What’s the Process for California Electrical Certification Renewal?

You’ve been working as a certified contractor in the state of California, abiding by the law as you make locations fit for modern use by setting up their electricity. But you might be wondering what you need to do to make sure your electrician certification stays active. Do you need to take steps towards your California electrical certification renewal?

The short answer is yes. Fortunately, renewing your certification is easy, especially if you do it before your current certification expires. Let’s take a closer look at each of the steps you need to take for California electrical certification renewal. 


When do I need to start thinking about California electrical certification renewal?

In the state of California, your electrician certification is valid for three years. You can wait until the last minute to renew if you want. Technically, the state will accept valid certification renewal applications as long as they’re postmarked on or before your certification card’s expiration date. 

That said, if you want to take a little stress out of your life, it’s a good idea to set a recurring reminder on your calendar to go off when your certification is a year away from expiration. The state accepts renewal applications up to a year before your expiration date and planning ahead makes the process less stressful. 

Plus, you want to make sure you renew before your certification expires. If you do, you just have to complete some California electrician continuing education online. If you don’t and your certification expires, you have two problems. First, you’ll be working illegally. Secondly, you’ll have to retake the exam you took to first get your certification and pay a higher fee. Skip the hassle by renewing your certification well before your expiration date. 

Now let’s look at the steps you need to take to renew your California electrician certification. 

Step 1: Complete your electrical continuing education

The state of California wants to ensure that all electricians are informed on the latest changes to the National Electrical Code, OSHA regulations, general safety guidelines, and more. So rather than simply letting you renew your certification, they require you to go through a certain number of hours of electrician continuing education online. 

Each electrician in the state of California is required to take 32 hours of continuing education before they can renew their certification card. Fortunately, you can take these education hours online and at your own pace. That’s why getting started with your California electrical certification renewal at least a few months before your certification expires is a good idea. 

When you’re picking your California electrical certification online classes, make sure you choose an educational institution that’s been approved by the state. If you take your continuing education classes somewhere else, they won’t count towards your renewal. 

Step 2: Meet the work requirement

On top of completing your 32 hours of electrician continuing education, California also requires that you’ve worked a certain number of hours before you can renew. Fortunately, that requirement is just 2,000 hours, or right around one year of full-time work. And because you have three years to get these hours, even if you’re only working part-time as an electrician, you’ll generally have sufficient hours for your renewal.

California doesn’t ask you to verify these hours in any way. Instead, you simply have to check a box on your application saying you’ve worked the required hours. But keep in mind that when you sign that application, your certify the information you put on it under penalty of perjury. 

Step 3: Submit your renewal application

If you’ve completed your 32 hours of continuing education for electricians and have worked at least 2,000 hours as an electrician in the previous three years, you’re ready to fill out your Renewal Application for Electrician Certification

And, good news, the application is only one page long and pretty straightforward. To complete your application, you’ll need:

  • A current driver’s license or state ID
  • Your certificate of completion for your electrician continuing education
  • $100 for your renewal fee

You can send cash or a check for your renewal fee. If you send a check, make it out to “DIR-Electrician Certification Fund.”

Once you have your application ready, send it along with your renewal fee and your continuing education completion certificate to:

DIR-Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement

Attn: Electrician Certification Unit

PO Box 511286 

Los Angeles, CA 90051-7841

The state will respond to your application within 30 days of receiving it. 

Tips for renewing your California electrician certification

Note that if you’re applying to renew multiple different electrician certifications (e.g., a residential electrician certification and a general electrician certification, if you carry both), you need to complete two separate applications. 

Also note that California will keep everything you send them. Make a copy of your renewal application and save it for your records. 

What happens if I miss my renewal date?

If your California electrician certification card expires, the above steps won’t work to renew your certification. Instead, you need to take the electrician certification exam again and pay the $200 fee for retaking that test. You can use the same renewal form you would have used if you were renewing your certification on time, but you’ll fill out Section II towards the bottom instead of Section I. And you’ll need to include $200 to cover the exam fee rather than the standard $100 renewal fee. 

Keeping your electrician certification is fairly easy as long as you start the process with enough time to comfortably complete your California electrical certification continuing education. As long as you plan ahead, you can complete your electrical continuing education on your own time and at your own pace. Then, you just need to submit the simple one-page renewal application to the state with your $100 fee and, assuming your application is accepted, you’re covered for another three years.

Don’t forget that you can do your renewal up to a year before your certification expires. Get it off your to-do list sooner by signing up for the continuing education hours you need today.