California Plumber Licensing FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about California’s plumber licensing and continuing education

How to Get a California Plumber License

  1. Meet the minimum experience requirements:
    1. Have at least 4 years experience performing or supervising plumbing work
    2. Possess a Social Security number or ITIN
    3. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Submit a completed application for licensure with applicable fees
  3. Qualifying Party must take and pass exams

California Plumber Renewal Requirements

Renewal Deadline: Licenses expire every two years by the date on your license

Continuing Education: There is currently no continuing education requirement for California plumbers

Getting Licensed

Who needs to be licensed for plumbing in California?

A plumbing contractor provides a means for a supply of safe water, ample in volume and of suitable temperature for the purpose intended and the proper disposal of fluid waste from the premises in all structures and fixed works. This classification includes but is not limited to:

(a)Complete removal of waste from the premises or the construction and connection of on-site waste disposal systems;

(b)Piping, storage tanks and venting for a safe and adequate supply of gases and liquids for any purpose, including vacuum, compressed air and gases for medical, dental, commercial and industrial uses;

(c)All gas appliances, flues and gas connections for all systems including suspended space heating units. This does not include forced warm air units;

(d)Water and gas piping from the property owner’s side of the utility meter to the structure or fixed works;

(e) Installation of any type of equipment to heat water, or fluids, to a temperature suitable for the purposes listed in this section, including the installation of solar equipment for this purpose; and

(f)The maintenance and replacement of all items described above and all health and safety devices such as, but not limited to, gas earthquake valves, gas control valves, back flow preventers, water conditioning equipment and regulating valves.

What are the types of plumbing licenses available in California?

  • C-36 Plumbing Contractor

What fees are associated with becoming a plumber in California?

  • Application/Test: $50

How do I get my plumbing license in California?

First you must meet the requirements:

  • Have at least 4 years of experience performing or supervising plumbing work
  • Possess a Social Security number or ITIN
  • Be at least 18 years old

After meeting the requirements:

  1. Submit a complete application for licensure with applicable fees
  2. Qualifying Party must take and pass exams

CSLB provides a detailed guide within the application to help you complete the process.

What fees are associated with becoming a plumber in California?

Listed below are the primary fees, see this list for full details and other fees.

  • Original Application (including exam or waiver): $330
  • Initial License: $200
  • Re-Examination: $60
  • Timely Renewal: $450
  • Delinquent Renewal: $675

What can I expect from the California plumbing exam?

As a condition of licensure, an applicant must take and pass two examinations:

  • Law & Business
  • Trade

These are closed-book examinations. No reference materials may be used during the examinations. All materials brought to the examination site must be left in an unmonitored area at your own risk.

These are multiple-choice examinations with four choices per question. Examination questions are written to provide only one BEST answer. Some questions require mathematical computation. A calculator will be provided.

There is no penalty for guessing. If you are unsure about a particular question, it is better to try to answer the question than to leave the question blank.

Plenty of time is provided to answer all examination questions, so be sure to read each question and its four choices completely and carefully before selecting the BEST possible answer to the question.

Renewing a License

When do I need to renew my California plumbing license?

  • Active licenses: Every two years
  • Inactive licenses: Every four years

How do I renew my plumbing license in California?

  1. Approximately 60 days before your license is due to expire, CSLB will send you a renewal application.
    • If you have not received a renewal application from the CSLB within 45 days of the expiration date, you can order a renewal online or by calling the CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).
  2. An acceptable renewal application must be received at CSLB’s Headquarters Office prior to the expiration date of the license to avoid any unlicensed time. It is your responsibility to make sure your license is renewed, even if you don’t receive a renewal form.
  3. Because processing times can vary significantly, timely submission of your renewal is strongly recommended.

Do I need continuing education to renew my plumbing license in California?

There are no active continuing education requirements for plumbers in California.

What is professional development?

Things in the plumbing industry change often. As a professional in your trade it is important to keep your knowledge base up to date so you can make practical decisions for your business. Professional development courses are designed to help you improve your industry knowledge. Whether you are looking for information on new avenues to pursue in your business, wanting to brush up on best practices, or are just interested in learning about a particular topic: professional development is for you!

Is professional development the same as continuing education?

Professional development is different from continuing education. Continuing education courses are mandatory courses that your licensing body wants you to take in order to maintain your license.

Department of Consumer Affairs
Contractors State License Board
9821 Business Park Drive,
Sacramento, CA 95827
(800) 321-2752

PSI Exams
3210 East Tropicana
Las Vegas, NV 89121
(855) 746-8173

Once I order the course, how long before I can start?

You may begin immediately! Simply click the Login button in the upper right-hand corner on your desktop or in the upper-right menu on mobile. Once you’ve entered your login and password, you will be taken to your courses. Follow the instructions and enjoy!

Once I start an online course, will I be able to start and stop at any time?

Our courses are available online 24/7 and you are able to log in and log out at any time during the course. If you are going to be away from your computer for more than 10-15 minutes, simply log out. When you log back in, you will be able to re-enter the lesson you were last in.

How long do your continuing education courses take to complete?

Continuing education requirements vary by state. Each course lists a minimum number of credit hours required to complete the course.

How long do your exam prep courses take to complete?

This question really depends on your learning style and comfort level with the topics we cover. There is no set time for completing exam prep courses — you get to go at your own pace! Many plumbers like to re-watch materials, some like to just re-take the practice tests. Our recommendation is for you to go through the course as many times as you need to be comfortable with the material and any applicable reference books. The more familiar you are with the materials, the better you will do on your exam!

How long do I have the courses?

We allow up to 6 months for you to complete the courses. During the six months you have unlimited, 24/7 access. If you need additional time, please contact our offices to arrange an extension (please note: a fee may apply).

Are there tests in the courses?

This varies depending on whether the course is continuing education or exam prep.

There are no quizzes for continuing education courses in Michigan. All other states with continuing education require quizzes to check completion progress.

In exam prep courses there will be a short quiz at the end of each lesson and there is also a longer practice test at the end of each course. These quizzes and tests will help you practice taking an exam and identify areas you may wish to study more.

If I fail a practice test, do I have to take it again?

Practice tests are just that: for practice. You will have the opportunity to retake the practice tests until you do pass. The practice tests are there to help you get used to the process of using your reference materials and finding the correct answers during an exam. If you don’t pass on the first try, take the time to note what sections of the material you need to review.

Once I complete a course, can I still go back and review the lessons and quizzes?

You are able to review the lessons and quizzes at any time during the six months you’ll have access to the courses.