Are You Getting Enough Practical Experience for Your Contracting License Qualification?
The California State Licensing Board requires you to have four years of experience before you can take a licensing exam. With the completion of certain types of degree and certificate programs, you may be able to waive up to three of those years. This means that some people can get a license with one year of practical experience. No matter how much work history you will have by the time you take the exam, practical knowledge and hands-on experience is going to be a necessity going forward. Here’s a few tips to make sure that you are getting the practice you need to move to the next step, after the exam.
How Much Practical Experience Must I Have?
Understanding the practical experience component of the California contractor’s license may take some nuance. The California State Licensing Board allows you to submit proof of technical training, apprenticeship or college education related to the license you’re seeking to replace some of that four-year requirement. They make this decision based on the type of program and its relevance to the license you want.
Tallying your practical experience may be more complicated than simply counting the months you’ve been in another contractor’s employ. Many people work for a licensed business before applying for their own contractor’s license, while some accumulate this experience doing smaller projects on their own. In either case, the CSLB requires that you demonstrate you have at least a year of regular practice in the job. Part-time or occasional work may take more than a year to satisfy this item.
Can I Do the Work Without Assistance?
If you work for a company while you gather experience, you may not always be involved with every part of the work you do. At first, some businesses send apprentices or less-experienced workers to perform smaller tasks under specific guidance. If you want to be able to do it on your own, you need to know each stage of the process, including:
- meeting with the client
- inspecting the space
- formulating a plan to complete the project
- doing the work
- fixing any problems that may arise
Opportunity to take a more comprehensive role in the tasks you plan to do for your career will make it easier to act as a leader in your own business.
Can I Complete the Project to Code?
Sometimes, the CSLB will consider practical experience you get working on your own home, as long as you can verify the effort will meet current construction codes. Learning what the codes are is an educational effort that may require some study and formal instruction. Practical experience will give you the chance to test out your understanding and ability to remember the rules as you work. During your practice, develop an eye for work that does not meet codes and how to repair it. This will help cement your knowledge.
Am I Taking Regular Opportunities to Practice Developing Skills?
At first, you might be so eager to get started that you openly look for opportunities for expand your skills. Once you’ve been working on certain tasks for months or years, it can be easy to get complacent. Keep in mind that continual learning is the lifeblood of a contracting business owner. Work on increasing the depth and complexity of the work you do as you get more knowledge. Take advantage of one of our 25+ locations for hands-on practice and instruction in many fields. This will ensure that you have the right balance of work and education that will help your business grow over time.
Satisfying the practical experience requirement for your contractor’s license is one thing. Making sure you can turn your experience into a viable business takes a few extra steps, and these tips can help. To start building your career in construction, visit CSLS today!