How To Get A Contractors License In California

Let’s skip all the usual stuff and get right to the point: you’re a contractor in California, and you need a Contractors State License Board contractors license.

Here’s how you do it.

The Journey to Obtaining a Contractor’s License in California

Meet The Requirements

Before you can even apply for a CSLB license, you must meet the requirements laid out by the CSLB. They are as follows:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old and provide valid proof of identity.
  2. You need a minimum of 4 years of journey-level experience within the past ten years in the trade you’re seeking a license for. This experience can be as a worker or a supervisor.
  3. You need to pass a fingerprint-based background check. (This test will check for any past criminal behavior as well as any other contractor-related issues).

Take The Exam

Once you’ve met the initial requirements, it’s time to prepare and pass the exams. Both exams California requires you to pass two written tests:

  1. Contractor’s Law and Business Examination: This exam covers California’s contracting laws, business management, and safety regulations. This test is designed to ensure that you understand the legal and administrative aspects of running a contracting business. Brutal stuff if you’re not familiar with these laws.
  2. Trade Examination: This test is specific to your trade, i.e., a plumber’s trade exam will cover plumbing. This part of the test assesses your technical knowledge and skills, ensuring that you’re ready to provide top-notch services to your clients.

Get Insured and Get Your License!

After you’ve passed your exams, there are just a few more steps to complete:

  1. Fee Payment: You’ll need to pay an initial licensing fee, as well as other potential fees based on your classification.
  2. Contractor’s Bond: You’re required to secure a contractor’s license bond. This bond, set at $25,000, is a form of protection for your clients, ensuring that you’ll fulfill your contractual obligations.
  3. Insurance: If you have employees, you’ll need to provide proof of workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance protects your workers in case they get injured on the job. You’ll also need to provide general liability insurance as well.
  4. Get Your License! Once all these steps are complete, the state will issue your contractor’s license.

That’s it!

While the process to get your license is fairly straightforward, it can be really difficult to understand for first-timers.

If you’re struggling to make heads or tails of all the paperwork – or if you need help passing the CSLB exam – contact us today and we can help you make sense of anything that you don’t understand.

Additional Reading

Contractors State License Board (CSLB)
CSLB Applicant Resources
The Top Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for a Contractor License in California
CSLB Contractor License Exams and Study Guides en Español
How Long Does it Take to Get a Contractor’s License in California?
Do I Need a Class C Contractor’s License?

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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.