of applicants that they were just a few years ago. I have not had one student call me and say that they could not get in. This way you are testing as fast as if you were approved for an Expedite. The only difference is you will still have to wait the three weeks after you pass to get your license number.

Keep in mind that the three weeks it takes to get your license number after your exam is assuming you pay your license fee and get your bond(s) right after your test.

You cannot bid on a contract until you have a license number, even if you have passed the test.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The California Contractors License Exam

A lot of you are probably wondering what kind of test is involved in order to get a contractors license. There are actually two tests that you must pass, one on law and one on your trade, unless you are getting a C-61 classification which has no trade exam. If you pass one and fail the other, you only have to retake the one that you failed.

The questions are multiple-choice (A, B, C or D). There are 115 questions on the law test and a passing score is 66%. The trade tests range between 100 and 120 questions, depending on the trade. The scores required to pass range between 60% to 76%.

If you fail, the State charges $60.00 to re-take the test(s). You can keep taking the test for up to eighteen months and then your application voids and you must re-apply. Your application also voids if you fail (or fail to appear) and don't pay the re-exam fee within the 90-day time limit. Note that if you fail to appear twice your application will void as well. If you re-apply within 60 days of your void date you will not have to prove your experience again.

Once you have passed the test and obtained your license you do not have to test again. There are no continuing education requirements either. If you pass your test(s) and do not move forward with getting the license, for whatever reason, it is good for five years. So, if you re-apply you will not have to take the test(s) that you passed.

The key, of course, is good preparation.

For more detailed information, see this article

Monday, September 22, 2014

Does Construction Experience Count if it Was Obtained in the Military?

Military experience absolutely does count when applying for a contractors license. As a matter of fact it affects the 10 year limitation and you might be able to get the whole process sped up because of your service.

The Contractors License Law and Reference Book states:

"An applicant shall not be jeopardized in computing time for service in the armed forces of the United States during a National Emergency and the length of service may be added to the 10 years mentioned above."

This means that if you did serve during a National Emergency in the last 10 years, it extends the time limitation. Let's say you served 3 years. You now can count experience in your trade going back 13 years, including your military service if it was engaging in or directly supervising the trade for which you are applying.

Another benefit if you served in the military is The Military Veterans Application and Assistance Program. See the following:

"The Military Veterans Application Assistance Program aids those who are transitioning from military service to civilian employment. In some cases, veterans possess transferable skills that help meet the minimum experience and training requirements to apply for a contractor’s license. This program offers expedited processing of veterans’ applications, including the evaluation of transferable military experience and training, as well as education.
CSLB assists military veterans by providing:
  • Expedited application processing when appropriate;
  • Direct contact with CSLB staff;
  • Licensing staff specially trained to evaluate transferable military training and experience from all branches of the military in an effort to meet minimum licensure requirements; and
  • Evaluation of college transcripts to help verify acceptable educational credit (in addition to military training and experience)."
On a personal note: Thank you for your service!

Will The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) Accept Part-Time Experience

The State of California does accept part-time experience as long as it was within the last ten years. It only counts for the actual time it would add up to as full-time. I'll give you an example. If you worked half-time for eight years it would be the equivalent of four years of full-time experience.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Will Out Of State Experience Count When Applying For a California Contractors License?

The simple answer is: Yes. Your experience can be anywhere in the world.

Does The California CSLB Accept Self-Employed Experience?

The Contractors State License Board does accept self-employed experience, even if that self-employed experience is working in the state of California without a contractors license. I believe they adopted this policy to encourage unlicensed contractors to become legal. It's better to have someone licensed, bonded and regulated than working underground.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Contractors License Experience Requirements

The Contractors State License Board requires applicants to show four years of experience within the last ten years engaged in or directly supervising your trade. If you don't have that, education can count up to three years. Notice I said UP TO. The amount of months or years the state gives you toward the four year requirement depends on the subject(s) studied. For example, in my experience, a Bachelor's Degree in Construction Management will count the full three years while a Bachelors Degree in Business counts for only two.

Much more to come...

Welcome to License Instruction Schools' Blog!

Hello everyone. This blog is for those considering obtaining a California contractors license or adding a classification on their existing license.

A little about myself: My name is Mark Needham and I am the Director of License Instruction Schools, the largest contractors license school in America even though we only serve the state of California. That's how big our state is! I started License Instruction Schools in 1982. Since then we have enrolled over 100,000 students to prepare for the California contractors license exam. You can view our website, watch a video that shows exactly what we do or call us at (800)346-7277.

Look for posts that will help you through the process of becoming a licensed California contractor and thank you for visiting. If you are looking at this on a mobile device, click "Home" below to see all of our blog articles.