Requirements for Obtaining a Pyrotechnics License in California
There are different types of fireworks licenses in California. The process described below only applies to the California "Basic Commercial" Fireworks License.

mike tockstein fireworks operator

Requirements for Obtaining a Pyrotechnics License in California:

  • Obtain 5 written letters of recommendation from California Pyrotechnic Operators who have been licensed for a year or more.
  • Pass a thorough background check.

Once You Are Licensed:
Since the fireworks used in your displays need to make it from the fireworks plant to your show site, you need to also obtain a Class C Commercial Drivers License with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement. Here are the requirements for obtaining your Class C Commercial Drivers License with a Hazardous Materials Endorsement:

  • Study and know the California commercial driving laws.
  • You must receive a driver medical exam prior to and every two years thereafter in order to maintain your commercial drivers license.
  • Hazardous Material Endorsements require you to undergo a security threat assesment by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) before the DMV can issue them. This process includes a fee, finger printing, and another background check.

The Additional Responsibilities That Come with Being a Licensed Pyrotechnic Operator:
Once your licensed, your level of responsibility skyrockets. Here are some of the differences that set your responsibilities apart from that of the crew.

  • You are now solely responsible for the safety of your crew and audience.
  • You are now responsible for the successful execution of the fireworks display.
  • You are now responsible for finding a reliable fireworks crew to work for you.
  • Your day no longer begins and ends at the firing site. You now have to coordinate with the fire inspector, customer, show producer, audio technicians, and grounds keepers, weeks before your show. This often involves many phone calls, emails, and face to face meetings. You are also required to drive to the fireworks plant to pick your show up, and then once again at the end of the day to drop the equipment off.
  • Responsible for knowing the state and federal fireworks laws like the back of your hand.
  • Know and abide by all applicable commercial hazmat driving laws, including the proper use of explosive placards.


Apply here to become part of our professional fireworks crew!