Electrician Schools in California (Top Programs)

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Electrician Schools in California

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


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.

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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.

School Name Address
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 Road Modesto, CA 95368
San Joaquin Valley College 27270 Madison Avenue, Suite 103 Temecula, CA 92590
San Joaquin Valley College 201 New Stine Road Bakersfield, CA 93309
San Joaquin Valley College 4985 East Andersen Avenue Fresno, CA 93727
San Joaquin Valley College 4580 Ontario Mills Parkway Ontario, 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 Ave West Covina, CA 91791
UEI College 1261 3rd Avenue Chula Vista, CA 91910
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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:

  • Installation
  • Determination of electrical system requirements
  • Maintenance and repair
  • Safety

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:

  • Installation
  • Determination of Electrical System Requirements
  • Safety
  • 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:

  • C-10
  • Law and Business

The C-10 Exam covers:

  • Planning and estimating
  • Rough wiring
  • Finish wiring and trim
  • Startup, troubleshooting, and maintenance
  • Safety

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

Salary Information

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
Los Angeles $54,661
San Diego $52,207
San Jose $60,939
San Francisco $60,842
Fresno $48,654
Sacramento $52,485
Long Beach $54,141
Oakland $57,540
Bakersfield $52,150
Anaheim $54,263

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA1,380$73,220$35.2$111,810$39,720
Chico, CA350$66,020$31.74$100,800$38,500
El Centro, CA160$68,740$33.05$105,580$36,850
Fresno, CA1,690$66,270$31.86$101,030$37,530
Hanford-Corcoran, CA100$66,360$31.9$87,400$43,680
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA20,870$77,150$37.09$119,390$43,820
Madera, CA130$74,870$36$119,780$44,720
Merced, CA130$71,290$34.28$123,690$44,740
Modesto, CA830$69,000$33.17$100,400$38,010
Napa, CA200$69,600$33.46$103,090$43,610
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA1,050$68,020$32.7$101,220$45,250
Redding, CA290$78,870$37.92$126,330$42,770
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA7,820$69,590$33.46$124,970$37,160
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA6,030$74,730$35.93$126,760$39,530
Salinas, CA440$72,530$34.87$107,200$41,600
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA8,390$69,940$33.63$106,960$40,230
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA9,990$96,330$46.31$164,360$47,650
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA4,700$99,230$47.71$167,390$48,980
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA490$75,640$36.37$128,460$39,130
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA290$73,180$35.18$100,290$44,600
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA630$67,160$32.29$99,130$38,980
Santa Rosa, CA1,110$75,640$36.36$113,420$44,010
Stockton-Lodi, CA1,390$73,540$35.36$124,920$39,570
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA720$75,550$36.32$120,260$47,050
Visalia-Porterville, CA570$67,190$32.3$101,550$36,780
Yuba City, CA140$69,880$33.6$100,240$41,410
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Electricians, OCC Code 47-2111, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

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.

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