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 “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 $150.

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  1. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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?

    • 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.

  4. 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?

    • 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.

  5. Brandon Cannon says

    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!

    • 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.

  6. BRYAN PALMER says

    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?

    • Hi Bryan,

      Anyone with first hand knowledge of your experience can be your certifier. So yes, those B contractors can certify your work experience.

  7. 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?

    • 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.

  8. JosephG says

    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.

    • 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.

  9. Oren shabo says

    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?

  10. Oren shabo says

    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

  11. Joseph Ghazarian says

    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?

  12. Brian Nguyen says

    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.

    • 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.

  13. 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?

    • 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.

  14. David Martinez says

    Can I use a Class B G.C. to certify my work experience for a Class A application?

  15. Steven Turner says

    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.

    • 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.

  16. Michael Bennett says

    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?

    • 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.

  17. 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)?

  18. Devlin Osburn says

    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!

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  19. How many years of experience credit will an AA degree in civil engineering and math get me? Thanks

    • 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.

  20. 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?

  21. danny bittiker says

    How many years of experience will an architecture degree get me?

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