How to Get Low Voltage License

According to the California Code of Regulations, Title 16, Division 8, Article 3. Classifications,

     “A communication and low voltage contractor installs, services and maintains all types of communication and low voltage systems which are energy limited and do not exceed 91 volts. These systems include, but are not limited to telephone systems, sound systems, cable television systems, closed-circuit video systems, satellite dish antennas, instrumentation and temperature controls, and low voltage landscape lighting. Low voltage fire alarm systems are specifically not included in this section.”

The C-7 Contractor’s License is required by installers and technicians etc. who are involved in the process of installing, servicing or maintaining all types of low voltage systems. This license does not allow the licensee to work on low voltage fire alarm systems, fire protection equipment, lock and security equipment and solar equipment.

How to Get Low Voltage License?

Low Voltage contractors need a license to practice. For this, they have to follow a certain procedure, pay fees and provide several documents to complete an application and verification process. The licensing requirements vary from state to state.  If you need state-specific details, you can check the National Electrical Contractors Association website that lists in detail requirements for each state.

The following contains requirements for the C7 Low Voltage Contractors License in California.

California Low Voltage Systems License C-7 Requirements

You are advised to gather complete information on all relevant matters before beginning. The process itself can be a little complicated, therefore, being sufficiently prepared for it will be of great help. Have a look at the basic criteria you will need to meet and the kind of experience that you might be given credit for:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age or older
  • You must have at least 4 years experience of performing or supervising low voltage work (personal experience is also accepted by the state now)
  • A person with any kind of first-hand knowledge of your experience, such as the homeowner or certain employer, must be able to verify the experience
  • College degree or trade school credits can be counted as up to 3 years of the needed trade experience
  • Obtain the “Application for Original Contractor’s License” from the Contractor’s State Board office or by calling them. You can also download this application from the CSLB website
  • To get the Low Voltage License, you have to pass the Low Voltage Systems Examination along with the Law and Business Exam

California Low Voltage Systems Contractor Exam C-7 Details

If you are getting licensed for the first time, you will need to take both the law and trade exams, along with the actual contractor’s exam.  The actual contractor’s exam has 100-120 questions, with a time limit of 2-1/2 hours (around 150 minutes). You will require pre-approval from the state to sit for the examination. In addition, bear in mind that you will need at least 70% marks to pass the exam.

Exam Content

The content for a C-7 Low Voltage Contractors License Exam includes a number of topics relating to the various aspects of low voltage equipment, their installation, and maintenance and servicing. You will be exposed to topics such as job design and planning, material selections and estimation, wire/cable installation and termination, component installation, testing, troubleshooting, repairing and safety while installing.

There are several organizations that provide detailed study guides to help applicants prepare for this exam. Even if you are reapplying for a second or third time and have “mastered” the exam content, you’d still be better off preparing for the exam. This is necessary since requirements keep on changing. In addition, low voltage equipment also frequently gets updated.

Preparing for the Exam

The first thing you need to do is get your hands on the right kind of study materials. Ideally, you should cover major topics such as basic electrical theory, plan and circuit symbols, electrical materials, low voltage relay circuit, first aid, satellite antenna systems, optic fiber and computer networking processes. You might also want to cover some aspects of the health and safety orders that would be relevant to the low voltage exam and subsequent practice in the field.

California Low Voltage Systems Contractors C-7 Fees

To apply for a license, a certain amount of money needs to be paid for processing fees and application charges. The State of California has an initial application fee of $300 for new applicants. The fee amount is the same for contractors who are reapplying for licensure. There is an additional fee ($180) for a two-year license card. Following the approval of your application by the Contractors State License Board, you will be notified regarding your test date and further test-related details. In addition to these, further financial requirements need you to have at least $2,500 in working capital (this can be in cash form or equipment that will need to be verified). Along with these requirements, applicants are also required to file a bond with the Registrar in the amount of $10,000.

Receiving the C-7 Low Voltage Contractor’s License Certificate

Once you have successfully passed the examination, you will receive a wall certificate and a pocket license, certifying that you are a licensed C-7 contractor.

Further Contact Details

If you have any other queries regarding the license, its requirements, exam, fee structure or application process, following is the address to get in touch with the California State Licensing Board.

California State Licensing Board

9821 Business Park Drive

Sacramento, CA, 95826-0026

You can also get in touch with them on their website:

Website: www.cslb.ca.gov/

Note: All relevant information and guidelines are provided in great detail on the website. You will find Application for Original Contractor License in PDF – this will guide you through the application process.

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