Electrical Certification FAQs
Topics covered in this FAQ include:
Who is required to be certified?
What do I need to know about certification?
Can you tell me about the application process?
I am a trainee and have questions
I have questions about the test
What if I fail the test?
Renewal Certification Questions
Who should I contact to request a form W-9?
Social Security History Report Required
If you are a licensed C-10 contractor licensed by the Contractors' State License Board, then you do not need to be certified. However, if you have employees that work under you then they need to get certified. Please visit our website for more information about certification. Note that if you are a licensed C-10 contractor but working under another C-10 contractor's license as an employee you must be certified.
Labor Code section 108.2 (b)
Certification is required only for those persons who perform work as electricians for contractors licensed as class C-10 electrical contractors under the Contractors' State License Board Rules and Regulations. Certification is not required for persons performing work for contractors licensed as class C-7 low voltage systems or class C-45 electric sign contractors as long as the work performed is within the scope of the class C-7 or class-45 license, including incidental and supplemental work as defined in Section 7059 of the Business and Professions Code, and regardless of whether the same contractor is also licensed as a class C-10 contractor.
Labor Code section 108 (c)
As used in this section, "electricians" includes all persons who engage in the connection of electrical devices for electrical contractors licensed pursuant to Section 7058 of the Business and Professions Code, specifically, contractors classified as electrical contractors in the Contractors' State License Board Rules and Regulations. This section does not apply to electrical connections under 100 volt-amperes. This section does not apply to persons performing work to which Section 7042.5 of the Business and Professions Code is applicable, or to electrical work ordinarily and customarily performed by stationary engineers. This section does not apply to electrical work in connection with the installation, operation, or maintenance of temporary or portable electrical equipment performed by technicians in the theatrical, motion picture production, television, hotel, exhibition, or trade show industries.
All electricians who make connections of greater than 100 volt amps who work for C-10 Contractors.
No, sole owners who have a license in their own name need not be certified.
No, only employees of C-10 Licensed Contractors.
Yes, out of state electricians need to be certified before they can start working in California, there is no grace period.
All electricians working for C-10 licensed contractors should be certified regardless of the length of the project.
Yes. Your electrician's license acquired from other states will make you eligible to sit for the test.
Only the qualifying person, (meaning the person who took the contractor's license examination), may perform electrical work under that license without a state electrician certificate. Partners and officers of the company who did not sit for the licensing exam, must obtain State Electrician Certification to perform work for which certification is required.
Labor Code 108.2
(g) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the qualifying person for a class C-10 electrical contractor license issued by the Contractors' State License Board need not also be certified pursuant to § 108 to perform electrical work for that licensed contractor or to supervise an uncertified person employed by that licensed contractor pursuant to § 108.4.
Please refer to CCR Title 8 Regulations § 291.1 Eligibility for Certification.
There are five classifications with corresponding exams: General Electrician; Residential Electrician; Fire/Life Safety Technician; Voice, Data, Video Technician; and Non-residential Lighting Technician.
If you do not have enough hours to qualify you to sit for the test, you have to register with the division as an electrician trainee. In order for your registration to be complete, you must show proof of enrollment in a state approved school.
The fee is $175 ($100 exam fee and $75 administration fee - NOT REFUNDABLE). A check or money order MUST accompany the application, payable to:
DIR-Electrician Certification Fund
Note: Please mail payment, documents and application form to the address stated on the bottom of the application form.
Yes. Effective 1/1/2012 (AB 1346) passed. This bill would require individuals desiring to be certified to submit an application for examination and certification that includes an employment history report from the Social Security Administration as proof of employment http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-7050.pdf. (On the SSA form 7050 choose the #1 option for Certified/Non-certified Detailed Earnings Information that includes periods of employment or self-employment and the names and addresses of employers).
Social Security Administration may charge a fee for this report. You may obtain Form SSA-7050-F4 with an included fee schedule. Note: Please remember to also attach your $175.00 fee for your Application for Examination and Certification.
If you have not received a letter from the Electrician Certification Unit within 4-6 weeks, please call our main line at (510) 286-3900. Please press 0 for attendant or leave a message on voicemail with your full name, driver's license number, and phone number.
You may check your application status at electrician certification.
Please submit the address change form or you can send us a letter stating your new contact information.
Yes. Please visit the Certified Electrician and the Electrician Trainee Lists or get your status letter search tool (instructions below).
Note: To view current status with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, enter the Certification Number from your card in the Search field and click through to print the Verification statement to show the extended expiration date, which will also appear on the revised listing of California Certified Electricians on the DLSE-Electrician Certification Program website.
A certified electrician who loses his card needs to fill out a request for a replacement card form and mail it to the address printed on the form. The cost is $30.00.
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the certification test, you may register as an electrician trainee. You may continue to work only under constant supervision of a certified electrician.
Trainee cards have to be renewed every year.
You need to complete the Application for Renewal of Registration Trainee found at the Electrician Trainee Forms page and attach with your application the following proof of continuance of school:
- Current Proof of enrollment.
- Unofficial transcript or verification from school of listed courses taken in the past year.
Your status will become inactive. The school can send us a letter to cancel/ withdraw you for non-attendance.
It means you are not active on the Electrician Trainee list and are not legal to work under a C10 Licensed Contractor.
You need to make a copy of your Certificate of Completion and attach it with your Renewal Application each year to be legally working.
Only if you have completed your courses from the approved school and if you have acquired the on-the-job experience. See application form for Electrician Examination and Certification at the Certification Forms page.
Yes. You are qualified to take the certification test with a copy of your completion certificate, but we will hold your card until the required on-the-job experience is acquired. If you do not have the acquired experience yet, you can renew by filling out the Renewal Application form for Electrician Trainee by checking the "completed approved curriculum box", and attaching a copy of your Certificate of Completion from the approved Electrician Trainee School yearly until you have the hours of experience. Once you receive the hours of experience, you need to send us back the 2nd page of the letter that we sent you and mail it in to us so we can request to release your card. If you lose this letter, please request for another copy to be sent to you at (510) 286-3900 and press 0 for a representative.
A letter is sent to you when we accept you as a registered trainee. This letter is sent to you with your trainee card. Return this back with the information needed.
Yes. You need to reapply again using the Application for New Registration of Electrician Trainee form and submit a $25.00 fee with your current proof of enrollment.
No. You only need to submit your Renewal Application form along with your current proof of enrollment and unofficial transcript. For those who completed their schooling, a copy of your certificate is needed with your Renewal Application.
Yes, once you are registered with the Electrician Certification Unit, you will get an eligibility letter and the candidate information bulletin Electrical Certification Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) sent to you by PSI. This bulletin can also be found on our website at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ECU/ElectricalTrade.html.
An applicant who misses the test date will forfeit all fees he/she has paid. He/she needs to fill out a retest form and pay both the application fee ($75.00) and examination fee (100.00)
There are currently 22 test sites. Please refer to updated locations for PSI on pg 2-4 of the Electrical Certification Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB) for locations and directions.
No, the test is on a computer. Little to no experience is needed to operate the computer. A short practice lesson is given prior to the test. For more information on preparing for the test go to http://www.psiexams.com.
All questions are multiple choice.
For examination content outline, please refer to PSI content outline of the Electrical Certification Candidate Information Bulletin (CIB).
Yes. Materials are provided at the test site.
The test will be based according to the NEC Code book and other references specified in the content outline found on the Test Info for each classification.
Fire/ life/ safety
Voice, data, video technician
Non-residential lighting technician
Number of questions given
Time given to take the test
Yes, at test taking information.
The test is also available in Spanish.
A valid state issued photo identification or driver's license is required.
If you present yourself at the test site with an expired identification, you will be turned away and forfeit all fees you have paid.
Upon passing a score report indicating "congratulations" will be issued to you at the exam site. A plastic card will be mailed to you within 2 weeks after passing the test. If you are an apprentice, confirmation and verification of your graduation is needed before your card can be released.
A score report showing your actual percent will be issued to you.
A minimum score of 70% is required to pass the test. If you don't pass the first time you can take it again 60 days from the date of the last exam.
There is a 60 day waiting period before you can retake the exam. You need to submit the Retest Application form with a $100.00 exam fee each time you retest.
Yes. You have to pay the exam fee of $100 per exam.
You will need to submit the Application for Examination and Certification Form with $175.00 fee attached.
We thank you for your interest in this matter. Please refer to this website periodically for updated information.When do I have to renew?
To renew the certification, an electrician must do so before expiration to ensure your certification does not lapse. You can renew at least up to 1 year prior to expiration date as long as your 32 hours of continuing education is completed. Certification expires three years from the effective date. A reminder notice may not be issued, so please refer to your certification card for your expiration date.
As a certified electrician you must have 2,000 hours of work in the industry and take 32 hours of continuing education relevant to your category of certification that is being requested in order to renew.
To renew, fill out the application form found on the Electrician Certification Website or call (510) 286-3900. Please do not hang up and keep calling. Leave your name, phone number, and driver's license number to avoid massive incoming calls back. Submit application along with payment of $100 per Certificate being renewed. DLSE accepts payment only by check or money order payable to: DIR - Electrician Certification Fund.
Payment must be included for certification to be renewed.
These entities can provide continuing education.
Yes. The form for Renewal of Electrician Certification is available on our website at the Certifications Forms page.
Courses that are relevant to the category of certification that are being requested to be renewed.
No additional documentation is needed for proof. However, if you check this box you are stating that you have acquired 2,000 hours in the industry and signing under penalty of perjury that your statement is true and correct.
Yes. You are required to obtain 32 hours of continuing education and present proof of certificate of completion to renew your certification.
Proof is required to verify you completed your 32 hours of continuing education. You can provide a.) a copy of your Certificate of Completion(s), b.) verification from school indicating the name of courses, hours and dates. On the application form there will be a box to check stating you acquired 32 hours of continuing education, indicate school name and location and sign the application form.
No. The 32 hours of continuing education is not required if you are retaking the exam.
Your renewal application must be postmarked on or prior to the expiration date on your certification card.
We will accept renewal applications up to one year prior to expiration date. Complete the application form and attach your 32 hours of continuing education from an approved education provider that is listed on our list at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ECU/continuingeducation.html with your $100.00 fee.
If we do not recognize the continuing education provider on the list, we cannot process your application.
Yes, it is required that when you renew you must have completed your 32 hours of continuing education prior to your certification card expiring.
No, but you will need to retake the exam. Please check the #4 box for expire/lapsed box and pay the $200 fee to retake the exam. Once we process your application, you will be notified in the mail to call and schedule with PSI at (888) 818-5831 to take the exam.
NOTE: For those who are renewing their certification:
If you are renewing on or prior to your certification card expiring, you will need to have 2,000 hours of work in the industry in the past three years, and have completed 32 hours of continuing education from an approved educational provider that are listed on our website under the following links:
If you are renewing after your card expired, you do not need to fulfill the 32 hours requirement for continuing education. You must retake the exam and pass or you will be illegally working. Submit your Renewal Application and place a check mark the expired box. Attach your $200.00 payment to retake the exam.
Employers employing uncertified electricians can be found in violation of Labor Code 108.2.
Effective July 1, 2009 the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) will enforce the electrician certification law. Not complying with the law could subject the licensee to administrative action by the CSLB. It could potentially open these contractors and workers up to civil suits should there be problems with work done by an uncertified worker. Enforcement page.
According to our CCR Title 8 Regulations § 294.0 - any person who displays a certificate, or otherwise claims to be certified, who is not certified shall be prohibited from taking the test for certification for a period of seven (7) years.
If there is fraud - The Labor Commissioner may for good cause suspend or revoke the person's certification if the person has committed gross negligence or fraud, or engaged in repeated acts of negligence during the performance of activities subject to the certification or if the person obtained certification through mistake, misrepresentation or fraud. - CCR Title 8 Regulations § 293.0(b).
Please email your request to DIRW9Inquiry@dir.ca.gov and specify which collection unit and/or type of fee you will be paying.
Social Security History Report RequiredWho is required to provide the social security history report?
Labor Code 108.2 (4) Individuals desiring to be certified shall submit an application for certification and examination that includes an employment history report from the Social Security Administration. The individual may redact his or her social security number from the employment history report before it is submitted.
Please go to http://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-7050.pdf to obtain the form. Request for the non-certified earnings report with your $115.00 fee.