CSLB Meeting Update, Fingerprinting & Continuing Education for Contractors

We polished a couple of seats at the latest Contractors State License Board Committee meeting on behalf of contractors out there getting the real work done. At the latest get together of decision-makers it was recommended that ‘retroactive’ fingerprinting be rubbed out; an hour added to the exam clock and the notion of ‘continuing education’ flunked! These and other important issues and a reminder that your chance to speak directly to the Board is coming up. We begin with a ‘good news/bad news’ statistic…


The number of license applications filed by contractors continues to decrease on a year-to-year basis.  There has roughly been a 40% decline in the number of applications received by the CSLB over the past 6 years. The decrease for total applications received for FY 2011-12 alone, as compared with 2010-11, is down 14%.


These and other topics were discussed at the Contractor Board’s Licensing Committee meeting in Sacramento on August 28th.  One benefit however, of the application decrease, is processing times.  On average, most applications are currently processed in 2 to 3 weeks from the day they’re received at CSLB headquarters.


One thing that hasn’t changed much over the past 30 years is the number of applications rejected due to errors in completing the forms.  It was reported that, on average, 45% of all applications (Original License, adding a class or replacing the Qualifier) are returned for corrections.  Just as trained professionals often complete state tax forms, successfully preparing contractor license applications may require input from an expert to reduce the chance of it being rejected. This is especially true when time is of the essence in obtaining your number.


Those who are required to sit for a test may be happy to learn that starting immediately, you’ll be given an extra hour to complete the exam process.  Applicants will now have 3 ½ hours to finish.  The Testing Division update also specified that the wait time for an exam is three weeks statewide and that “on any given day, walk-in applicants have an excellent chance of finding an available seat” in one of the 8 CSLB testing centers.


The Licensing Committee discussed several policy recommendations.  One involved “retroactive” fingerprinting while a second dealt with continuing education requirements for all existing contractors.  In both cases, after careful study and consideration, the Committee adopted the recommended staff position to NOT require either.


Legislation to require all contractors to be fingerprinted was introduced in 2009 but failed to pass. Since fingerprints were first required in 2005, approximately 40% of current licensees have been required to submit prints when applying for a new license or modifying an existing license (such as a change in qualifying individual or additional class).  This proposal would have required ALL existing licensees (even some who have been licensed for more than 50 years) to submit a set of fingerprints to the CSLB.  It was determined that for a host of reasons, it was very impractical to adopt this requirement.


Continuing Education (CE) requirements have been discussed off and on for decades.  It was determined that since there is “no identified problem with the construction industry that CE would address, and due to the significant cost impact of such a requirement on licensees and the Board, (the) CSLB cannot support a CE requirement”.


All the above items will be discussed and voted on by the FULL CSLB at their 1:30pm meeting in Sacramento on September 11th.  The meeting is open to the public and contractors are urged to attend.  Many other topics including potential legislation, and updates on various enforcement actions will also be discussed.  At the beginning of each CSLB meeting, members of the public may address the Board on any topic.