How to Get a C-36 Plumbing Contractor’s License in California

In order to become a licensed plumbing contractor in California, you must fulfill certain requirements and follow certain steps. 

This article will walk you through obtaining a C-36 plumbing contractor’s license in California.

What Is A C-36 Plumbing Contractor’s License?

A license known as a C-36 plumbing contractor’s license enables people and organizations to carry out plumbing work in the State of California. It is issued by the Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB). Anyone doing plumbing work in California must have a C-36 license by law.

The CSLB is in charge of plumbing contractors in California and gives licenses to those who meet certain requirements. The C-36 category includes the installation, maintenance, and repair of plumbing systems. This includes work on fixtures, pipes, and other related parts.

Contractors in the C-36 category are allowed to do a wide range of plumbing jobs, such as installing, maintaining, replacing, and fixing water heaters, water treatment systems, and gas piping systems.

Contractors who fall under the C-36 classification are authorized to handle a range of plumbing tasks, including the installation, upkeep, replacement, and repair of water heaters, water treatment systems, and gas piping systems. 

There are some restrictions on what C-36 contractors can do, including the ability to work on fire sprinklers, underground utilities, and sewage systems. Additional licenses and certifications are necessary for these tasks.

Obtaining a C-36 Plumbing Contractor’s License Requirements

To apply for a C-36 plumbing contractor’s license in California, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Possess a valid driver’s license or other ID from the government.
  • Possess a Social Security or individual taxpayer identification number
  • Have at least four years of journey-level experience in plumbing
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Pass the required CSLB trade and business and law exams.

The phrase “plumbing contractor” refers to both subcontractors and specialty contractors who carry out plumbing work, which is important to keep in mind.

How to Obtain a C-36 Plumbing Contractor’s License

The process to get your California C-36 plumbing contractor’s license is simple, but requires a lot of care and attention to detail. It’s important you pay close attention to submitting your application. 

It’s also critical to prepare for the CSLB examination, which will test your knowledge of construction- and plumbing-specific work. Check out our classes today to make sure you’re prepared to pass the exam on your first try!

The steps to obtain your C-36 license are as follows:

  • Submit an application: You must send a completed application and the required fee to the CSLB.
  • Take the examinations: The C-36 trade exam and the law and business exam are the two tests you must take and pass.
  • Provide proof of experience: You must provide proof of your four years of journey-level experience in plumbing.
  • Obtain a bond and insurance: You need to buy liability insurance as well as a bond for your contractor license. 
  • Background check: Fingerprints must be submitted in order to conduct a background check.
  • Obtain a license: You will get your C-36 plumbing contractor’s license from the CSLB after finishing the earlier steps.

Things To Consider When Getting Your C-36 License

In California, getting a license to be a C-36 plumbing contractor can be hard and take a long time, but the money you can make as a certified C-36 plumber is well worth the trouble. 

However, there are some things to keep in mind when going through the process that can help you launch a successful plumbing business.

Time and money

  • The C-36 plumbing contractor license application process can take months and cost thousands of dollars. To meet the requirements, you might need to make an investment in training, supplies, and tools.

Continuing Education

  • After receiving your license, you must take continuing education courses to keep it current. Although they can be expensive and time-consuming, these courses are necessary to maintain your license in good standing.

Business considerations

  • In order to maintain your C-36 plumbing contractor license, you must abide by all applicable tax and business laws and regulations. To legally run your business, you might need to acquire additional licenses, permits, or certifications.


  • California’s plumbing market is extremely competitive, so having a strong business plan is essential. A strong marketing strategy – including advertising, networking and a strong online presence – is crucial to standing out.

Safety considerations

  • Because plumbing work can be dangerous, you must abide by all safety laws and guidelines to safeguard you, your employees, and your clients. To make sure you are operating safely and legally, you might need to make an investment in safety gear and training.


It can be difficult and rewarding to get a C-36 plumbing contractor’s license in California. You can successfully obtain your license and begin working as a licensed plumbing contractor by following the steps and taking into account the factors mentioned in this article. 

For the sake of keeping your license and operating a successful business, always remember to stay informed and current on all laws and regulations.

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.