Do I Need Certification for Voice Data Video Work in California?

Written by Kacie Goff

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) issues quite a few different types of electrical certifications. Then, to further complicate matters, the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) also issues a C-10 electrical contractor license. It’s enough to leave most people pretty confused. But if you’re in the field of voice, data, and video electrical work, it’s pretty clear cut: you’ll want the DIR’s voice data video technician certification

This isn’t just a nice-to-have. The state requires it before you can undertake projects, even if you’re being overseen by an electrical contractor. So, yes, you need certification to work as a voice data video tech in California. Here’s a quick look at how to get — and maintain — your certification. 

Getting your certification

First up, you need to meet the experience requirements. For most people, that means some combination of schooling/training and an electrical traineeship/apprenticeship. 

Specifically, the DIR requires that all voice data video technicians have 4,000 hours of experience. And you need to tally up those hours from at least two of the following categories:

  • Stock room and material handling (you can count up to 300 hours of experience in this category)
  • Installations, including wire pulling, terminations, control panel devices, and finish work
  • Troubleshooting and maintenance (max of 750 hours)
  • Voice, data, and/or video rade specific training  (max of 300 hours)

Long story short, a bunch of your hours are going to need to come from installations. When you’re choosing an electrical traineeship/apprenticeship, make sure you’ll be working on plenty of installs. 

Once you rack up the required experience hours, you need to:

  1. Submit the Application for Electrician Examination and Certification 
  2. Pay the required fees, $100 for the application and $75 for the voice data video technician exam, and include the $175 check or money order in your application
  3. Once you get approval from the DIR, take and pass the 135-minute, 50-question, open-book CA Voice Data Video Technician exam (here’s the candidate bulletin to help you prepare)

For more info about getting your California voice data video technician certification, check out this guide from the DIR. 

Maintaining your California voice data video certification

Getting your cert is a big step, and it requires a fair amount of work. To make sure you don’t have to go through all that hassle again, renew your certification before the deadline. 

For California voice data video certification holders, that means renewing every three years. To complete the renewal process, you need to:

  • Work the required hours. You need to have worked at least 2,000 hours as a voice data tech in the last three years. Since that’s roughly the equivalent of one year of full-time work, this shouldn’t be an issue. 
  • Take 32 hours of continuing education. You need to take these hours from a state-approved education provider, but the good news is that the DIR has greenlit some education providers to offer the hours online. With online voice data video tech CE, you can chip away at your hours whenever you have time, and do it from your computer, phone, or tablet. 
  • Send in the renewal application. You can find it here. It’s an easy, one-page form, so don’t stress. Just make sure you mail it in well before your certification expires. 
  • Pay the renewal fee. Include it with your application. It’s $100, unless you don’t get your application in on time. In that case, the fee doubles.   

Long story short, you do need certification to work as a voice data video technician in the Golden State. But now you know the ins and outs of getting and keeping that cert.