How to Become an Electrician in California, CA

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In most states, including California, a license is required to work as an electrician. There are 6 options to get an electrician qualification:

Please note that in some cases you won’t need to get a certification. For more information on this, please check the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement ‘s (DLSE) FAQ.

California General Journeyman Electrician License

A general journeyman electrician will work under an electrical contractor. His or her job is to install, construct or maintain all electrical systems that are covered by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

The license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

In order to apply for the general journeyman electrician license, you will have to complete the following steps:

- You will have to provide proof of your experience (which is required for the license) by either (quote from regulations)

“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”

or

on the job experience, which is among the following guidelines:

You will need at least 8000 hours of work experience. As mentioned in the regulations, these hours must consist of work under an electrical contractor in at least two of the following categories:

  • Stock room and material handling (with a maximum of 300 hours)
  • Residential wiring (with a maximum of 3000 hours)
  • Commercial wiring (with a maximum of 6000 hours)
  • Industrial wiring (with a maximum of 6000 hours)
  • Voice data and video installation (with a maximum of 1500 hours)
  • Underground conduit installation (with a maximum of 750 hours)
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance (with a maximum of 1500 hours)
  • Finish work and fixtures (with a maximum of 600 hours)
  • Fire/Life safety, nurse call (with a maximum of 600 hours)

- Fill this application according to these application guidelines. Please note, that you will have to apply for the license and only after your application is accepted, you may take the exam.

- The cost of the application is $175.00. This amount is paid and not refundable, whether your application is approved or not. This fee can be paid either by cash accompanied by the application or by check (also accompanied by the application) payable to:

DIR-Electrician Certification Fund
P. O. Box 420603,
San Francisco, CA 94142

- After your approval, you will be forwarded to their testing vendor and you will be sent the information you will need for the exams, among other things.

- Then you will have to call the number you will see on this document, to schedule an exam. Only after you call them, you will have a scheduled exam.

- Test’s number of questions will be 100 and the maximum time you will have is 4 hours. References and more info for your test can be found at the pages 6-7 of this document. Note that “California General electrician” is written, referring to general journeyman electrician though.

- After you pass the exam and receive your license, you will be subject to Continuing Education. These are the providers.

- The license must be renewed every three years. To be eligible for renewal you will need:

  • at least 2000 hours of work in the industry, during these 3 years
  • 32 hours of continuing education
  • the fee of $100.00

This is the renewal application you will have to fill.

You can check the FAQ for more information.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in California.

Useful Links

California Residential Journeyman Electrician License

Definition by the exam document (quote):

“A Residential Electrician is one who performs work for an electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining any electrical system that is covered by the National Electrical Code in single family homes and multi family units, including hotels and motels, where the primary occupancy of the building is considered residential and the maximum voltage received from a utility company is 3 phase, 4 wire, 120/208 or 120/240 volts. A Residential Electrician performs work installing the required panel boards and feeders for commercial tenant space in a multi-family/multi-use occupancies falling under subsection (b)(1) above, where less than 50 percent of the first floor level is used for commercial tenant space, but not performing any tenant improvement for these spaces”.

The license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

In order to apply for the residential journeyman electrician license, you will have to complete the following steps:

- You will have to provide proof of your experience (which is required for the license) by either (quote from regulations)

“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”

or

on the job experience, which is among the following guidelines:

You will need at least 4800 hours of work experience. As mentioned in the regulations, these hours must consist of work under an electrical contractor in one or more of the following categories:

  • Stock room and material handling (with a maximum of 300 hours)
  • Residential wiring (with a maximum of 4800 hours)
  • Voice data and video installation (with a maximum of 150 hours)
  • Underground conduit installation (with a maximum of 300 hours)
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance (with a maximum of 600 hours)
  • Finish work and fixtures (with a maximum of 600 hours)
  • Fire/Life safety, nurse call (with a maximum of 300 hours)

- Fill this application according to these application guidelines. Please note, that you will have to apply for the license and only after your application is accepted, you may take the exam.

- The cost of the application is $175.00. This amount is paid and not refundable, whether your application is approved or not. This fee can be paid either by cash accompanied by the application or by check (also accompanied by the application) payable to:

DIR-Electrician Certification Fund
P. O. Box 420603,
San Francisco, CA 94142

- After your approval, you will be forwarded to their testing vendor and you will be sent the information you will need for the exams, among other things.

- Then you will have to call the number you will see on this document, to schedule an exam. Only after you call them, you will have a scheduled exam.

- Test’s number of questions will be 80 and the maximum time you will have is 3 hours. References and more info for your test can be found at page 7 of this document. Note that “California residential electrician” is written, referring to residential journeyman electrician though.

- After you pass the exam and receive your license, you will be subject to Continuing Education. These are the providers.

- The license must be renewed every three years. To be eligible for renewal you will need:

  • at least 2000 hours of work in the industry, during these 3 years
  • 32 hours of continuing education
  • the fee of $100.00

This is the renewal application you will have to fill.

You can check the FAQ for more information.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in California.

Useful Links

California Fire/Life Safety Technician License

Definition by the exam document (quote):

“A Fire/Life Safety Technician is one who performs work for an electrical contractor involving the installation, construction or maintenance of systems as covered in the National Electrical Code (Article 760) and the National Fire Alarm Code”.

The license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

In order to apply for the Fire/Life Safety technician license, you will have to complete the following steps:

- You will have to provide proof of your experience (which is required for the license) by either (quote from regulations)

“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”

or

on the job experience, which is among the following guidelines:

You will need at least 4000 hours of work experience. As mentioned in the regulations, these hours must consist of work under an electrical contractor in one or more of the following categories:

  • Stock room and material handling (with a maximum of 300 hours)
  • Installations, including wire pulling, terminations, control panels devices and finish work (with a maximum of 4000 hours)
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance (with a maximum of 750 hours)
  • Nurse Call systems (with a maximum of 300 hours)
  • Proprietary systems training related to Fire/Life Safety (with a maximum of 300 hours)

“The experience requirement for Fire/Life Safety Technician may also be satisfied by proof of NICET certification in Fire Alarm Systems at Level II or above”.

- Fill this application according to these application guidelines. Please note, that you will have to apply for the license and only after your application is accepted, you may take the exam.

- The cost of the application is $175.00. This amount is paid and not refundable, whether your application is approved or not. This fee can be paid either by cash accompanied by the application or by check (also accompanied by the application) payable to:

DIR-Electrician Certification Fund
P. O. Box 420603,
San Francisco, CA 94142

- After your approval, you will be forwarded to their testing vendor and you will be sent the information you will need for the exams, among other things.

- Then you will have to call the number you will see on this document, to schedule an exam. Only after you call them, you will have a scheduled exam.

- Test’s number of questions will be 50 and the maximum time you will have is 2 hours. References and more info for your test can be found at pages 7 and 8 of this document.

- After you pass the exam and receive your license, you will be subject to Continuing Education. These are the providers.

- The license must be renewed every three years. To be eligible for renewal you will need:

  • at least 2000 hours of work in the industry, during these 3 years
  • 32 hours of continuing education
  • the fee of $100.00

This is the renewal application you will have to fill.

You can check the FAQ for more information.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in California.

Useful Links

California Voice, Data, Video Technician License

Definition by the exam document (quote):

“A Voice Data Video Technician is one who performs work for an electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining any system that falls within the scope of the National Electrical Code, Articles 725, 770, (non-composite cables only), 800 (non-hybrid cables only), 810 and 820”.

The license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

In order to apply for the Voice, Data, Video technician license, you will have to complete the following steps:

- You will have to provide proof of your experience (which is required for the license) by either (quote from regulations)

“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”

or

on the job experience, which is among the following guidelines:

You will need at least 4000 hours of work experience. As mentioned in the regulations, these hours must consist of work under an electrical contractor in one or more of the following categories:

  • Stock room and material handling (with a maximum of 300 hours)
  • Installations, including wire pulling, terminations, control panels devices and finish work (with a maximum of 4000 hours)
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance (with a maximum of 750 hours)
  • Trade Specific training related to Voice, Data, Video (with a maximum of 300 hours)

- Fill this application according to these application guidelines. Please note, that you will have to apply for the license and only after your application is accepted, you may take the exam.

- The cost of the application is $175.00. This amount is paid and not refundable, whether your application is approved or not. This fee can be paid either by cash accompanied by the application or by check (also accompanied by the application) payable to:

DIR-Electrician Certification Fund
P. O. Box 420603,
San Francisco, CA 94142

- After your approval, you will be forwarded to their testing vendor and you will be sent the information you will need for the exams, among other things.

- Then you will have to call the number you will see on this document, to schedule an exam. Only after you call them, you will have a scheduled exam.

- Test’s number of questions will be 50 and the maximum time you will have is 2 hours. References and more info for your test can be found at page 8 of this document.

- After you pass the exam and receive your license, you will be subject to Continuing Education. These are the providers.

The license must be renewed every three years. To be eligible for renewal you will need:

  • at least 2000 hours of work in the industry, during these 3 years
  • 32 hours of continuing education
  • the fee of $100.00

This is the renewal application you will have to fill.

You can check the FAQ for more information.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in California.

Useful Links

California Non-residential Lighting Technician License

Definition by the exam document (quote):

“A Non-Residential Lighting Technician is one who performs work for an electrical contractor repairing, servicing and maintaining existing non-residential lighting fixtures and installing retrofit upgrade fixtures. Such work does not include the installation of branch circuits or the alteration of existing branch circuits except a technician may reconnect to existing power within 3 feet”.

The license is provided by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).

In order to apply for the Non-Residential Lighting technician license, you will have to complete the following steps:

- You will have to provide proof of your experience (which is required for the license) by either (quote from regulations)

“successful completion of an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training, or a state apprenticeship council authorized by the federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training to approve apprenticeship programs, in the classification for which certification is sought”

or

on the job experience, which is among the following guidelines:

You will need at least 2000 hours of work experience. As mentioned in the regulations, these hours must consist of work under an electrical contractor in one or more of the following categories:

  • Stock room and material handling (with a maximum of 150 hours)
  • Maintenance of lighting fixtures (with a maximum of 1750 hours)
  • Installation of retrofit fixtures (with a maximum of 1500 hours)
  • Troubleshooting and repairing (with a maximum of 500 hours)

- Fill this application according to these application guidelines. Please note, that you will have to apply for the license and only after your application is accepted, you may take the exam.

- The cost of the application is $175.00. This amount is paid and not refundable, whether your application is approved or not. This fee can be paid either by cash accompanied by the application or by check (also accompanied by the application) payable to:

DIR-Electrician Certification Fund
P. O. Box 420603,
San Francisco, CA 94142

- After your approval, you will be forwarded to their testing vendor and you will be sent the information you will need for the exams, among other things.

- Then you will have to call the number you will see on this document, to schedule an exam. Only after you call them, you will have a scheduled exam.

- Test’s number of questions will be 50 and the maximum time you will have is 2 hours. References and more info for your test can be found at page 8 of this document.

- After you pass the exam and receive your license, you will be subject to Continuing Education. These are the providers.

- The license must be renewed every three years. To be eligible for renewal you will need:

  • at least 2000 hours of work in the industry, during these 3 years
  • 32 hours of continuing education
  • the fee of $100.00

This is the renewal application you will have to fill.

You can check the FAQ for more information.

Finally, don’t forget to check Electrician Jobs in California.

Useful Links

California Electrical Contractor License

There are already step-by-step guides for completing an electrical contractor application, so we will simply provide the link.

Please go here and click on “1. App for Contractor’s License” at the table of contents.

Then follow the instructions.

Check Electrician Schools in California, CA

The above apply for the following largest cities (among others):
Los AngelesSan DiegoSan JoseSan FranciscoFresno
SacramentoLong BeachOaklandBakersfieldAnaheim
Santa AnaRiversideStocktonChula VistaFremont
IrvineSan BernardinoModestoOxnardFontana
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