Part 2 of 2 – How to pass your exam and choose a contractor license school. This series walks you through the entire California contractor license application process. Part 1

Taking the Asbestos Open Book Examination

Page 49 of open book asbestos exam

Writing your application fee # on the top of your verification form (page 49) helps the CSLB locate misplaced paperwork.

All new applicants are now also required to complete the Asbestos: A Contractors Guide & Open Book Exam. You must complete the test and mail the Asbestos Open Book Exam verification form, (pages 49-51) with your proof of bond, and proof of workers comp or workers comp exemption form, before the CSLB will issue your contractor license. The state will mail all required paperwork with congratulations letter.

This required examination does not allow you to work on asbestos-related projects; it is merely to make you aware of risks of dealing with asbestos and provide the knowledge for how to respond appropriately. However, if you want to specialize in dealing with Asbestos or Hazardous Substance Removal, you should add the ABS Asbestos Certification, and the HAZ Hazardous Substance Removal Certification certificate to your contractor license.

We will be going over ABS and HAZ Certification in greater detail; however, that will be the topic of a future post.

Taking and Passing Your Contractor License Exam

You have approximately 12 weeks from the time you mail your application to the time of your exam date. These 12 weeks are your study window and provide an excellent opportunity to get ready to take your exam. While the State does offer study guides, these guides list multiple volumes costing hundreds of dollars and containing thousands of pages of material for you to go over.

We feel that the best way to learn the materials required to pass your exam is through the services of a contractor licensing school. However, we realize that not every Contractor licensing school’s created equal. We know this because we are one.

How to Choose a Contractor License School

Choosing a contractor license school can be a daunting task. Prices run from the mid-$100 range for a simple bare-bone program to thousands of dollars for elaborate overpriced combinations of a classroom and guided self-study.

So how to choose? First look at the curriculum. The most effective programs consist of a combination of the following study materials. Such as reading materials – (Textbooks), combined with audio reviews of the textbooks – (CDs). Video Instruction covering Key concepts in the textbook – (DVDs). With online interactive practice questions and virtual exams – (Online Classroom).

Our programs are amongst the best available anywhere at any price, Both the Trade and The Law & Business courses are available for only $199 per exam. You can visit us at to learn more.

See How to Choose a Contractors School for an in-depth review of this topic.

Test Day: Taking Your Contractor License Exam

The California contractor licensing exam is a four-choice multiple-choice closed-book examination. Although some questions may require math, the exam is written to provide only one BEST answer; there are no trick questions on the exam.

Always answer every question. Correct answers have the same point value. It is better to try to answer with the chance to possibly get it right than it is to leave that question blank and get it wrong (and lose points). Since you have plenty of time to answer all exam questions, be sure to read all questions and answers carefully before selecting the BEST possible answer to the question.

To cancel or reschedule your test date contact the CSLB up to 48 hours before your exam. Also, you can reschedule once for free, after that you are required to pay $60 to be assigned a new exam date.

The CSLB operates eight testing centers across California. These centers are in Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose, Fresno, Oxnard, Norwalk, San Bernardino, San Diego

Coming soon: Test Strategies for Passing Your Exam, an in-depth review of this topic.

Oh, No! I Did Not Pass One or Both Exams!

Breathe its ok! You just lost a little time but have gained much knowledge.  Don’t despair, you now know what you need to do and learn to pass on your next attempt.  You will not have to wait long for a retest date plus the cost is low, it costs only $60 to retake both exams.

If you enrolled with a contractor’s school, call them and ask for help. Call another contractor license school If they seem unresponsive. Almost half of our clients enroll with us after failing to pass their exam using someone else.

I Passed! What Now?

First Congratulations! You are almost there. The testing center will notify the issuance unit which will issue your congratulations pass letter and final paperwork. You will receive an invoice for the $200 registration fee, a request for proof of workers comp insurance paperwork or a completed workers comp exemption form, proof of $15.000 bond and the Asbestos open book exam verification form located in the back of your Asbestos open book exam.

Return all the above to the CSLB, and within two weeks you are a fully licensed California contractor.