Contractors are individuals who work in construction, usually on renovations or remodels of currently existing houses and other buildings. They can also work on new constructions as well, and there are many different types of contractors. General contractors have some working knowledge of all areas of construction, but usually hire subcontractors who specialize in a particular area. They also work with architects, interior designers, and construction workers. Becoming a general contractor may take a lot of hard work, but it can be done in these three simple steps.
1. Graduate From High School Or Obtain Your G.E.D.
If you haven’t already done so, you need to complete high school or get a General Education Diploma. Most schools require one of these before you can enroll in their program. If you’re still in high school, take some construction classes as electives if your school offers them. You may even be able to dual enroll in both high school and vocational college to take construction courses at that level.
This is also a good time to decide what type of contractor you’d like to be. General contractors are the ones in charge and oversee all construction projects. You could also specialize in a specific area, such as carpentry, electrical work, heating and ventilation, and plumbing.
2. Enroll In School
Once you have a diploma, it’s time to enroll in school. You can enroll in a trade school or vocational school, or even a technical college— depending on what’s available to you. Most contracting/construction programs offer a two-year Associate degree, but you can also attend a four-year university and receive a Bachelor’s degree. If you’re wanting to start your own contracting company and/or are looking to make more money, you’ll probably need to pursue a Bachelor’s degree.
Sometimes formal schooling isn’t necessary, as you can find apprenticeships that will prepare you to become a general contractor. Contracting and other skilled trades jobs are very hands-on, so much of your educational experience will be in the field. Although general contractors oversee construction projects, they still need hands-on experience in construction.
3. Become Certified And Licensed To Work As A Contractor
Some states may require their contractors to become certified, while others may not. The same is true for licensure— so you may not need to become licensed or certified to do contracting work in some states, while in others, it can be illegal if you’re not. If you’re going to be working in different states, make sure you’re properly licensed to work in each state.
Contractors also have to get their license renewed, depending on if their state requires them to be licensed in the first place. Renewing your contracting license is just as important as becoming licensed, as it can affect your ability to work as a contractor.
Thinking Of Starting Your Own Contracting Business?
Most general contractors are already self-employed, but some have their own contracting business where they hire other employees. If this is something you want to do, make sure you gain as much experience as possible before starting your own business. Also, there’s a lot that goes into starting a business, so you’ll want to make sure that you have things like business licenses and permits, financing, business insurance, and a marketing plan in place.
General contractors have very good job security because there are always new homes, office buildings, and other types of buildings going up every day. Residential contractors are also very popular now, with people wanting to remodel their homes. Contractors are also paid very well. The lowest earners make around $26,000 per year, while the highest earners make close to $100,000 per year. Just keep in mind that salaries vary depending on your location and also by the amount of education and experience you have.
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