Who should certify your CSLB experience

Who should certify your CSLB experience

Who should certify your CSLB experienceSo who should certify your CSLB experience and who shouldn’t?

And how should your trade experience be outlined on the license application.

Other questions are:

  • How many certifiers do I need?
  • Can my dad, mom, uncle, or brother be my certifier?

These are common questions that I’m asked all the time. And although it seems like this aspect of the license application is somewhat of a daunting task, it’s really not that bad.

Who should certify your CSLB experience?

  • If you are submitting experience as an employee, do not check the “self-employed” box in Line two. Enter the employer’s business name, license number, and business address. The certifier in this case could be the license holder, officer on the license, foreman or supervisor, fellow employee, or anyone who has first-hand knowledge of that experience.
  • If you are submitting experience as self-employed, do check the “self-employed” box in Line two, and leave the employer name, license number, address boxes blank. The certifier in this case could be a business associate, another journeyman, or a contractor listed in the same classification or above. I would avoid checking the “client” box because most people are not working for the same client 40 hours a week for four years. If you are, you should probably be on the payroll.

How many certifiers do I need?

You only need one unless your certifier is not certifying a full four year period. If you have one certifier that has first-hand knowledge of only two years of experience, then you would need a second certifier to cover the remaining two years. Submitting more than one work experience page for the same time period with different certifiers is not a benefit to you. It does not increase your chances of the application being accepted (aka “posted”).

Can your dad, mom, uncle, or brother be your certifier?

Yes. As long as they have first-hand knowledge of your experience and are qualified to know if your experience is at the journeyman level. The title they would select would most likely be “Business Associate” unless they are licensed. Then you would select the Contractor box and enter their license number.

What if you can’t use your employer as your certifier because it might put your employment status in jeopardy?

You could use a fellow employee or foreman/supervisor as your certifier. Submit a letter with your application stating that you do not want the CSLB contacting the employer directly because it could jeopardize your employment. The CSLB isn’t in the business of getting people fired from their jobs.

How should your trade experience be outlined on the license application?

The application states: “In the space below, list all specific trade duties applicant performed or supervised in the classification for which he/she is applying.”

This implies that the certifier has to fill out the experience outline. Although the implication is there, it is acceptable for you to complete the experience outline and have your certifier sign-off on it.

The outline should be generic, straight forward, and trade specific. Begin the outline with “[your name] experience includes….” Then describe the trade duties you perform/supervise on a daily basis. Do not list administrative duties. These include, reading plans, getting permits, contacting clients, etc.

So who should certify your CSLB experience and who shouldn’t?

Hopefully I’ve laid it out in a way that explains it in a clearer, more understandable way. If you have questions regarding this topic, feel free to contact me. And remember, I do offer an application review service for only $175.

Share this post:


I am a Navy vet and former laborer for a B-Gen Bldg contractor, I built mobile homes for many years, I worked at the Contractors State License Board for 5 yrs, and have been operating a contractors license service company since 2005.

146 thoughts on “Who should certify your CSLB experience”

  1. Hi! I am looking to apply for my C-6 licence. I have over 4 years of experience (on the payroll) making and installing doors and windows in the UK as well as a 4 year degree.

    Since moving to California in 2017 I have been self-employed making furniture and free-standing cabinetry as I would need a license to install anything bigger.

    Would I be better off using my self-employment experience here or provide my overseas experience?


    1. Hello there,
      My partner works for a company that does quick turns for apartments. His days vary from maintenance for the day, apartment remodels, demolition, drywall repair, stucco, power washing, and actual quick turns. He has been there five years but found out his company will not verify or sign for his contractors license. His father is technically his boss. Could he have his dad verify for him? And what license could he apply for if he wants to continue doing the same type of work?

      1. Hello Kelsey,

        Anyone with first hand knowledge of the experience can be a certifier. Dad would be acceptable.

        Sounds like he’s not doing any structural framing, so the B-2 classification would be his best option.

        To qualify for the B-2 Residential Remodeling Classification, contractors and applicants must have at least four years of experience working in three or more trades or crafts for residential remodeling projects. Applicants can substitute up to three years of the experience requirement with qualifying education.

        Please note that the B-2 license classification has the following restrictions:

        Limited to working on existing residential wood frame structures
        Cannot make structural alterations to load-bearing partitions and walls
        Cannot install or extend electrical or plumbing systems but can make modifications to existing systems (e.g., install recessed lighting or alter plumbing for two shower heads)
        Cannot install or replace an HVAC system

  2. Hi there!
    My husband of 23 years is finally mustering up the courage to go for his CA General Contractors license after working in the construction trades his entire adult life (he’s 56). His work has been primarily self-employed as a “handyman”, but in truth most of his works are in the remodel/repair of home rentals and apartment buildings belonging to private owners. And further, most jobs do not fall under the $500 combined labor plus materials limit.
    Questions: How can he list these jobs – working for multiple property owners, where the work doesn’t always have permits, and he’s paid under the table?
    Would listing jobs that would obviously cost more than $500 be a red flag? Would breaking the big jobs down into smaller successive jobs, each falling under the $500 cap be smart, or no? If he’s working a big job with one or two other guys (none licensed), but where permits were pulled under an owner/builder, can he get credit for the entirety of the job? Also, he’s had to work closely with the city building inspectors on one particularly complex job (historic bldg, multiple permits, lots of inspections, over 18 months). Should he ask the building inspector to provide a professional reference, and would that give his application more weight?
    Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide!

    P.S. – I don’t know how long ago the $500 cap for unlicensed work was established, but it obviously needs a revisit, and raised to reflect the current economy. A quick visit to Lowe’s or Home Depot proves that a water heater or shower surround replacement can easily cost $500 by itself.
    By keeping the $500 cap, skilled, conscientious and professional craftsmen like my husband are forced to either work for much less than their skill set and experience warrant, or, if they want to actually pay their bills and feed their families, work under the table at risk of being caught breaking the law. It’s ridiculous, and really, and abuse of a major, yet unseen, sector of the U.S. workforce that keeps our economy afloat.

  3. Hi there,

    Can a class A – General Engineering Contractor be a certifier for a C20 applicant?
    please let me know and thank you for the value that you provide for people.

  4. Great article!

    I’ve been doing mainly electrical work under a General B for 15 years at 50% part time. I also have a 4 year degree in Biochemistry. I’d like to apply for a C-10 license.

    1) Is the General B able to certify me ?
    2) If so, should I just put down the last 10 years? (Any advantage putting more time?)
    3) Will the 4-year degree give me any credit?


    1. Hi Mike,

      List your experience as an employee of the B contractor (assuming you are on payroll and receive a w-2). Provide 10 years of experience, that’s all the cslb will accept, and submit it as part time. This will equal 5 years of full time work. Yes, the B employer can be your certifier. Your degree will be worth 18 months credit toward the 48 month requirement. I’m sure you could get by with submitting the experience only and not provide your college transcripts.

      1. Thank you for your advice!

        Much if our work was undocumented / cash. Would it help if I had one of our C-10 subs verify me instead? ( in terms of getting selected for verification)

        Thanks again!

        1. The certifier can be anyone with first hand knowledge of the experience being submitted. So it could be the B or the C-10 contractor. Does the B contractor have workers comp? If yes, I’d go with submitting the experience as part time under the B and either the B or a C-10 could be your certifier.

  5. Hello,

    I have been working for my father for almost 6 years of landscape work. However, he does not have a license and he also pays me in cash. All we would have for proof are statements from our clients and contracts of the work we did. Therefore for the experience part, in part 1 as the qualifying individual, what will I put for the business name of the company where experience was gained, license number, and address? Will it be the same information I entered from the beginning of the application? Again, Im referring to part one of the “Certification of Work Experience” sheet. He will also be my certifier, would he check both business associate and foreman boxes? Also, will they do a background check on him as well?

    1. Hello,

      Submit your experience as self employed. Dad can complete the work certification statement at the bottom and he’ll check the business associate box. No, he would not have to be fingerprinted.

  6. Hi there, I am applying for a c-27 license in the state of California. I have completed a 4 year degree in B.S of Business Administration and have worked under a B contractor from Sep 2018 – Feb 2021. Although that is more than 2 years of experience the experience gained would technically be part time as I was a full time college student. I don’t have a way to prove my work experience as I was paid cash, but the contractor signing has seen me do the landscape work. How would I approach the issue of part time work from Sep 2018 – May 2020, then full time work from May 2020 – Feb 2021?

    1. Hi James,

      Hmmmm, let’s see.. Your degree will give you 18 months credit, that leaves 30 months of field experience to cover. Add maybe 10 months of full time, that gives you 28 months. Add another 10 or so months for the part time experience, now you’re up the 38 months. You’re still short 10 months. Looks like you might want to get another 12 months of full time experience before applying for your own license.

  7. Hi Guru,
    I have the experience needed and am currently filling out my application. When cslb receives my application, do they do any type of preliminary verification checks with the employer I listed ? I’m talking about if my application does not get selected for that 3% review.

  8. Hi there,

    I own flip properties that are in my name along with the permits. Permits were pulled by a licensed general contractor (not sure if that matters who pulled them) and most work performed by the licensed general contractors as well because of the advanced type of work that was involved (grading, retaining walls, concrete piles, etc). I did all scheduling and coordinating of subs and managed alot of the daily activities, observations, and city inspections. But obviously didn’t self perform any work. I’m unclear of what CSLB counts as owner/builder.
    My question is would I be able to apply as owner/builder?


    1. Hello Sean. The short answer is no. For o/b experience, the cslb wants to see that you’ve performed most of the work yourself, especially the framing. By what you described the cslb would not give you any experience credit for those projects.

      1. Thanks for the quick reply!
        Lets say I had done the framing myself with a few helpers and subed out the rest, I would only get credit for the framing portion of my project? (however long it took)
        And I’m guessing the fact that the licensed general contractors name is on my permit it would be an auto rejection from the cslb?

        1. To qualify, you would need experience in framing and at least two other trades.

          The cslb would determine how long it would take a licensed contractor to perform the same work, and then give you approximately that amount of experience credit. Owner/builders, self performing, generally take twice as long to complete a project, but the cslb doesn’t grant twice as much experience credit.

          They say it doesn’t matter who pulls the permit, but with a contractor pulled permit there is the appearance that the owner/builder may be more hands off than hands on…. not stating a fact, just a possibility.

  9. Considering purchasing an paving company. I’m not a licensed contractor-no experience. The seller would stay on for a year as the RMO (he’s got a C-27) . After that I would need a new license holder . My father in law is a licensed general contractor (B license). If I gave him a cut of the business ownership, could he serve as my RMO?

    1. Hello James,

      Does the company you’re purchasing have the C-12 and C-27? Once the RMO/Qualifier disassociates from the license, you’ll have 90 days to replace him before the license goes under suspension.

      You could add the FIL with the B, but you would not be able to enter into C-12 or C-27 contracts specifically. A B contract requires at least two unrelated trades, neither of which can be framing.

      1. Thanks for the information ( I didn’t want to embarrass myself by asking the FIL that question-he would never let me live it down!).

        The company I’m considering purchasing has a C-27, and the owner would be, I suppose technically, an RME for a year before he would want to retire.

        Have you heard of the RMO agency? Do they (or other similar providers) specialize in connecting contractors looking to leverage their licensing, with entrepreneurial folks like myself?

        1. Yes, I’m familiar with the RMO Agency. I helped them with app processing and CSLB issues when they first started. There’s also RMO Services Agency. This company bought my RMO Services business in 2019. Either one can help you with a C27 RMO.

          Or, if you find an RMO on your own, I’d be happy to help you with the licensing process and cslb red tape.

          1. I don’t know that I have an RMO at this point, and may need to use the service of a company like the RMO Agency of RMO Services Agency. That said, it sounds like Its possible though (i.e. I can purchase the company, have the current owner stay on as an RMO for a year, and during that first year use the RMO Agency or RMO Services Agency to find a replacement RMO and keep the company going). Is that sustainable over time in your estimation, or should I look to get licensed?

          2. That is a good way to go, and it happens that way quite often. As long as you didn’t buy the business with a SBA loan, you’ll be ok using an RMO that shows at least 20% ownership on the app to be added to your license.

            I would recommend RMO Services Agency. More affordable, no lengthy contracts.

          3. Oh, I was intending on using SBA financing. I thought the SBA allowed for an owner to hold over for a year as an RMO, but not longer. I thought I would be able to replace that RMO, or maybe hire an RME Foreman within a year of purchase and still be able to proceed. Am I wrong about that?

          4. You’ll want to double check that, but I believe the SBA won’t allow the seller/RMO of the license to remain with any ownership. Ownership would be required if the seller/RMO is also listed on another license.

            Or… if you use an RMO from one of the agencies, who are always listed on other licenses, the 20% rule will apply.

  10. Hello Guru!

    I recently graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in Marketing. I want to get my C61/D49 tree service lic and wonder if my degree counts as experience? I’ve also been working for my unlicensed dad for 5 years part-time while I was in college; is this overlap in time not valid? I’ve also only been paid in cash, which I know can be a problem, but I have payment records made out to me for the past 5 years and wondered if I could leverage these payments as proof of experience?

    I also have a friend who has been licensed for more than 10 years and is willing to sign off on my experience. Would you say it’s better to use my licensed friend over my dad even though my experience was gained with dad and not my friend?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jose,

      Your degree is worth 18 months credit toward the 48 month requirement. You’ll need to show your experience as part time and cover at least 60 months to equal 30 months of full time experience needed.

      When submitting self employed experience it doesn’t really matter who the certifier is because if the cslb wants proof of your experience they’ll go to you, not the certifier. But if I had to choose, I’d go with the friend if he has the D49 license.

  11. Hi there,
    I got a degree of construction engineering and worked in construction for 20 years, how ever I just lived and worked 2 years in the USA. I don’t know I meet the demand of experience for B license? CSLB needs evidence for my income for two year payments?
    Thanks for your help.


    1. Your degree and overseas experience is acceptable. The degree transcripts will need to go through a national clearinghouse and your experience will need to be certified (signed off) by someone who has first hand knowledge of that experience in the country where it was obtained. Also, their signature will need to be notarized.

      You won’t need to provide proof of that experience unless the cslb asks for it.

      1. Quick question does the state board still request documents of income/paystub or taxes even if I have a general contractor Wright me a detailed letter of my work experience and first hand knowledge that I did within the 10 years . Or is it random that they pick for more details and documents?

        1. Hello,

          When applying for the B, well all classifications, the certifier is really moot because they’re looking to see if your experience was obtained as an employee of a contractor who holds the same classification, and/or if your experience outline is formatted properly. If applying for the B and you submit self employed experience… it’s a guarantee that they’ll ask you to prove your experience.

  12. Hello,

    I am interested in applying for a C-27, but I am having trouble figuring out if my experience will qualify me for 4-years journeyman experience.
    I worked part-time for a licensed landscape company for 1.5 years. Have done my own gardening/landscaping work full-time for 1.75 years, but that was paid with cash, so I don’t have taxes to show for most of it (except one job, adds up to probably a month or so). I have a bachelor’s of science (biology) at a 4-year university. I also have done a lot of gardening work at my parents’ house over the years.

    Does any of this count? And would this be sufficient?

    Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Steven,

      Your degree will give you at least 18 months credit toward the 48 month requirement. Your part time and full time experience would equal about 30 months. So yeah… your experience could possibly be enough to qualify for the exams.

      But…. if the cslb requires you to prove that experience… you’ll most likely have to withdraw the application.

      1. Thank you!

        If I have to give it a 2nd try, how would I go about certifying my self-employed work? I am unsure about how to put my best foot forward. Do I have to get signatures from multiple clients? I have multiple, not just a couple. As for the work itself, would I submit pictures and receipts? Or should I submit tax documents? Also, should the jobs be under $500, even if a contract isn’t used?

        1. Have you applied for the license before? That could be an issue.

          Anyone with first hand knowledge of your experience can be your certifier. If you have one person who will sign off and your 30 months… great. They can check the Business Associate box. The certifier is really a moot point anymore. They rarely, if ever, contact the certifier for anything. If they want you to prove your experience, they’ll go to you for it. Click here to see what they would accept. But initially, with the app, you’re only giving them an outline of your experience.

          1. Awesome! Okay, this really helps. I’ll give it a shot and respond with the proof that I have on hand. If that is denied, I’ll give it another year or two and collect the proper proof during that time so I don’t have hiccups.

            I haven’t applied before. This would be my first time. Is it an issue if I am denied this first time, even if its done in good faith?

    2. Steven,

      Were you able to make further progress with acquiring your C-27? I am in very similar circumstances and have the same experience and education as you, so if there are any pointers or time-saving information then I would greatly appreciate your input!

      Thank you,


  13. Hello,

    I have about 6-7 years doing service and repair plumbing work for 3 different companies in California. I decided to go back to college and earn my degree, so this experience is over 10 years old at this point. Recently my girlfriend decided to convert her 3 car garage into an ADU and I did all the underground, rough in and finish plumbing, passing all inspections without any problems. The experience made me realize I’d like to get back into plumbing and build a one man service and repair plumbing business, as it’s what I know best.

    I earned a bachelor’s degree and associates degree (not related to construction or the trades) and did very well. I am a hard working and diligent student, so I don’t think I would have any problem applying myself and passing the C-36 exam as long as I got my hands on the right study materials.

    Anyway, doing this is something I’ve been dreaming about making happen, but my concern is that the CSLB might see my experience as being too old. Can you advise me as to what they’re assessment might be? Also, would I get any credit for the two degrees? I’m just really hoping I can make this dream a reality. I know I could make it happen and be successful. I’m a very motivated person.

    Thanks for your time,

    1. Hi Ben,

      You’ll get 18 months credit for your degree and they’ll only accept trade experience that was obtained within the last 10 years. So if your only experience within the last decade is the work on that ADU, then you won’t have enough experience to qualify for the exams.

      The best experience to provide to the cslb is that of an employee of a C-36 contractor.

      1. My CSCL expired 15 years ago. Does that qualify as the required experience if I take the test now for a new license?

    2. Hello I been working for a contractor for over 4 years but he pays me cash can he be my certifier to get my license

      1. Hello,

        Anyone who has first hand knowledge of your experience can be your certifier. If you’re applying for the A or B trades and submitting self-employed experience you’ll have a difficult time because of the more stringent requirements.

  14. I have worked as a General Superintendent for a Class B General Contractor for over 4 years. I am the guy onsite scheduling and managing all subs, QC’ing their work, and performing all inspections with the City and deputy inspectors. I have managed many projects from demo/grading all the way to finish carpentry and paint.
    As the GC, we do not self perform. All work is subcontracted out. Does my 4 year Superintendent/Management experience qualify as my “Qualifying Work Experience”?
    Other provable work experience via W2’s is in excess of 10 years prior.

    1. Hello Wayne,

      You can submit supervisory experience, but, if you state that you only have four years of supervisory experience they may ask you to prove that you were a journeyman prior to becoming a supervisor. They want to see that you worked in the trades yourself and advanced into a supervisory role.

  15. Hi! I am applying for a Class B license and I have been flipping my houses (This is my third house in the past 5 years). I have been doing all types of work (Framing, Electrical, Plumbing, painting, Tile, Landscaping, Kitchen, Stucco, Drywall…etc.). I work on my houses more than 40 hours a week, even though I work full-time. I have permits for the work that requires permits (Framing, Electrical, Mechanical and Plumbing), but nothing for the painting, stucco, landscaping, kitchens. etc. I have two main questions:
    1. Should I apply self-employed full-time or part-time ?
    2. Do I need a certifier for work that I do on my homes, or are permits sufficient because they were approved by an inspector ?
    I also hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Electrical engineering. Does that help me in my B License application ?
    Thank you in advance.
    Backer A.

    1. Hi Backer,

      You’ll submit the experience as self employed (part time/full time is up to you) and check the owner/builder box on the work certification page. Yes, you will need a certifier. Anyone who has first hand knowledge of your experience can be the certifier.

      You’ll need to submit transcripts for your MS degree because the cslb won’t give you as much experience time for your builds as you hope. They’ll determine how long the projects would have taken a licensed contractor to perform the same work and will give you that much credit.

      Submit the permits with the application. You’ll need to complete a work certification form for each project, and include a completed construction project list form for each project. The scope of work should reflect what is listed on the work certification. Click here for the construction project list form.

      1. Thank you for your quick reply. I guess you are saying that even though my Master’s is in Electrical Engineering (not directly related to B License as opposed to Electrical License) it should count for experience, right ?

        What about projects not requiring permits ? Like Landscaping or painting, do these projects count as well ? Can I submit a form and attach before and after pictures, and a certifier ?

        Thanks Again,
        Backer A.

        1. Your degree will give you 18 months credit toward the 48 month requirement. If you applied for the C-10, you’d get 24 months credit.

          Along with your framing experience, backed up by permits, you’ll be providing them experience in the other trades as well. The requirement for the B is to have experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades.

          They will not accept before/after pictures.

          1. I’m not sure I understand. So should I also submit the projects that were done without permits ? And just mention the scope in the application since they do not accept pictures ?

            Backer A.

          2. You would submit a project list form for each owner/builder project. On that form you’ll list the scope of work, i.e. framing, concrete, drywall, electrical, etc.

  16. Hi there, I have an 11 year old felony conviction, nothing since. I want to apply but go back and forth with the idea due to the conviction. If I apply should I use character letters, etc. also I have a contractor to sign off for me as well, does that help my odds? Let me know your thoughts and experience with this scenario, thankyou very much.

    1. Hello Doug,

      11 yrs old is good, so it would just depend on what the conviction was for. The cslb would review the fingerprint reports and determine if your background would preclude you from getting a license. You would have to go through the application process to find that out. No, they wouldn’t accept attestation letters.

  17. I wana get my c21 license but. No work experience to meet the 4 year test
    I just want to destroy houses
    Is there a way where I can. Apply for the test ? And by pass the 4 years experience some. How through some one or anything

    1. Hi Matthew,

      Unfortunately, you will need to have four years of house destruction experience before you can qualify for that license. If you have a four year college degree, that would cut off 18 months of that 48 month requirement.

  18. Hello Alex,
    I had my application returned asking for more examples of trade duties. I listed that I do framing, painting, layout, and flooring, but they agent said I need to list more B class trade duty specifics. I assumed framing and flooring would have fit that requirement. Is there a better way to be wording this?

  19. Keith Macgregor

    I am a licensed B contractor and have been since 2000 I want to add the C-10 classification. Can I self certify? If so, will I also need to show income statements?


    1. Hello Keith,

      No, you cannot certify your C-10 work experience. Anyone with first hand knowledge can be your certifier. Also, you’ll need to submit the experience as part time under your license and show 8 or 10 years worth. That will equal 4 or 5 years of full time experience. I can help you with the app if you like.

  20. Hello, I have owned and operated a metal fabrication shop for 4 1/2 years. I do mostly gates and fencing. I have done plenty of installs (unlicensed) and have also done work for a handful of General Contractors. I am currently enrolled in a school to help pass the test, going for a C-23 Ornamental metal license, but I’m not sure who can certify for me since I’ve only ever worked for myself in this trade. Can you help shed some light here please?
    Thank you,

  21. Hi Phil!

    I worked for someone with a general contractor license and have the work experience to pursue my own license. I specialized most of my work in plumbing.
    I want to pursue a plumbing contractor license. Can my certifier be the GC? Or does he have to hold a plumbing license?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hello Mike,

      He can be your certifier. Will you be showing your experience as an employee of that GC who doesn’t hold the C36? If so, that could be a problem.

  22. Hi Phil,
    I have over 15 years building high end waterfalls and landscapes, won public awards (San Francisco garden show, etc) but all that experience is over 10 years old. I changed careers and now, over the last 5 years have been working as self employed contractor but for all the jobs, we did not pull permits as they were landscaping or building art studio (under 120’ which does not need permit here), etc. How would you file or can I even file? Hate to not list all that prior experience and just list under self employed, especially since I do not have any permits to point to in the last 5 years experience. I do now have a nice website with pictures of our prior jobs but figure that wouldn’t be applicable.

    Thanks for any advice,

      1. Thanks for quick reply. I want to get General Contractor class B license in California. I could also go for masonry license if that is easier but would prefer general as I have experience in masonry, landscaping and carpentry. Also electrical. Thank you.

        1. Hey Joe,

          From what you’ve told me, you would not qualify for the B license. The cslb “prefers” that an applicants B experience was obtained as an employee of a licensed B contractor. If it’s not, you’d have to prove your framing experience (and at least two unrelated trades) with permits. No permits showing the framing component, no verifiable experience, no B license.

          You’d have a much easier time applying for the C-27.

  23. Hello Alex:
    I have been working with my brother in law for 5years. He is a general contractor in California. He has been licensed since 1980. I have three years experience managing a mobile home park. The duties included painting interior and exterior of mobile homes and buildings on the premises. Additional duties included all maintenance duties, repairing and replacing light fixtures, fans, installing water meters, etc.I was compensated with free rent and utilities as I was the onsite manager. Can my brother in law certify my hours for a painters license or handy man license.

  24. If I submit my application and they won’t give me the full 4 years of education and work experience, will I get a refund for my application fee?

  25. I have applied for a B license as self employed and my application was immediately returned as unacceptable. I am now being asked for project descriptions and permits, but most of the jobs in the past four years were for another B contractor who 1099 me rather than W2. Which is why I said self employed, should I make corrections/change the original Cert. to show myself as employed then show tax returns or submit a second Cert. of Experience showing experience as employed part time and self employed part time, which is closer to the reality of the situation. How do they look at backpedaling like that. Thank you for your time.

    1. You could change the work cert to Employed, enter the contractors info and license number in Part 1. Submit that with the 1099’s. They’ll still want you to fill out the project experience forms and provide permits for all jobs you worked on. Permits can usually be found on the counties website, all you need is an address for the projects.

      I doubt they’d accept part time employed and part time self employed experience that covers the same time period. The concept would probably confuse them.

  26. Hi,
    I work for a company that have several employees with active general b license.I also have my home improvement sales license with this company for 4 years.Im.pretty sure that I qualify for the 4 years of experience for my general b because of those 2 things. Lastly I dont want my employer to know I’m going this route so it doesnt jeapordise my job currently.Can I just have a fellow employee sign off on my experience if they are just an employee like me with their HIS license?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Josh,

      Any one with first hand knowledge of your experience can be your certifier. But… you will have to explain to the cslb how you obtained journeyman level trade experience on the job while you held a HIS registration. They tend to frown on that.

  27. Hi,

    I am trying to get my C-8 license. I applied last year and passed both the law and trade exam. I was selected for verification and I had to withdraw my application. My uncles all hold a current C-8 license. I have been working for them for the past 4-5 years but they have paid me in cash so their is no way to show paystubs or w2s. I am also working on my 4 year construction management degree. And hopefully I will obtain it in May of next year 2020. I was planning on applying in May of next year and providing my 4 year degree transcripts and a year of tax documents and payroll from working with my uncle. But I don’t know if that will be enough if I am selected for verification. I would please like to know what are my odds of being selected again and if I am what can I provide to them that will be enough to fulfill the experience requirements?Also will they give me credit for the C-8 with my construction management degree? The Concrete and Masonry and trades have been a family trade for over 20-30 years. I would please just like to know what are my options?

    Thank you

    1. Hello,

      When you apply again, no matter when it is, the cslb will put you through the wringer again. So without rock solid proof of your employed experience, you’re looking at a tough row to hoe.

      Are you going to school full time? If so and you submit your degree, the cslb may ask how you obtained full time work experience while going to school full time.

  28. Hello Guru,

    I am a born and raised Southern California resident. Over the last 5 to 6 years I have worked as an executive (General Manager, Controller, Strategic Director and Chief Operating Officer) for a couple of companies that hold B, C17, C20, C36, C39 and C46 licenses. They are all very large and reputable companies. 4 years have been under the B, C20 and C36 and a little over a year has been with the B, C39 and C46. I am wanting to get at least my B, C20 and C36 licenses. Would I use my tax information and company information as the qualifying experience? Would you recommend getting my B license first and then add the remaining licenses after? Also is there anyway to get the C39 and C36 with a little over a year of experience or would I have to creatively figure that out after I get the B, C20 and C36 licenses? I really appreciate any and all help. Thanks!

    1. Hello Dustin,

      I would suggest applying for the B first. Initially, you wouldn’t provide any additional documentation to prove your experience. You would only complete the work certification page that is part of the app. If the cslb asked for proof, you could show them year end pay stubs and w-2’s.

      The experience you provide would have to be listed as experience obtained in the field. Manager, controller, director, and COO would not be acceptable experience.

      Once the license has been issued, applying for additional classifications would be difficult at best. The cslb would not accept any experience for an additional classification using the same period of time used to obtain the original license.

  29. Hi Guru!
    I have been working as garage door technician for my father company, and I supervised many garage door projects. I want to get my garage door license (C-61). Can my father sign off for me if he currently does not have a license? Should I check as self-employed?
    Thank you.

  30. Hi, I’ve worked in construction for 5 years. I started in roofing and and went on to concrete were i worked as a supervising employee for over 3 years. Since then I’ve been subcontracting for a company who had an RME lisence to do carpentry. Ive been doing carpenter supervising and running the jobs and doing the work. My company has offered me a generous pay increase if I can get my general B lisence. I’m not sure if I qualify. I have general liability as well as workmanship comp as well.

    1. Hello,

      To qualify, you must have experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades. If you were/are a payrolled employee of a B contractor then you shouldn’t have any issues qualifying for the license.

  31. I am trying to get a general builders license. I’ve been working for a general builder that is in arizona for 6 years helping him. He pays me under the table in cash. Can an out of state contractor sign for my license in california?

  32. I have been a licensed C12 contractor in CA for 14 years and want to get my C27. Does my experience grading count as landscape experience as they do over lap as I’ve graded many many new housing tracts as well as sports fields.
    Thank you

    1. Hello Joe,

      Thank you for your question. I don’t think the cslb will see any correlation between the C12 and the C27. Nonetheless, you’ll need to show at least four years of full time C27 experience in order to qualify for the exam. Because you have a current license, you’ll need to show that C27 experience as part time under that license, and go back 8 to 10 years. That will give you 4-5 years of full time experience. It has to be done this way because you can’t show full time experience under a license for a classification that you do not hold.

      Let me know if you have other questions.

  33. Hi, I moved to California 1.5 years ago and have been doing landscaping. I will use my company that I have worked for as the certifier for the time I’ve been here. However, I obtained an associates of arts degree in business and accounting years ago. Will the degrees credit towards some of my time of experience in applying for this license? Previously I was a property manager for my fathers vacation rental homes in another state and did that for ten years but I don’t know that he would want to release any of his tax information to me to hand over to the state.

    1. Hello Blair,

      The cslb will only give credit for a four year or higher degrees. A two year degree would be accepted if the field of study is directly related to the classification being applied for. So in your case, you would not receive credit for your AA degree.

      You could submit your out of state experience though. I would submit it as part time, and they wouldn’t ask for your fathers tax info. If they wanted you to prove that experience they’d ask for year end pay stubs, w-2’s, your tax returns.

      1. Thanks for the quick response. A quick follow up question. I was paid under the table, and it’s more of a family/equity investment so I don’t have much documentation. If I pay the $300 application fee and I’m rejected for lack of experience, can I get that money refunded?

  34. Hi,

    I have been supervising design build projects for the past 11+ years, helping clients decide on contractors and overseeing the entire projects as project manager, bringing in subs for the contractor to hire etc. Because I design the projects I am relied upon to make sure they are being build properly. Does my business associate qualify to verify that I have done this work? I can supply check stubs from all these projects through out our design business entity.

    1. Hello,

      The cslb will accept experience that is at the journeyman or supervisory level. I would suggest showing the experience as an employee of your firm, but the cslb will want to know how you gained the experience as an employee of a company that does not have a license. A written explanation on company letterhead would be required.

      Anyone who has first hand knowledge of your experience can be your certifier. Remember, you must show experience in framing and at least two other trades.

  35. Hello, I worked for a large aerospace company in the construction department as a supervisor for 6 years. The company is not in the construction industry, but we were in charge of build outs and new construction projects and engineering and hired contractors to perform the work according to our plans or we did the work in-house with our own construction crews. Would I be able to use my 6yrs of construction experience at this company and have my boss be my certifying person to obtain a Class A Engineering license?

    1. Hello Geoff,

      It’s possible, but it won’t be easy. The cslb would ask for a written explanation as to how the experience was obtained working for an employer who doesn’t hold a license, and a letter outlining your specific construction duties signed by the employer or supervisor.

      The A classification requires that your experience includes projects that are in connection with fixed works requiring specialized engineering knowledge and skill. The B classification would require experience in framing and at least two other trades.

      Both of these classifications have become extremely difficult to obtain unless you’re experience was as an employee of a contractor who holds the classification.

  36. Can a owner/builder developer of houses certify me for contractor’s B license? I applied once using the owner/builder as certified for my contractors B license application and when the application was sent they asked me to show them for checks one check for each end of year that I put them down as full-time employee. I didn’t know if they would check mine and his taxes to verify the employment pens I did not continue the application now 2 years later can I still apply through the same owner Builder? I panicked because my taxes may not reflect what the payments were because I did not actually work full time for 4 years with him but he was willing to certify it. I would now want to reapply with the same person for the same way that I applied 2 years ago. Will I face any problems? Will the state ask for my taxes after asking for those 4 checks?

    1. Hello Robert,

      So you were working for an owner/builder and you submitted your experience as an employee of his? I can see why the cslb had an issue with it.

      The process hasn’t gotten any easier, in fact it’s become more difficult to obtain the B classification license unless you are a pay rolled employee of a B licensed contractor and you have pay stubs to prove your employment status.

  37. Brandon Cannon

    Hello, I am about to submit my contractors application for c61 d64 air duct cleaning, I have one year experience with a out of state company that is not licensed (I don’t believe they required a air duct cleaning license in MA where I use to work) I moved to California a little over 3 years ago where I have been working at a maintenance supervisor in a industrial welding/metal fan show. I routinely preformed inspections, filter changes, air duct in the industry shops and the office building. I also routinely cleaned the duct work on the fume extractors and welding hood exhaust systems. Due to the high level of welding fumes and vapor this was something that was done often. My employer is signing off on it and writhing a business head letter stated that these were daily responsibilities. Do you think that’s acceptable? Thank you!

    1. The one year is easy to prove if necessary. The other three years might be tough because I’m assuming the welding shop doesn’t have a contractors license, let alone the D64 license.

  38. I’m trying to get my painter’s license but my current employer pays me under the table and refuses to sign off on any work I’ve done for them. I’v been subbed out to a number of general contractors and they have said they would be willing to be my qualifier but I’m not sure they are allowed to do so unless they carry a cslb 33 under their general b. Is this true or can they be my qualifier?

      1. Hey their so I been working for my father in law for 5 years and he pays me cash only we do remodeling construction I been wanting to get my class B license or any license related to remodeling construction to make things Grow . He’s been working for more than 20 years without Contractor license can I get certified by him or no? And if yes how do I apply as self-employment or what kind of proof would I have to show ? This will really help a lot!

        1. Hi Christian,

          I’m not going to sugar coat it… this is going to be a tough row to hoe. You could submit the experience as an employee of your fathers, but the cslb will ask why he doesn’t have a license. Or submit it as self employed and go through process of proving your experience to the cslb. They’ll ask for construction experience forms to be completed. This form is used to outline projects showing your B experience. You’d have to submit enough of them to cover at least four years. The forms will also need to include a permit number. Without permits to prove your framing experience, it is likely the cslb will reject your application and deny you a license.

  39. Hello,

    I have worked for my father for past 10 years in the painting industry . I am looking into getting painting contractors license in California. He does not hold a contractors license and pays me cash. Can he sign my work certificate? Do I check employee box?

    1. Hi Jay,

      If you submitted the experience as an employee, the cslb would ask why your employer doesn’t have a license. You could submit it as self employed and he could be your certifier.

  40. Im 30 (been working since “18yrs” of age) and want to apply asap for a B-license, my certifiers (dad and uncle who are B-licence in good standing) want to certify my work experience which is over 10 years but are hesitant because they do not have workeres comp (they never had workeres except for my self and my little brother) etc and i worked with them to gain experience (as compensation) this whole time (the unknown outcome of this problem kept being pushed year after year). Because of the unknown answer to this problem, they dont want to certify and have cslb or other agencies related to this issue come after them and basically shoot them shelves in the foot. What will happen to them if cslb finds them and what will happen to me? I’ve read alot of sting operations done by cslb so we are hesitant.

    Ps: recently i got married so i have to do something so i can build my future, late as it is.

    1. Hello,

      The cslb has stated that they will not take administrative action against an applicant, or the licensee, who submits experience as a “paid cash” employee.

      You would most likely have to prove your experience on paper. Cancelled checks, completed construction project list forms, copies of permits for the jobs you worked on (even if not in your name).

      The B has become extremely difficult to obtain, unless you are a pay rolled employee of a B contractor.

  41. I have a full time job and a part time job that overlap

    Do I get credit for both work certs since they overlap

    I was told I do get credit for both because it’s possible to have a full time job and part time job at the same time

    Is this correct?

  42. Hi I am applying for a c-20 HVAC license in California can a general a,b contractor be my certifier in can have 3 years of HVAC certifiers and y year general contractor certifiers will the general contractor certifiers count as experience

  43. I have more than four years experience in a Foreign country and also, the electrician certificate from occupational organization which degree is accredited by International Labor organization.
    If I evaluate my certificate, does it count as a work experience?

  44. I have an AA in HVAC commercial, AA in HVAC residential, AA in construction management, took carpentry class, took 3 real estate courses for licensure. How much credit can I get towards a general contractor license B and contractor for C20? Thanks.

    1. Sorry for the late reply… I think 24 months credit would be the max. But who knows, the cslb might be generous and go with 3 yrs credit. You’d have to apply to find out.

  45. Hi Guru,

    I have 10 years of experience and being licensed as C20 and C38 as the business owner. Looking to obtain my contractor’s license B. What is the most efficient way to get it signed off?

    1. First of all you’ll have to provide between 8 and 10 years of part time experience. You can’t show full time experience in a classification you don’t hold while being licensed. You’ll also have to show framing in your experience outline. The cslb may ask you how you got framing experience with those two classifications.

      As far as a certifier goes, anyone can sign off on your experience. Another B contractor, employee, etc.

  46. Can I have a General contractor to sign off on my work experience that my current company has done Sub work for my entire 15 year career with them. I do not want my current employer on the radar that I am applying to get my licence. This application will be sent to the CSLB and to what they expect in this state.

    1. Hello Steve,

      Anybody who has first hand knowledge or your experience can be your certifier. So yes, that contractor would work. If you don’t want the cslb contacting your employer, submit a letter with the app requesting that the employer not be contacted because it could jeopardize your employment status.

  47. Michael Bennett

    Many of the trades involved in Class A General Engineering overlap with Class B General Building. I have had a Class A licence since 1988. Can I self certify that I have had at least 4 years of the last 10 performing trades that would qualify for the Class B license on the Certification of Work Experience form?

    1. Hello Mike,

      No, you can’t self certify. You’ll need to show at least 8 years of part time experience that has been obtained over the last 10 years (the CSLB will only accept experience that goes back 10 years). You have to submit part time experience because if you submitted full time you’d be saying to the CSLB that you’ve been doing B work for 40 hours a week without having the B classification on the license. That’s no Bueno.

      Anyone who has first hand knowledge of your B experience can be your certifier on the work experience form of the license application.

  48. Can my stepdad, who WAS a licensed roofer in an other state many years ago, certify me if he is the one that taught me how to do roofing and we worked together for 5 years (while unlicensed)?

  49. I have a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration, Finance. The only remotely possible course I took relating to construction would be Real Estate Principles. Will I receive any credit for work experience?

    What risk does a contractor bear in vouching for an applicant’s work experience?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. A four year degree could give you 18-24 months credit toward the four year experience requirement.

      The certifier is signing under penalty of perjury. What actual risk does the certifier take?… not a whole lot. If an application is pulled for a secondary review, the certifier may be contacted by the cslb…but generally they ask the applicant to provide more documentation.

      1. If education and work or apprenticeship overlap, do you get credit for both? Are there any ways to condense the 4 years into a shorter span? Thank you.

        1. Hi Steve,

          No and no, are the short answers. The law requires that you show full time experience. The cslb could look at your transcripts and ask how you were able to also work full time. But the full time experience must be at the journeyman level. The only way to shorten the four years is to have the college degree and 24-30 months of field experience at the j-man level.

    1. Hello Alex,

      If you are applying for the A-Eng classification you could get 18 months credit. But.. the cslb will make that determination when they review your transcripts.

      The cslb website says:
      “CSLB may grant credit for training, apprenticeship, or education as follows:

      A maximum of 1-1/2 years upon submission of official transcripts of the following:
      An A.A. degree from an accredited school or college in building or construction management.”

      This contradicts what I said above, but I believe it’s possible if applying for the A classification.

  50. Great article. Question: If I’m applying for a Solar C46 license can I have a C27 contractor vouch for my solar work, or do I need to get someone with a C46 license to sign off on the experience?

      1. Hi! I am going to be applying for the General -B license. I have worked for a General contractor for 5 years; however, I was not on payroll and was issued 1099s during this time. I am unsure whether I should file as self-employed due to being issued 1099s or if I should file as an employee for this contractor who will be serving as the certifier. If my app gets flagged down what type documentation will the CSLB ask for verification?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's Chat with the License Guru

Have questions? Contact Us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Scroll to Top