Steps to Become a General Contractor

A general contractor is an individual who is usually self-employed and manages construction projects meticulously while maintaining a contract with developers. If you wish to make it a career, you will be required to select construction methods, choose materials needed, take care of budgeting and scheduling. Hiring of employees and subcontractors will also be in your hands. All states in the USA require a license to to work though there are no standard educational requirements. You would preferably need to have a good mix of formal education and also some hands-on construction experience.

Step 1: Fetch a bachelor’s degree
If you are looking for good career opportunities, you should study to get a bachelor’s degree either in civil engineering, building science, construction technology or construction management. A developer would prefer to hire a general contractor who holds a bachelor’s degree. These degree programs would include several courses like math, contract management, cost estimation, construction safety, construction methods and contract management. Thus, acquiring a degree would also help in your preparation for certification exams. You will get to learn hiring and scheduling. Budgeting and other skills needed for construction projects will also be some things that you will learn.

Step 2: Gain hands-on experience
You are likely to begin as a regular construction worker. So, while you are at it, you will get to learn about many different facets of construction. In a while you will know enough about masonry, carpentry, framing and plumbing which will help you later. You may then contact other subcontractors and acquire the management skills that you would need to run your own business.

Step 3: Get a license
Requirements for getting a license vary from state to state, though every state will conduct an exam for a general contractor to obtain a license. Some states may not look at your bachelor’s degree. Some other states may want you to prove that you have enough finances to own a general contracting firm. A few states may even ask you for your experience in the construction industry which you have to prove with referrals from previous employees or customers. Most states have made it mandatory that the applicants pass a written test on topics related to contracting and construction law.