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How to Become an Electrician in California is an important term for people who are interested in electric jobs in California. A professional electrician in California must have a proper license and certificate. If a person does electrical jobs without certification and license, then it would be considered illegal. Hence, your first job is to acquire a certificate to become a reliable electrician in California.

How many types of electrical licenses are there in California?

You can get five types of electrical licenses in California.

1. Residential Journeyman Electrician

2. General Journeyman Electrician

3. Non-Residential Lighting Technician

4. Fire/Life Safety Technician

5. Data, Video, Voice Technician or VDV

Now, you can get any of the above electrical licenses. But, you have to prove your skill and experience to get the license. The ‘Department of Industrial Relations’ approves all the electrical certificates.

 How to Become an Electrician in California?

Step 1: Basic Legal Requirements

To become an electrician, the state of California requires proper documents and working experience.

You have to show work experience hours or you have to pass the ‘State Electrician Certification’ program.


You have to register yourself as an electrician trainee (approved by the State). To meet this requirement, you have to join an electrician trainee program (approved by the State)


You must have a legal contract/agreement/document of an electrical apprenticeship program (approved by any federal State).

You have to possess either of these documents/certificates to become a certified electrician in California.

But, you may not have these documents. In that case, you have to join an ‘Electrician Trainee’ program. In that case, you should remember that this ‘Trade School’ should be state-approved. Otherwise, your ‘trainee program’ may not be valid.

Step 2: Join an Electrician Trainee program and Register

Now, you have to fill the form for the Electrician Trainee program and you have to submit the enrollment fees.

Then, the trade school will send you a confirmation letter. After that, you have to visit the ‘Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’ website. Here, you will have to register yourself as a ‘New Electrician Trainee’. This registration may cost you some fees. Attach your trade school’s confirmation letter with this registration form. This letter will act as proof.

Step 3: Select Your Course and Complete Your Electrician Trainee Classes

After the registration process, you have to select the electrician course you would like to pursue. Then, join the electrical trainee classes.

These classes may continue up to 4 years. Your electrical work-experience is a crucial part of this program.

To become a General electrician, you have to complete 8000 hours of electrical work. To become a Residential electrician, you need to complete 4800 hours of electrical work. A Non-residential electrician needs to complete 2500 hours of electrical work.

A voice data video technician will have to complete 4000 hours of work and a Fire/Safety technician will require 4000 hours of work experience.

You have to complete all these work experiences under a legal electrical contractor.

Apart from that, you have to complete 750 hours in the trade school. Here, you will learn state codes, laws, different theories, and practical applications.

Step 4:  Pay The Fees and Apply for the Certification Examination

After completing the working hours, you can apply for an ‘Electrician Certification’. But, before applying you have to submit some fees for the examination. You also have to submit all the required documents.

After that, the state certification examination authority will verify your documents. If you are approved, then they will send you an ‘information packet’ and the exam guidelines.

Step 5: Pass The Examination and Become a Certified Electrician

Finally, you have to take the exam. After getting the ‘information packet, you will have a ‘one-year’ time duration to take the exam.

You have to score at least 70% to pass the exam. There are many test centers across California. If you fail the test, then you may have to wait for 60 days. After that time, you can reappear for the test.

After passing the electrical certification test (70% or above), you will get a certificate from the California State. The certificate will allow you to work under a legal contractor (C-10).

Some Important Information:

  • You have to renew your license on time.
  • Your license will be valid only within the state of California
  • You have to be at least 18 years old to apply for the ‘electrician certification’ program.
  • You have to spend some fees (around $2000) to become a certified electrician in California.

You may want to open your own electrical business in California. In that case, you must have a contractor license. To get a C-10 contractor license. You have to apply to the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB).