California Electrician Exam

Electrician Practice

To get licensed in California, electricians are required to take an exam that covers such subjects as circuits, conductors, grounding, lighting and safety. Whether you live in San Diego or Los Angeles or San Francisco or another city or county, the resources below will help you get started on the path to receive your electrician’s license.

Need of a License

Electrical Contractor: Anyone performing construction work in California that totals $500 dollars or more in labor and materials must be licensed by Contractors State Licensing Board. Licenses may be issued to either firms or individuals, firms must designate an owner, partner, officer or a responsible managing employee who has the required qualifications to take the written examination. Applicants must present evidence of technical knowledge, experience, integrity, and financial responsibility, and pass a written examination.

Electricians: Certification is now required of all electricians (except electrical contractors working under their license (C-10). Electricians must successfully complete an apprenticeship program approved by the California Apprenticeship Council, the BAT or a state Apprenticeship Council authorized by the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship Training. Certification is required every three (3) years.

Who Grants a License: Licenses in California are issued by the Contractors’ State Licensing Board and the Department of Industrial Relations.

Qualifications to get a License

Electrical Contractor C-10:

  • Board approval before sitting for an exam; 4 years experience to qualify to take the exam. Experience must be at the journeyman, foreman or supervisor, contractor, or as an owner-builder.
  • working capital of at least $2,500. In addition, all applicants must also file a bond with the Registrar in the amount of $10,000

Journeyman Electrician

  • All electricians who make connections of greater than amps who work for C-10 Contractors
  • Successful completion of an approved apprenticeship program in the classification for which certification is sought; or
  • On-the-job experience, as follows:

General Electrician
8000 hours of work for an electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining electrical systems covered by the National Electrical Code.

Residential Electrician
4800 hours of work for an electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining electrical systems covered by the National Electrical Code.

Voice Data Video Technician
4000 hours of work for an electrical contractor installing, constructing or maintaining any system that falls within the scope of the National Electrical Code, Articles 725, (non-composite cables only), 800 (non-hybrid cables only) 810 and 820.

Fire/Life Technician
4000 hours of work for an electrical contractor involving the installation, construction or maintenance of systems as covered in Article 760 of the National Electrical Code.

Nonresidential Lighting Technician
2000 hours (4 years journeyman experience) of work installing, repairing and maintaining nonresidential lighting while employed by a contractor engaged in the business of nonresidential lighting maintenance and retrofit installations.

How to Apply for the License

You must file an application to obtain a electrical contractor’s license.

You must file an application to work as a journeyman electrician.

Test Content

Electrical Contractor C-10

The Electrical (C-10) Examination is divided into five major sections:

Planning and Estimating

  • Existing system evaluation
  • Plan and specification interpretation
  • Electrical calculations
  • Code requirements
  • Material selection
  • Photovoltaic project planning

Rough Wiring

  • System layout
  • Clearance and accessibility requirements
  • Raceway and panel installation
  • Wire and equipment installation
  • Grounding and bonding
  • Photovoltaic rough wiring

Finish Wiring and Trim

  • Finish device placement and installation
  • Motor and equipment installation
  • Wire and equipment labeling
  • Trims and sealants
  • Photovoltaic finish wiring

Startup, Troubleshooting and Maintenance

  • System energizing and testing
  • Common electrical problems
  • Location, repair, and replacement of inoperable electrical wires/components
  • Selection and use of electrical testing equipment
  • Photovoltaic system performance


  • Lockout/tagout procedures
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Tools/equipment
  • Hazardous materials and job site environments

See Candidate Booklet: Law & Business; Trade Exam

Journeyman Electrician

  • Safety
  • Determination of Electrical System Requirements
  • Installation
  • Maintenance and Repair

See Candidate Booklet: Candidate Booklet and DAS Test Information

There are two parts to the examination process. All qualifying individuals must pass the standard Law and Business examination; in addition, individuals must pass a second test covering the specific trade or certification are for which they are applying.

Passing Grade: 70%

Fees: There are fees to obtain a license.

Who administers the test

Electrical Contractor C-10: California Contractors State License Board by calling 1-800-321-2752

Journeyman Electrician: After you have registered with the Electrician Certification Unit, you may schedule your exam: PSI 800-733-9267.

License Renewal Requirements:

Electrical Contractor C-10: Biennial; active licenses expire every two years. No CE requirements.

Journeyman Electrician: Triennial; must have worked at least 2,000 hours.

Applicable Regulations: All electrical installations in places of employment under the jurisdiction of the Department of Industrial Relations are subject to inspection by DIS. In practice, enforcement of building regulations is done primarily by local inspectors, with DIS providing all statewide safety inspection and consultation on safety matters in places of employment.

Applicable Code: NEC 2020


Division of Apprentice Standards
Department of Industrial Relations
2424 Arden Way, Suite 160
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 263-2877
(916) 263-0981 fax

Department of Industrial Relations
Contractors License Board
PO Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826
(916) 255-3985
(916) 366-0130 fax


To prepare for your electrician exam, use the following two practice exams by Ray Holder (Master Electrician and Certified Electrical Trade Instructor) which have 300 questions with fully explained answers:

For more information on licensing and exam prep, go to's Journeyman and Master Electrician Test Guide.

And take's free Journeyman Electrician Practice Test and the Master Electrician Practice Test.

For electrician exam preparation products and services, such as study guides, practice tests, flashcards and courses, go to's Journeyman Electrician Exam and Master Electrician Exam listings.