If you want to work as an electrician in California, you will enter a stable trade with the possibility of a real career.
The career path looks as follows:
- Trainee, or apprentice
- Residential or general electrician
- Electrical contractor
Article Table of Contents
In California, those who want to become electricians must enroll in a training program that was approved by the state and they have many choices when it comes to classroom education, through a variety of institutions.
The state also established the Registered Trainee (RT) process to make sure that those undergoing training, are properly registered.
Electrical trainees in California have to register as such, with the California Department of Industrial Relations.
The process involves:
- Filling out an application
- Paying the fee – 25
Only after receiving the registration number, you can start searching for apprenticeship options.
Apprenticeships are available through union and non-union organizations.
This is the time to decide which type of electrician you want to become, as the requirements differ:
- 4,800 hours for a residential electrician
- 8,000 hours for a general electrician
There is also a classroom education requirement of minimum 150 hours for each year enrolled in a training or apprenticeship program.
Technical Training in the Classroom
There are many individuals who prefer enrolling in formal electrician training at a vo-tech school.
The programs typically last two years and students also have the possibility of earning an associate degree which can open more career doors.
Those choosing this path are generally placed in state-licensed electrical contracting companies to earn the needed hands-on experience needed.
|Antelope Valley College||3041 West Ave K, Lancaster, CA 93536|
|Baldwin Park Adult & Community Education||4640 Maine Ave, Baldwin Park, CA 91706|
|California Community College System||5885 Haven Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737|
|California Community College System||4700 College Oak Dr, Sacramento, CA 95841|
|California Community College System||1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305|
|Charles A Jones Career and Education Center||5451 Lemon Hill Ave, Sacramento, CA 95824|
|City College of San Francisco||50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112|
|College of San Mateo||1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94402|
|Cuesta College||Highway 1, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403|
|Hacienda La Puente Adult Education||14101 E. Nelson Ave, La Puente, CA 91746|
|InterCoast College||388 W Cerritos Ave, Anaheim, CA 92805|
|InterCoast College||1989 Atlanta Ave, Riverside, CA 92507|
|InterCoast College||2235 East Garvey Avenue North, West Covina, CA 91791|
|InterCoast College||2480 Hilborn Road Suite 100, Fairfield, CA 94534|
|InterCoast College||9738 Lincoln Village Drive Suite 120, Sacramento, CA 95827|
|Los Angeles Trade Technical College||400 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015|
|Palomar College||1140 W. Mission, San Marcos, CA 92069|
|San Bernardino Valley College||701 South Mount Vernon Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92410|
|San Joaquin Valley College||5380 Pirrone RoadModesto, CA 95368|
|San Joaquin Valley College||27270 Madison Avenue, Suite 103Temecula, CA 92590|
|San Joaquin Valley College||201 New Stine RoadBakersfield, CA 93309|
|San Joaquin Valley College||4985 East Andersen AvenueFresno, CA 93727|
|San Joaquin Valley College||4580 Ontario Mills ParkwayOntario, CA 91764|
|Southern California Institute of Technology||525 N. Muller Street, Anaheim, CA 92801|
|Summit College||1639 E. Edinger, Santa Ana, CA 92705|
|Summit College||851 S. Cooley Dr, Colton, CA 92324|
|Summit College||851 E. Cooley Drive, Colton, CA 92324|
|UEI College||339 N. Azusa AveWest Covina, CA 91791|
|UEI College||1261 3rd AvenueChula Vista, CA 91910|
The State of California Department of Industrial Relations has a database of apprenticeship programs that individuals can enroll indirectly.
These programs are approved by the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC), regardless they are unionized or not.
The unionized apprenticeships are available through the Joint Apprenticeship & Training Committees (JATCs) and require membership.
There are 2 chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc in California that offers apprenticeships through a non-unionized program.
Become a Residential Electrician
Residential electricians earn their licenses from the State of California Department of Industrial Relations.
These professionals are allowed to install, construct, or maintain electrical systems in various residential units while being employed by an electrical contractor.
These are the requirements for this license:
- Complete the apprenticeship
- Pass the state electrician exam
To take the state exam, candidates have to fill out an application form and submit their employment history, which can be obtained through the Social Security Administration Employment History Report.
Candidates have to make sure to fill out the number of hours in at least 2 categories, so they must have a record with the number of hours they accumulated doing specific work.
Those who are approved will be contacted by PSI Services with testing information.
The exam lasts for 3 hours and a half, has 80 questions, and those taking it can consult the most recent National Electric Code.
The topics will cover:
- Determination of electrical system requirements
- Maintenance and repair
General Electrician Certificate
Some residential electricians choose to become general electricians who can perform work on residential properties with permits from their counties.
Their duties include the installation, construction, or maintenance of any electrical system covered by the National Electric Code while being employed by an electrical contractor.
The general electricians need a license from the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB).
The requirements for this certification are:
- 8,000 hours of work experience under a certified electrician
- Passing the state electrician exam
The steps to take this exam are the same as for the residential electrician.
This test lasts for 4 hours and a half, has 100 questions, and candidates can consult the National Electric Code during the exam.
The topics on the exam cover:
- Determination of Electrical System Requirements
- Maintenance and Repair
Independent Electrical Contractor In California
Some electricians might want to sell their electrical services to the public in California, but to do so they need to register as an electrical contractor with the State.
Their license is called a C-10 License and is issued by the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB).
Those holding a C-10 License are specialty contractors.
To obtain this license, candidates must:
- Fill out the appropriate application
- Accumulate 4 years of full-time electrician experience OR
- Have more than $2,500 in operating capital
The 4 years of experience requirement can also be met by hiring a qualifying individual who has it.
The individual qualifying for the license must be regularly employed by your company and they must work at least 32 hours a week.
The operating capital is calculated by subtracting current assets from current liabilities.
Those who are approved need to pass an exam that has 2 parts:
- Law and Business
The C-10 Exam covers:
- Planning and estimating
- Rough wiring
- Finish wiring and trim
- Startup, troubleshooting, and maintenance
The Law and Business Exam covers:
- Business organization
- Business financial
- Employment requirements
- Bonds, insurance, and liens
- Contract requirements and execution
- Licensing requirements
- Safety requirements
- Public works
Candidates can’t consult any books during either exam.
Those who pass the exams need to pay the following:
- Initial licensing fee – $150
- A $12,500 bond
- An additional bond of $7,500 if hiring a separate qualifying individual
- Proof of worker’s compensation insurance if hiring personnel
Experience and type of education are the main factors deciding how much an electrician earns in California.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Renewing Your License
In California, trainees have to renew their registrations as well, not only full-fledged electricians.
To renew a trainee registration, individuals must:
- Fill out a renewal application
- Show copies of school with the classes completed in the previous year
- Documentation of the number of hours worked with the employer
This renewal takes place every year until the training period is completed.
The residential electrician certification and the general electrician certification need to be renewed every 3 years.
Those who fail to renew their licenses on time will have to retake the respective exams.
Other renewal requirements are:
- 2,000 hours of experience as an electrician
- Completing 32 hours of continuing education through an approved school
The contractor license must be renewed every 2 years by the last day of the month the initial one was received.