Under California state law, all employees of electrical contractors who work as electricians on job sites must gain professional certification to work without direct supervision from a certified professional. The California Department of Industrial Relations is responsible for the certification of electricians in the state. California offers five types of electrician certification, each of which has its own specific requirements.
Non-residential Lighting Technicians
Non-residential lighting technician certification allows recipients to perform electrical work solely on lighting fixtures in buildings that do not serve as residences. To qualify for non-residential lighting technician certification in California, applicants must have a minimum of 2,000 hours of work experience in the field. The state imposes a maximum on how many of those hours technicians can have spent completing one type of task. Applicants may count up to 150 hours of work as stock room and material handling toward the requirement as well as up to 500 hours of experience with troubleshooting and repairs. Up to 1,750 hours of the 2,000 hours can come from the maintenance of lighting fixtures. The maximum number of hours allowable installing fixtures is 1,500. Those seeking certification who meet the experience requirement must complete an application available from the California Department of Industrial Relations website and then pass a written examination.
Residential electricians in California have certification to perform any type of wiring or electrical work in buildings that serve as dwellings for one or more families. The state requires applicants for residential electrician certification to complete 4,800 hours of work experience before applying for the state examination. Applicants can complete all of their work experience performing residential wiring. If they choose to use other types of activities toward the requirement, the state places a cap on how many hours applicants may count toward the credential. No more than 600 hours can come from troubleshooting or performing finishing work on fixtures. In addition, the state places a 300-hour maximum on fire and line safety work, underground conduit installations, and stock room handling. Voice data and video installation experience is capped at 150 hours.
Certified general electricians in California can perform any type of electrical work in any setting. The state requires 8,000 hours of work experience as the prerequisite for the general electrician certification exam. California imposes a maximum number of allowable hours for all of the work activities that count toward the requirement. Those seeking certification can count up to 6,000 hours of either commercial or industrial wiring, while only 3,000 hours can come from residential wiring. The cap on both troubleshooting and video and voice installation is 1,500 hours. The maximum allowable time for underground conduit installation work activities is 750 hours. General electrician applicants can count up to 600 hours of experience in finish work or fire safety lines. Materials handling is capped at 300 hours.
Other Electrician Technicians
Voice data video technician certification allows recipients to perform electrical work related to phone lines, cable or satellite reception. Fire safety technicians perform wiring used for fire alarms and other safety systems. Both types of certification require 4,000 hours of work experience to qualify for their respective state examinations. For both types of credentials, recipients can gain all of their experience through installation. The state places caps on all other types of experience, such as a 750-hour cap on troubleshooting for both certifications.