What to Expect and How to Prepare for a Background Check as Part of the CSLB Licensing Process

Getting a Contractor’s State License Board (CSLB) license is an important step for any construction professional. However, before you can get licensed, you need to undergo a background check. This process can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. In this guide, we’ll take a look at what you can expect and how you can prepare for a background check as part of the CSLB licensing process.

What to Expect

When you apply for a CSLB license, you will need to provide personal information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number. The CSLB will use this information to conduct a criminal background check. Here’s what you can expect during the process:

1. Fingerprinting

As part of the background check, you will need to get fingerprinted. The CSLB will send you a fingerprint kit after you submit your application. You can either take the kit to a law enforcement agency or use a live scan service provider to get your fingerprints taken. The live scan service provider will electronically transmit your fingerprints to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for processing.

The Live Scan Process

If you choose to use a live scan service provider, you will need to schedule an appointment with them. When you arrive at the provider, you will need to provide your valid form of identification and pay the live scan processing fee. The provider will then take your fingerprints using a digital scanner, which will capture an electronic image of your fingerprints. The image will be electronically transmitted to the DOJ and FBI for processing.

The DOJ and FBI will process your fingerprints and provide a response to the CSLB. The processing time for fingerprints can vary, but typically takes between two and three weeks. If you have a criminal history, the processing time may take longer.

2. Criminal History Review

The CSLB will review your criminal history to determine if you have any convictions that could affect your ability to get licensed. They will look at both misdemeanor and felony convictions, as well as any pending cases.

3. Personal and Professional ReferencesĀ 

As part of the background check, the CSLB will also contact your personal and professional references. They will ask about your character, work history, and any criminal convictions you may have.

How to PrepareĀ 

To ensure a smooth background check process, you should be prepared to provide the following documents:

Ā 1. IdentificationĀ 

You will need to provide a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport when you get fingerprinted. This is only to confirm your identity ā€“ they wonā€™t be taking either for any amount of time.

Ā 2. Court DocumentsĀ 

If you have any criminal convictions, you should gather all court documents related to those convictions. This includes sentencing documents and proof of completion of any court-ordered programs. Any information you can provide that shows that you are following court guidelines will help your case.

3. Professional and Personal References

Pick a few people that you know you can trust from both your professional and personal worlds. Ask them ahead of time if they can be contacted as part of your background check, and make sure you have their contact information if they agree. These references can go a long way, so choose people you think would paint a good picture of your character.

Ā 4. Business DocumentsĀ 

If you own a business, you will need to provide documents related to your business, such as your business license and articles of incorporation. An organized person has organized paperwork and is always ready to show receipts. Itā€™s always better to be prepared with the necessary documents, rather than having to hunt something down when itā€™s requested.

Ā 5. Application FeesĀ 

There are fees associated with the background check process. You will need to pay the fingerprint processing fee and the application fee when you submit your application. What those fees are varies depending on the status of your application, but generally hovers around $50 at the time of writing.


Getting a CSLB license is the biggest step for anyone in the construction industry. While the background check process may seem daunting, it’s a necessary step to ensure the safety of the public.Ā 

The live scan process for fingerprinting is a quick and easy way to get your fingerprints taken and processed electronically. By being prepared and providing all the necessary documents and fees, you can help ensure a smooth and successful background check. Good luck to you as you jump through the (necessary) hoops to getting your license!Ā 


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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 contractorā€™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 www.MakeMeAContractor.com and tuned for more informative posts.