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California Electrician License: Steps to become a certified electrician in California

california electrician license lookup

Electrical technicians and contractors have diverse job choices and earn a good living. California’s electrical industry is rapidly increasing, and there will always be a demand for trained trade specialists to build and service electrical systems in customers’ homes and businesses. They also rely on your electrical services for a comfortable standard of living. This job can allow you to work for a large corporation or to start your electrical contracting firm. California’s professional electricians must be licensed to provide commercial and residential electrical services. 


To become an electrician, you must undergo considerable on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, and acquire a California electrical license. You must be registered as an electrical trainee with the State of California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to undertake electrical work in California. For each year that you work, you will need to renew your license. You will also have to participate in a state-approved electrician training program. After gathering the requisite experience to obtain your general or residential electrician license from the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, you will be entitled to apply for an electrical contractor license from the California Contractors State license Board. 

The article below addresses questions like how to get an electrician license in California. How do I become an electrician in California in 2022? What are the different electrical licenses in California? Do you need a license to be an electrician in California?

We will cover essential facts needed to become a licensed electrician and other common queries like how long it takes to receive an electrical license in California and clarify the criteria for this career.

Skills and Qualifications needed to become an Electrician

check electrician license california

A good electrician is required to know and follow all local and state building codes based on the National Electrical Code. You may have to work in under-construction facilities, concealing the wiring and other equipment behind walls.

Electricians who maintain equipment must know how to locate and fix broken parts. You will be required to inspect electrical components such as circuit breakers, wires, and controls and install and maintain lighting systems. Hand and power tools must be used to repair or replace fixtures, wiring, and equipment. Electricians also have to be in charge of overseeing and training other electrical workers.

Here are some of the basic abilities you’ll need if you want to become an electrician:

  • Installation of cables, conduits, tubing, and switching equipment.
  • How to utilize the proper power tools.
  • The ability to read and comprehend blueprints.
  • Understand all electrical safety procedures and rules.
  • Repairing or replacing equipment, fixtures, and wiring

The following are the prerequisites for pursuing a career as an electrician:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be in good physical condition
  • Have reliable transportation to school and job places

Other qualifications may apply depending on your state before beginning your electrical career. This post will explain how to obtain a license in California.

California Electrician License requirements you need to know

Being an electrician allows you to serve people while utilizing your skills, knowledge, and experience. Among the benefits are a decent wage and a sense of success from addressing challenges on the job site.

More people will call on electricians to address the growing need for alternative energy sources to fossil fuels, such as wind and solar power. However, you may ask how to obtain an electrician license in California.

  • You can become a non-residential, residential, or general electrician in California. 
  • To work as a non-residential electrician, you must attend an accredited school and apprentice under an electrician. 
  • You must also register as an electrician trainee. 
  • After completing 180-240 hours of instruction and 2,000 hours of work experience, you can apply to become an apprentice and take the certification exam. 
  • After passing the exam, you can apply for your license through the Department of Industrial Relations.
  • After obtaining your non-residential electrician license, you may wish to advance to the next level and become a residential electrician. 
  • You must gain 4,800 hours of work experience under the supervision of an electrical contractor.

Finally, you can begin obtaining your general electrician’s license. To obtain this license, you must have 8,000 hours of experience working under the supervision of a certified electrician. You can then take the exam and get your approval.


Types of Electrician Licenses in California

As a newcomer to California or the electrical industry, you might be wondering what the different electrical licenses are in California. There are various sorts of electrician licenses. 

Given below are the types of electrician licenses in California.


  • Apprentice Electrician


An electrical trainee gains sufficient experience while working under a professional electrician’s supervision.


  • General Electrician


They need 8000 hours of work for an electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining National Electrical Code-compliant electrical systems.


  • Residential Electrician


Residential electricians hold completion certificates from a recognized electrical apprenticeship program. Like journeymen electricians in other states, residential electricians in California can install, construct, and maintain electrical systems in single-family and multi-family homes.


  • Fire/Life safety Electrical technician


Total 4,000 hours of mandatory training and passing the qualifying exam. These electricians work on safety systems commonly found in commercial environments.


  • Voice data Video technician


These electricians specialize in security systems, communication devices, and electrical networking systems.


  • Non-residential lighting technician


These electricians work on lighting systems in businesses and other commercial sites. You need to complete 2,000 hours of mandatory training and pass the qualifying exam. 


  • Independent electrical contractor


Licensed independent electrical contractors often own and operate their businesses, designing, maintaining, and installing electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial environments. The California Contractors State Licensing Board requires a C-10 license.


General electricians can work on residential, commercial, and industrial projects. Residential electricians are only permitted to work in private residences. Both electricians wire new homes, update older homes’ electrical systems, and do repairs and minor improvements. General and residential electricians in California earn an average of $31 per hour.

Fire/life/safety technicians earn roughly $20 per hour and work on safety systems in workplaces, hospitals, and other buildings. In California, the speech data video category is available to anyone who works on networks, video systems, security and access control systems, and other communication equipment. 

Non-residential lighting professionals work on indoor and outdoor lighting at retail establishments, businesses, and other public places. They usually make $16 per hour.The C-10 California electrical license is exclusively available to contractors.

Benefits of being a Licensed Electrician in California

There are numerous advantages to obtaining a California electrician license. Most importantly, to lawfully perform electrical work in California, you must be licensed by the state.

A trade license verifies your expertise and experience.

Only licensed electricians or licensed contractors can:

  • Run a business and promote its services.
  • Receive commercial insurance.
  • Obtain building permits and pass inspections.
  • Bid on public and government projects.

A license protects both your business and its customers. Licensing provides you with an edge in the employment market. It also improves your earning power.



Can an Electrical Handyperson Work in California?

To undertake electrical work, you must have a licence or be a trainee. If you opt to have someone else handle the work for you, that individual must be licenced. You can verify electrician licence in California and search to see if someone has the necessary licence before hiring them.

Can you work as an Electrician in California without a Licence?

Often in a new state, you could wonder do you need a licence to be an electrician in California. Well yes. You do.
In California, a handyperson cannot perform electrical work. As a result, a do-it-yourselfer cannot lawfully perform the service. If your handyman claims to be licenced to perform electrical work, use the California electrician licence lookup tool to confirm the credentials. Then you will be able to verify the electrician licence in California and know if the person is authorized to do electrical work in the state.

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