New State Certification Requirements for Electricians

Published in the ECHO Journal, March 2007

Legislation was passed in 1999 requiring all electricians who work for a C-10 electrical contractor to be certified by the state of California. Regulations were put in place in 2002. The deadline for residential electricians getting this certification was January 1, 2007. The deadline for general electricians and fire/life/safety electricians was a year ago January 1, 2006. Electricians who are not certified by this time are working illegally. Association directors and managers should now check to determine that any electrician which whom they contract is certified.

To work legally as an electrician since the January 1 deadline passed, a person must be one of the following:

  • Certified by having taken and passed the exam;
  • An apprentice in a state approved program;
  • An electrician trainee

If a person wants to perform electrical work for a C-10 contractor and does not yet qualify to take the certification exam because of lack of work experience or related instruction, he or she can do so legally by registering as an electrician trainee and attending an approved school.

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging all electricians who work for C-10 electrical contractors to sign up immediately to take a certification exam. 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.

The Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Apprenticeship Standards is responsible for the processing of applications for electrician certification and electrician trainee applications. There are now 138 approved schools throughout the state and testing dates are plentiful. Electricians who need to get into compliance and work legally as an electrician in California should be able to do so with little to no difficulty.

Also of note, two new electrician certification exams have been developed. They are the Non-Residential Lighting and the Voice Data Video Technician exams. These exams will be available beginning March 2007. The deadline for this certification is December 31, 2007.

To learn more about electrician certification, apprenticeship or electrician trainees, the CSLB urges you to visit To review certification statistics, get a list of electricians who have been certified, or do an electrician certification search, visit

The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California’s 304,000 contractors and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2005-06, the CSLB helped consumers get more than $36 million in restitution.