How to Obtain an Electrical License in California

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To obtain electrical certification in California, acquire 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience.
To obtain electrical certification in California, acquire 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

In 1999, California introduced legislation requiring all electricians who work under a C-10 electrical contractor to obtain state certification. Because no electrical contractor without a C-10 license may work on a project with a value of $500 or more, it is essential to an electrician’s livelihood that he obtain state certification. Start by enrolling in an approved school and registering as an electrician trainee. After sufficient on-the-job experience, you can sit for the electrician certification exam.

Enroll in an electrical program at an approved college or trade school. Visit the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards to find a school in your area.

Obtain employment as an electrical trainee. You must work under the direct supervision of a certified electrician at all times. No supervising electrician may be responsible for more than one trainee. Visit the career center at your school to find employment opportunities in your area.

Download an Electrician Trainee application from the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards website. Obtain proof of enrollment in an approved electrical program to include with your application. Include the license number of your supervising electrician on your application. Complete the application and submit it, along with required documents and fees, to the indicated address. Note that you must renew this registration annually until you obtain certification.

Complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience in the required categories. Graduate from your electrical training program. Obtain a certificate of completion of approved curriculum.

Download and print an Application for Electrician Examination and Certification from the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards website. Attach your certificate of completion. Complete the application, including an itemization of your work experience on the appropriate page. Submit the application, along with required documents and fees, to the indicated address. Upon approval, you will receive a Candidate Information Bulletin and instructions on scheduling a certification exam.

Take and pass the exam. Soon thereafter, you will be issued an electrical certification card, which allows you to work as a general electrician under a C-10 electrical contractor.

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