California Electrical Certification Exam: What You Need to Know
April 29, 2021
California electricians who work for C-10 electrical contractors and who make connections greater than 100 volts must take and pass the California Electrical Certification Exam, a test administered by the California Department of Industrial Relations (CDIR).
The type of certification test you take depends on the type of electrician you are. There are five electrical subclassifications, including:
- General Electrician
- Residential Electrician
- Fire and Life Safety Technician
- Voice and Data Technician
- Non-residential Lighting Technician
General Electrician is the most common, and this is what we will focus on in this blog post.
What is required to take the certification exam?
In order to work as a certified general electrician, California law requires that you obtain an official certification. Before you can take the exam, you must successfully complete electrician trainee courses in an apprenticeship program, or complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job experience.
You must apply to take the certification exam. You have one year to take the exam from the date that you are deemed eligible. If you happen to fail the test, you can retake it 60 days after your first attempt, and you can retake the exam as many times as possible during this one year period. At the conclusion of one year, if you have not yet taken or not yet passed the test, you must resubmit the application.
What material is covered on the exam?
The electrical certification exam is based on the National Electrical Code. The material covered on the test is relevant to both your educational training and to your on-the-job experience. Here is a breakdown of what is covered:
|General Electrician Topic||Percentage of Test|
|Determination of electrical system requirements||22%|
|Maintenance and repair||6%|
You may visit the CDIR website for some sample exam questions.
How long do you have to complete the exam?
The general electrician exam consists of 100 questions. The time given to complete the test is 4 hours and 30 minutes. You must achieve a score of 70% to pass the exam. It is an open book test, and test materials are provided at the testing center on the day of the exam.
Are there any fees to take the test?
There are fees associated with taking the test. The test is relatively inexpensive if you pass on the first attempt. Unfortunately, you must pay additional fees for each subsequent test if you fail on initial attempts.
As of April 2021, the fee to apply for the certification exam is $75.00, and any retakes are $100.00. For a full breakdown of fees, visit the CDIR website.
The electrical certification must be renewed every three years.
Electrical certifications expire three years from the effective date. If you do not renew, then your certification will lapse and you will be unable to work under a C-10 electrician.
In addition to passing the exam, to renew your certification you must:
- Complete at least 2,000 hours of work
- Complete 32 hours of continuing education
What is the difference between a C-10 License vs Electrical Certification?
A certified electrician works under a C-10 contractor and there is one key difference between the two. More often than not, a C-10 licensed contractor is an entrepreneur who owns their own business and is bidding on jobs over $500. Such licenses are regulated by the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB). So, if you wish to own your own electrical business and bid on jobs, you must obtain a C-10 License. Visit our blog for more information on how to get the C-10 electrical contractors license.
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