The Shortage
Contractors are having difficulty finding skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, and HVACR professionals. Currently, 93% of firms with skilled craftsmen in the United States and 85% of contractors in California have open hourly craft positions, according to the Associated General Contractors of America,

Basic Requirements
Licensing requirements differ from state to state and in some cases from locality to locality, but the need for properly trained skilled plumbers is countrywide. To be able to fulfill plumbing projects legally on jobs valued at over $500 in labor and materials in the state of California, you must be a licensed contractor. However, California does not require you to have a license to start working and learning the trade provided you are directly supervised by a registered contractor. California does not license at either the apprentice or journeyman levels.

It will take you at least four years to qualify to take the Original Contractors License Exam in California. To become a plumber In California, you must have 2 to 3 years of academic experience, combined with 1 to 2 years as an apprentice plumber. You will then need to successfully complete the exam.

Ten Steps to Get a Plumbing Contractor License in California

  1. You must be 18 years old.
  2. You must have been issued either a Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number.
  3. You need to have completed a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
  4. Get work experience under the supervision of a licensed contractor or four years of documented journeyman experience in jobs valuing $500 or less.
  5. You must apply for Original Contractors License C-36 specialty.
  6. You need to offer documentation showing you have completed four years of journeyman-level experience or an equivalent college or vocational training program.
  7. You must take and pass all parts of the licensing exam and pay all required fees.
  8. Pass a criminal background check, including fingerprinting.
  9. File evidence of workers’ compensation insurance or an exemption from the requirements.
  10. Secure a contractor’s surety bond.

Projected Growth
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are currently 469,000 plumbers in the United States and California employs 40,400 of them, the most of any state in the nation. While the national number in the trades is projected to grow 2 percent from 2021 to 2031 adding 9,100 skilled workers to the ranks, in California, the projected growth rate is over six times that at 13% for Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.

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