Contractors State License Board Exams

Email exchange I had with Betsy Figueira on 3/28/2014 regarding the Contractors State License Board exams.

Basically, I wanted to know how and why the CSLB is allowing applicants to take the CSLB exams when they are sending the applications to the investigation unit. The conversation went as follows:

Update at the bottom. 4/4/14

License Guru: Can you provide me with the rule, regulation, or law that gives the CSLB the authority to allow an applicant to take the exams, but still send their application to enforcement for investigation?

Ms. Figueira: Hello Phil,

California Code of Regulations (CCR) Section 825 (a) requires the qualifier to have 4 years of journey-level work experience within the last 10 years in the relevant classification.

Business and Professions Code (BPC) Section 7065, CCR Section 825 (e), and CCR Section 840 require the qualifier is to take the examination.

CCR Section 824 requires a comprehensive field audit of a minimum of 3% of the applications.

There is nothing in the law that specifically dictates the order in which the exam must be taken and the experience must be verified.  As a service to the applicant, CSLB allows the consecutive processing of the examination and the experience investigation in order to save time, as opposed to making the applicant wait until his/her experience has been verified before taking the examination, which can take months.

Passed examinations remain valid for 5 years after the exam date, as provided in BPC Section 7065 (d).  Therefore, even if an applicant’s experience is not verified under a particular application, the applicant may be able to make use of that passed exam to qualify for licensure on a subsequent application when he/she is able to sufficiently document his/her work experience.

Thanks,

Betsy Figueira
CSLB, Licensing Division Manager
916-255-3369

License Guru: Thank you for the reply.

So I understand this correctly… since the law does not “specifically” dictate the order in which the exam must be taken, a CSLB staff member has decided to allow applicants to take the exams, even though their application hasn’t been accepted and/or approved. I know the CSLB has different definitions for “accepted” and “approved” and uses either word when it best fits the situation.

The CSLB website states the following:
http://www.cslb.ca.gov/applicants/ContractorsLicense/ExamApplication/ApplicationAccepted.asp

What can I expect when my exam application has been accepted?

This step will outline some of the procedures you can expect when your exam application is accepted.

  • You will receive a Fingerprinting Live Scan packet (see step 6 for further information.)
  • You will receive a Notice to Appear for Examination. You should receive your examination notice at least three weeks prior to the examination date.

The above statement on the website is misleading and does not fall in line with your statement.

I’ve talked to many applicants who are confused as to why they’re being allowed to take the exams when their application is being sent to investigation. At the very least, the CSLB is sending mixed messages.

From what I have been told, most applicants find it more stressful to take the exams not knowing if their application is going to be processed/accepted/approved etc., or not. So from my experience, you are not doing them any favors.

Then there is this page on the website. Note the last line of the third bullet point.

http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Applicants/ContractorsLicense/NoExamApplication/ApplyingForLicense.asp

Under what circumstances am I not required to take the examination?

You are not required to take the examination if the qualifying individual meets one of the following requirements:

  • You are currently a qualifier on a license in good standing in the same classification(s) for which you are applying;
  • You have been a qualifier within the past five years in the same classification(s) for which you are applying;
  • Within the last five years, you have passed both the Law and Business Examination and the trade examination in the same classification for which you are applying, and the license for which you took the examinations was not denied due to lack of work experience.

I have research the B&P Code and the CCR and can not find any rule, regulation, or law that gives the CSLB the authority to have an applicant re-take exams that he/she has passed within the prior five years because of a prior denied application. This statement on the website also differs from your statement regarding 7065.

Applicants are being put through the wringer when it comes to providing paper documentation when the law clearly states that the “registrar shall investigate, classify, and qualify applicants for contractors’ licenses by written examination.” 7065 (a)

Regarding Section 824. It does not specifically dictate the creation of a list of “critical classifications.” Therefore, those applying for one of the “critical classifications” should not be considered part of the 3% minimum. Those applicants are being required to provide additional documentation based solely on the classification they are applying for. Therefore, Section 824 does not apply.

At the very least, the CSLB should be putting out a consistent message that follows the law as written, not as interpreted by CSLB staff.

Thank you again.

End

I haven’t received a response to my reply, but it was yesterday (Friday) so I may or may not hear back from her until next week… if at all. It seems that whenever I ask for information regarding their licensing processes, they always give me Section 824, 825, 840 and 7065. None of which actually give them the authority to do what their doing if they followed the letter of the law.

The bottom line is… the Contractors State License Board Exam unit does whatever they want and they always seem to manipulate the law to fit their needs or to justify their whims.

Update: 4/4/14

Below is a portion of a reject letter that was sent in March. You will notice the last paragraph states the following:

Inline image 1

If this is true, then why are these applicants being sent to investigation? The fact that they are being sent to the exams suggests that licensing has verified the minimum experience required.

Continue reading the discussion at Contractors State License Board Exams Part 2.

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