Is a license required to weld in California?

My son, "Have welder will travel", is starting up in California. I've been doing job shop work forever without any kind of license or legal stuff. But
he told me he had to get licensed... and I don't believe the source he learned this from.
Am I wrong?
Wayne in sunny Chula Vista
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try googling for "california welding license c-60"
http://www.californiacontractorexam.com/trades/c60.html
California License Information
C-60 Welding Contractor A welding contractor causes metal to become permanently attached, joined and fabricated by the use of gases and electrical energy, which creates temperatures of sufficient heat to perform this work
Sample Content:
CA State Exam Example Questions CA State Exam Contents
Click Here to view the contents of our Online Practice Test, developed by Contractor School Online.
Just what sorts of work does this apply to -- maybe doing for for the state or local govts only -- I do not know. But I would try to find out.
i
wrote:

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wrote:

Did that. But did not find who or why a license is required. But thanks!
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I don't think you need a license to weld in California, but you do have to have a license to do business. When I took the Nevada Contractor's Board exam, there was absolutely no requirement to provide welding certifications, and there was not one question about metal or welding. Government agencies are just like the mob: as long as they get their cut, they're happy. When they don't, they can make life miserable for you. If you are working off a mobile truck by the hour, you will need to be licensed. If you do the work for a preset amount, you will need to have a contractor's license. And every county and city you work within will want something. They even require balloon salesmen in parades to go to City Hall and buy a peddler's license.
Unless you're backing him, or he's coming in as a part of your business, all this stuff is stuff HE needs to get out and discover. Otherwise, you will be very busy helping him.
You do not provide enough information for a complete answer, so take only what applies to you below.
To wit:
Is he going to operate out of a shop, or off a truck?
Is he going to have employees?
Will he be doing proposal/contract work, or just be working by the hour?
Will he be doing structural for general contractors, or just repairing garden gates for homeowners?
As importantly as licensing is the issue of industrial insurance, welding certification and bonds.
In California, several cities blend one to the other. He may be licensed on one side of the street, but not the other. He may need a California State Contractor's license, license for the county he's working in (and that may even include giving bids), and he may need to be licensed in EVERY municipality or incorporated area that he works in. He needs to know the laws of EVERY area he's going to work in. They have people who's job it is to drive around all day every day and check licenses so those cities get their cut just like the mob. They don't like it when you come in and do work and not give them their revenue.
This is stuff that your son needs to get out and find out for himself. And fully understand.
Have welder, will travel is a neat idea and I admire his ambition. However, knowing how to weld is no big deal. There are millions of craftsmen who SUCK at being businessmen. He needs to be walking within the lines and doing things right, or the first time he takes work from a contractor, they drop a dime on him, and the problems only begin. Here in Nevada, even bidding work is considered contracting whether you do the work or collect a dime. And it's a FELONY. And god forbid you have a problem, and someone calls the authorities on you, and you're not properly licensed.
Still yet, what about workman's comp? Any good job you bid will require you to provide proof of insurance with your bid.
Welding certification will be required for the structural work that you can charge handsomely for.
This is so indicative of the society we live in today. Years ago, guys worked and did good work and made good money. Today there's shysters and illegals and thieves, so more laws. And you must comply with the laws FIRST before you even strike an arc.
I don't mean to piss on your idea just give you a heads up on what I learned going through the same process. I just think your SON needs to go spend the time to learn this stuff. HE needs to know this stuff, not you. It will make him a better businessmen, and will keep him from falling into as many holes. It will also improve the market he can sell to and the amount of money he ends up with in his pocket at the end of the year. When he can go in and bid a job and, on request, provide all his licenses, bonds, insurance certificates, welding certifications, liability insurance, etc, THAT'S a professional presentation that companies want. That's what gets the good money jobs.
That's what separates the guys making money from the guys driving around fixing garden gates. And even the guys fixing gates, if they're doing it right, have to have multiple licenses.
Just some of my thoughts from many years welding, and nine years of being a steel erection contractor. And I started out of my garage with a pickup, unlicensed, like your son. Then I just followed the money. Most licenses are a walk through. Give them the money, they give you a license. Welding tests the same way. (you must pass, tho)
In Nevada, if it is permanently attached to a dwelling, wall, structure, or piece of real estate, it requires a State Contractor's license. And they are FINALLY enforcing the laws, and busting guys right and left. And the cities and counties have their enforcement officers out there collecting their juice, too.
Good luck. Go for it. Just do it right. Start with the homework. If the kid is good, he'll make more money by being properly licensed. He'll be a better businessman by knowing where the land mines are buried. And he won't be calling you as much for advice and help getting out of holes.
Steve
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Steve, your advice is worth a million bucks that I'd love to pay you if I had them. But of all the years in participating in newsgroups, very few postings come close the the quality of your response to my question.
I have forwared it to Lyle, who has several startups under his belt, losses not due to his mismanagement but tough luck.
Thanks!
Wayne in sunny Chula Vista... not gambling today... but wife in Las Vegas with daughter next week and who knows what will happen... (penny 'one armed bandidts' level gambling ---- not on the strip)

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Yer welcome. I have known more than one exquisite craftsman who could do the work, but couldn't navigate through all the licensing and red tape. A few wound up finding someone who would do the "red tape" portion, but then they ended up working for someone else even though they had started the business themselves, and were the key personnel. Most went back to being happy hourly workers.
It is difficult for a lot of "hands on" guys to back off and be managers and hire people to do the work. And then, it is difficult to find people who will do it as good as you, or at least to an acceptable standard.
One of the principles of the book "Principles of Organization" is delegation of authority, and that's where most people mess up the worst. They just can't find/hire department heads and then let them alone to either do their job or not do the job and be replaced.
Huge difference between being a good welder, and organizing a welding company.
If it were only as simple as being a good welder. But then, everyone would do it.
Thanks for the compliment. Go here and scroll down to "Man in the Arena."
http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/quotes.htm
Steve
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Top posting for brevity. Just told son about your note. He says you are mentoring him by email. Thanks!

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A lot of work in SoCal will require an L.A. City Cert (even outside the city). The L.A Cert. consists of a writted exam over the appropriate code and a welding test(s) from an approved agency.
That might be what he's refering to.
JTMcC.

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Thanks... will look into it.
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I have no knowledge of California but Steve B has given an excellent overview of their business licensing requirements, however I suspect that what you should really be asking is whether a journeyman trade certificate or welder qualification test is required.
Different jurisdictions have different requirements but most issue qualification certificates for trades as diverse as welder or auto mechanic or electrician to hairdresser or baker. Some of these trades may be compulsory and some many be optional at the discretion of an employer. Trade qualification or journeyman certificates are normally issued after the completion of an apprenticeship and several periods of trade school instruction and written exam testing. Trade qualification certificates are often recognized in other jurisdictions having equivalent certificates but may require the payment of a fee or writing an exam. Those with sufficient experience can usually be grandfathered or permitted to challenge the exam or to qualify by completing a partial apprenticeship or period of trade school. Journeyman certificates are commonly valid for life but in extreme cases may be revoked for cause.
In addition to journeyman certificates, welders are also commonly required to pass practical welding tests for work in specialized areas such as high pressure pipe or structural. These practical tests are procedure specific (SMAW, FCAW, GMAW, GTAW / TIG, OA, subarc etc) are position specific (flat, horizontal, or all position) and are usually valid for a specified time (commonly ~1-2 yrs) and are in addition to any journeyman certificate. My trade qualification certificates are valid across the country but there are separate pressure tickets in each jurisdiction and each requires a separate practical qualification test, there is a structural qualification ticket that is recognized as valid across the country. The requirement for specific procedure tickets is determined by the owner of a project and by the construction code that covers the installation.
I realize that this does not answer your specific question but hopefully someone with California knowledge can pick up from here, if not I suggest you contact the Dept of Labor, or use Google as I suspect they will have a website with complete information.
Just MHE, YMMV
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Most certificates are requirements set by the job or by the inspector, or with some time constraint. IOW, it's just as good as the job lasts.

The issue here of certification/trade qualification certificates/etc, are misunderstood except to those who truly have welded for a living.
And that is HONESTLY meant NOT to dis anyone.
When we used to test for high pressure pipeline welding jobs in the Gulf of Mexico, the deal was to come in, weld up a section of pipe the inspector had laid out, and pass or fail you had the job as long as you didn't have many repairs or cutouts. You were certified for that job, and that may have only been a month or two.
Most every job is like that. You come in. You test. You pass or fail. No one wants to hear how you did on your last job, or how much experience you've had. They just say, "Here's two pieces of pipe. Weld them together and bring them to me when you're done. See ya."
Lab testing offers some degree of standardization of qualifications and performance, but is meant only to serve as a guide to mean " this guy at least has an idea what's going on vs: this guy doesn't have a clue." I believe that each and every certification has some clause in it, the most common being AWS that if you don't weld for six months, your cert expires, although some guys could not weld for three years and walk in flatfooted and pass an x ray test, and another that has welded the whole time would fail. Commonly acquired certificates merely say the holder at least knows how to weld ............... a little bit.
Certification has limits. Time limits. Rod types. Position. Direction of travel. Lots of things that people who don't have a clue think a certified welder is okay to weld on NASA pressure vessels when he may only be minimally qualified to weld rebar.
Delete "certified welder" from your vocabulary. It means virtually nothing. It just means that particular weldor could pass that particular test that particular day. Even if just on rebar.
It was something akin to the "Burning Man Festival" when we had weldor tests for a pipeline job in the oilfield. High pressure petroleum products pipelines! Guys coming in and sleeping in the front seat of their welding trucks. Others showing up with a small duffel bag with an extra pair of socks and underwear, sleeping anywhere it was sheltered from rain. Others with just showed up with a hood and gloves. Weld a coupon, and a destructive pull test for tensile strength. Maybe a nick/break test. Guys who you worked with last job would bomb out because of drinking too much the night before, or just blowing a weld. Unknowns getting their fifteen minutes of fame and getting the job until a series of repairs or cutouts.
Point is, certification has parameters, and they are not readily understood by the common weldor. In reality, being a "certified weldor" doesn't mean much. Unless you want to start quoting the specifics, and then it goes from there.
Steve
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Boy, THAT'S the truth. I took a welding class and got three certs. I find that pretty scary - I couldn't weld my way out of a bag.
Peter
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snip

I understand job qualification testing and have bent and x-rayed my share of coupons.
My question is whether in the USA, is there no requirement for a basic 'Journeyman Qualification Certificate' for welders (which is NOT job or time limited)?
In most of Canada, most tradesmen (including but not limited to welders) are required to be (government Dept of Labor Standards) Certified Journeymen or Registered Apprentices before they are allowed to practice their trade. While pre-job testing is also a part of most serious welding work, a journeyman certificate is usually a prerequisite and is required for all basic work not requiring a pressure or pre-job test.
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No, there is no system here like the one you have. Welder (and other craft) qualifications are handled for the vast majortity of cases by the private sector.
JTMcC.
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Thanks JT, this explains my confusion.
In Canada there are some private sector certification agencies but they operate in addition to (and not as a substitute for) the primary government Trade Qualification (journeyman) Certifications which in all but one jurisdiction are REQUIRED and not optional. The private sector certificates tend to be expensive and narrowly recognized and few employees are willing to pay to obtain them. The level of enforcement of the requirement for certification does vary and there are gypos who do operate under the radar but most quality (decent pay) work requires certificates. Most Union agreements specify certification as the ONLY requirement to be paid the full journeyman pay rates.
The provinces have united and cooperated in the establishment of an interprovincial 'Red Seal' program which is a certification which is added to the certificates issued by the individual provinces and is recognized nation wide. Even in the province where certification is optional, most employers demand a Red Seal as a prerequisite to any additional requirements or job testing to specific codes or procedures. It is a real aid to worker mobility and a pretty good predictor of the level of training and experience that a worker possesses, YMMV. These certificates can be revoked for cause, but I have seldom heard of it actually happening, YMMV.
I am surprised that the USA does not have something similar.
As always, YMMV.
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Americans tend to look at government control a bit more sideways than the rest of the world. Everything, with only a very few exceptions, are run more smoothly, efficiently, cheaper, faster and better without bloated government beaurocracies (?) becoming involved. The safety record in the U.S. in boilers, pressure vessels, pressure piping and critical structural is pretty decent, the existing system has worked well for many, many years. Shortcomings, when they appear, are addressed pretty quickly. Welders in structural work generally test once for a particular process, position, material/material thickness, and maintain that qualification until they show a problem via either visual inspection or NDT. There are exceptions of course, some companies require even certified structural welders take THEIR test. In piping and boiler work the welders will generally test for every particular job. There are exceptions here as well, the Boilermakers Union has their Common Arc program to reduce testing some, and the Pipefitters Union has a number of U.A. certs that are accepted sometimes. Sometimes the U.A. papers are a requirement to test for the job.
regards, JTMcC.

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I know, I know, "We don't need no steeenking papers".
We are in agreement regarding just about all government involvement, but this system does seem to work pretty well (and at minimal cost) and is well coordinated with the trades schools and does provide consistency of quality control across wide areas of activity.
I agree that the safety record in both countries is pretty good and we all strive to make it even better. The codes we use are actual or similar codes to those used in the US. In general the areas of poor safety and performance quality seem to be in those industries not practicing good qualification and quality control. I suspect we both have our share of gypos who spend a lot of effort to stay under the radar.
IMHE, Pre-job testing is more common on sites that do not use x-ray for quality control. Jobs with on-site NDT tend to just have a good look at the first production welds and these are usually easy to test or repair prefab work.
similar regards,
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In the U.S. the welder will usually be tested at hiring, regardless of the level of inspection on production welds. In the pipeline field every welder will test on every job (with the exception of a welder having current papers with that particular gas company, papers are good for 6 months), field welds will typically be 100% X-ray, plus 100% visual and the pressure test of course. It's just the nature of the business. In plant work varies.
JTMcC.

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Yup. Welding test day at the yard was a near carnival for offshore pipeline jobs. Lots of scratch and sniff with guys you haven't seen for a while.
Boys who aced the test last time blow it this time. Some of the regulars just ho hummed and passed. Some newcomers got a break. Then time to go out and do the deed. Most of the guys made it from start to finish, old hands who knew what to expect in the lifestyle and who had been there before. A few washed out with too many repairs and cutouts. Some just got homesick and wanted to go home and see mama.
An old inspector and I got on pretty good terms, so I got to listen in and get the scoop. On all the jobs I was on, certs were never accepted, maybe looked at, but they had to have a coupon tested. The old inspector wasn't interested in anything but coupons, prepared properly. And x rays. On rigs, where welders were hired by and worked only for the oil companies, their cert policies were probably different, but for us, laying and jetting pipe, the men worked for the supply company, not the oil company.
That was the early seventies in the Gulf of Mexico oilfield pipeline work. On jobs where we were doing structural platform repair, or drilling setup, the standards were a little less, and they had their favorite welders and fitters. Those guys were hand picked for who could cut, fit, AND weld and not just stand at a station all day and do a root or a hot pass or a cover. Guys who were good at math and cutting pipe so it would branch and saddle. A lot of it was cut and fit, and not so much NDT or x ray, different from pipeline. Hooking up low pressure mud lines and tanks and welding down tugger dogs and long runs of plate wasn't nearly as critical as a high pressure natural gas line. Lots of guys who wouldn't miss an x ray couldn't cut a straight line or make a branch, and lots of the guys who liked cut and fit work didn't like standing in one place all day doing hot passes on a mechanized pipe roller system.
Ah, the good old days.
Steve
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It is a real aid to worker

That is a profound statement, and I don't think it would vary a lot. But, only in a country or jurisdiction where the certification/testing process is well governed. Or should I say scrutinized. As with all systems, there are ways to get around things. But it WOULD be nice to have a "standard" where the guy giving you his ID at least can be assumed to be trained and experienced. After that, probationary employee kicks in, and the employer will know within a few days if the guy can perform or not. Still, the "standard" would shorten the lines. I like it.
Steve
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