Contractors State License Center

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Open Mon-Fri 9 AM-6 PM 

How long will it take to get licensed?
Typically the entire process takes about four months, give or take a couple of weeks, from the date we submit your application to the Contractors Board. A rough timeline would look like this:

Completed application submitted to the Board

In two to three weeks you should receive a letter confirming receipt of your application. In that letter you will be issued a Personal Identification Number which will allow you to check the status of your application via the internet.

Within another month you an expect to receive notification of your test date and location, which will typically be in three to four weeks from the date of the letter.

After you have passed your test, you must obtain a contractors bond, which CSLC can help you get. After you submit proof of your bond, the Board will issue your license number in three to four weeks.

How long will it take me to prepare for the test at CSLC?
Eight to ten weeks is sufficient for most of our students. The license preparation classes take six weeks, and then you'll want to allow two to four weeks to take practice tests and study the questions and answers we provide.

Why is it important for CSLC to help me with the application?
Because if the application is not filled out 100% correctly, the Board will return it to you for insufficient information, thus delaying your test date. Also, we can make sure your work experience is properly documented on the application.

Why should I get my license? Ive been working for years without one.
 To own your own professional construction company
 Have labor and other contractors work for You
 Ability to bid on larger more profitable projects
 Legally write-off your gas, tools, trucks, home office, etc.
 Work for yourself, set your own hours
 Become a respected member in your community
 Make more money...legally
 Protect your family's future
 Avoid losing jobs
 Legally collect for work performed

What happens if I get caught contracting without a license?
The Contractors State License Board has established statewide investigative fraud teams that focus on unlicensed contractors and the underground economy. These units conduct stings and sweeps to curtail illegal contracting activities.
Contracting without a license is a misdemeanor. Unlicensed contractors face potential sentences of up to one year in county jail and potential administrative fines from $200 to $15,000. The CSLB filed 1,355 non licensee citations and referred 1194 non licensees to the District Attorney during the 2002-2003 fiscal year. Stings and sweeps are publicized to ensure maximum consumer education.

Can I get more than one license classification?
Yes, but not at the same time. After you have been tested and obtained a license for one trade, you may apply for Supplemental Classification?, which is an additional classification. This is easier than obtaining your original license since you do not have to take the law exam again. You may add as many classifications to your license as you can qualify for. Maintaining additional classifications cost virtually nothing since you dont have to get another bond and your bi-annual fee does not increase.
How much does it cost to get my license?
These are the basic state costs and fees associated with getting your license:
$300 Original Application fee
$180 Bi-Annual License Renewal fee

What kind of contractors bond do I have to get?
The Board requires that every licensed contractor keep a bond for $12,500 active and in good standing. In the event of a dispute with a customer, the Board may decree that all or part of the money be used to settle the dispute.

How much does the school tuition cost?
The cost of school tuition depends on the program you choose, so call a CSLC representative today for more information.

Why should I take the time to come to school when I can just buy a mail order course and study at home?
Home study or Distance Learning?, as its now called, does sound more fact it is more convenient. But will it work for you? Our experience has taught us that its a heck of a lot tougher for most people to study effectively at home than it is to learn at the school. With all the distractions at home (kids, phone calls, spouse, TV, etc.), its just not conducive to retaining and learning the material....and you have nobody to ask questions or clarify what you've read.

The fact is, we get students at our school all the time who have ordered a contractors home study course and failed the exam. We even offer a home study program ourselves, and its a darn good one, but we only recommend it to people who live too far away to come to school. Bottom line: while home study can work for some, we have found most folks need the structure of a classroom environment and an instructor who can present the material effectively and answer questions.

What about a Crash Course??
If you arent currently enrolled in any school or course and your test date is coming up soon, a Crash Course may improve your chances of passing the test. But if you want to maximize your chances of passing the test the first time, we recommend enrolling in a good program and attending classes prior to your test.

What if I dont think I have time to come to class because of work and family commitments?
We know you have to fit in your test preparation around your job and other commitments. Thats why we've structured our course so you only have to come to class once a week for two hours, with convenient evening and weekend class times. And with our flexible scheduling and class format, you can even come on different days from week to week. You will come to class for six weeks, then work with our practice exams and study materials as much as you need for your final preparation before you sit for the test.

How does CSLC compare to other schools and programs?
Before you choose any school, or mail-order home study course for that matter, you should ask yourself a few questions.

Which one will give you the best chance of passing the state test?
Remember, the ultimate reason you are doing this is to get your license! Preparing to pass the test is going to require an investment of your time, and some money. And you want that investment to pay off. So dont necessarily choose the school or course because it's the closest, or the most convenient, or the cheapest, or promises to be the easiest.

Are you getting a real school, or a study hall?
If you do decide that attending a school is the best thing for you, make sure you are getting what you pay for. That means real classes with live classroom instruction....not a study hall where you read by yourself with an instructor standing by to answer your questions.? That does not give you the same benefit you get from someone explaining the material and telling you what to expect on the test.

Some of these schools will try to get around this by claiming all you have to do to pass the state test is study their practice test questions. That method may work for memorizing questions and answers, but it doesn't promote learning the material. So unless you see all the exact same questions on the state test, you wont be prepared.

Does the school have a licensed contractor on staff that is continually researching test information and updating study materials?
We do. Test questions can and do change frequently. It takes a knowledgeable person to keep up with these changes for all the different trade tests and get the latest information to you. Dont hesitate to ask how they keep their materials current.

Does the school have computer testing to help prepare you for the state exam?
CSLC has a computer lab where you can take practice tests that are designed to simulate the kinds of questions and format you will see when you sit for the state exam. You will be better prepared because you will know what to expect.

Is the school registered with the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education?
This will protect your rights in the event you have a dispute with the school or want a refund. All of our schools are registered with this agency and adhere to their policies and guidelines for educational institutions.

How do you pick the best school for you?
To make the best decision, talk to more than one school, and visit any school you are considering before you decide. Dont sign up over the phone, or necessarily enroll at the first school you visit. Look at the facilities, talk to the staff, and ask to sit it on a class before you make decision. You will be able to tell which school is equipped to provide the quality and service that is best for you.