California Contractor FAQ

We are here to help you get licensed! Call us to speak with a licensing expert.

Q: Do I need to get licensed to become a California contractor?

“All businesses or individuals who construct or alter any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure in California must be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) if the total cost (labor and materials) of one or more contracts on the project is $500 or more. Contractors, including subcontractors, specialty contractors, and persons engaged in the business of home improvement (with the exception of joint ventures and projects involving federal funding) must be licensed before submitting bids. Licenses may be issued to individuals, partnerships, corporations, joint ventures, or limited liability companies (LLCs).” (visit CSLB site for more info)

Q: Are there any education, exam, or experience requirements to get a California contractor license?

Yes,

  • You must have four years of experience in your class of choice.
    • You may substitute technical training, apprenticeship training, or education toward the four-year requirement. (more info)
  • Complete an application for examination & pass the exams. Applications can be found in three formats: (more info)

Q: What is the fee to get a California contractor license?

$330

Q: Is the NASCLA Accredited Commercial Contractor license accepted in California?

No.

Q: Does California offer contractor reciprocity?

Out of state individuals can apply for a California License if they meet the qualifications. California has formal reciprocity agreements with the contractor licensing agencies of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah in specified classifications where the scopes of practice and licensing requirements are either identical or fundamentally indistinguishable in each state with California. California may recognize the experience qualifications for certain trades and the Registrar may waive the written trade examination for a contractor licensed in another state. Applicants must still qualify by taking and passing the Law and Business Examination and must apply for and be issued a license by the California Contractors State License Board. (more info)

Q: Is continuing education required for a California contractor license?

No.

Q: How often do I have to renew my California contractor license?

Active Licenses: Every two years
Inactive Licenses: Every four years

Q: How do I renew my California contractor license?

  1. Approximately 60 days before your license is due to expire, CSLB will send you a renewal application.
    • If you have not received a renewal application from the CSLB within 45 days of the expiration date, you can order a renewal online or by calling the CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
  2. An acceptable renewal application must be received at CSLB’s Headquarters Office prior to the expiration date of the license to avoid any unlicensed time. It is your responsibility to make sure your license is renewed, even if you don’t receive a renewal form.
  3. Because processing times can vary significantly, timely submission of your renewal is strongly recommended.

Q: What are the renewal fees for California contractors?

  • Timely Active Renewal Fee – $450
  • Timely Inactive Renewal Fee – $225
  • Delinquent Active Renewal Fee – $675
  • Delinquent Inactive Renewal Fee – $337.50

You may begin immediately! Simply click the Login button in the upper right-hand corner on your desktop or in the upper-right menu on mobile. Once you’ve entered your login and password, you will be taken to your courses. Follow the instructions and enjoy!

Our courses are available online 24/7 and you are able to log in and log out at any time during the course. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 10-15 minutes, simply log out. When you log back in, you will be able to re-enter the lesson you were last in.

Continuing education requirements vary by state. Each course lists a minimum number of credit hours required to complete the course.

Each course lists the total amount of hours for the course. However, we cover materials quickly and many contractors like to re-watch materials. In other words, this question really depends on your learning style. We recommend that you go through the course as many times as you need to be comfortable with the material and any applicable reference books. The more familiar you are with the materials, the better you will do on your exam!

We allow up to 6 months for you to complete the courses. During the six months you have unlimited, 24/7 access. If you need additional time, please contact our offices to arrange an extension (please note: a fee may apply).

This varies depending on whether the course is continuing education or exam prep.

There are no quizzes for continuing education courses in Michigan. All other states with continuing education require quizzes to check completion progress.

In exam prep courses there will be a short quiz at the end of each lesson and there is also a longer practice test at the end of each course. These quizzes and tests will help you practice taking an exam and identify areas you may wish to study more.

Practice tests are just that: for practice. You will have the opportunity to retake the practice tests until you do pass. The practice tests are there to help you get used to the process of using your reference materials and finding the correct answers during an exam. If you don’t pass on the first try, take the time to note what sections of the material you need to review.

You are able to review the lessons and quizzes at any time during the six months you’ll have access to the courses.

Contractors State License Board (CSLB)

Location
Contractors State License Board
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827

Mailing
P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826

Location
Contractors State License Board
9821 Business Park Drive
Sacramento, CA 95827

Mailing
P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826

Phone
(800) 321-2752
Tips for Calling CSLB’s Licensing Information Center

We have a tutoring program designed to help you get one-on-one time with a licensed instructor. With this program you will get answers to questions you are still struggling with and advice on how to study for and pass your exams. Visit our Career Plus Services page to get more information.

We have a licensing application consultant who can help you navigate the ins and outs of state licensing regulations. Visit our Career Plus Services page to get more information.

Live Chat