By now you’ve probably noticed that most of our blogs have focused on construction developments in New Jersey, industry forecasts and insurance policies that range from workers compensation to general liability). And that’s great, if you have established yourself as a general contractor. If not, then our blogs may have helped you avoid potential missteps in your future but, as far as your present is concerned, they were likely lacking the information you may have desired. That’s why this week we’ve decided to focus on getting back to basis because maybe you have some interest in becoming a general contractor, you just don’t know how to get there. Listed below are a few necessary steps you can take that will help you become a General Contractor.
Before we get to the necessary steps you’re going to have to make a choice between two separate paths. One involves going to college and earning a bachelors degree while the other would allow you to bypass the college route. Let’s get started.
(1) Go to College and Earn a Bachelors Degree Or Start Construction Immediately?
Going to college can be a huge stepping-stone for you if you’re thinking about any career path, let alone becoming a General Contractor. But, it’s also a major investment and some of you may be wondering why you need to go to college if you can build your skillset through experience rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars per year for textbooks. It’s possible but consider this first. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that those General Contractors with a 4-year degree have a greater chance of being hired than those without. Degrees typically feature courses in business management, structural engineering, building codes and construction methods.
If you decide to start construction immediately you’re going to be putting yourself at a slight disadvantage compared to the rest of your competition. That does not mean you cannot succeed without going to college. It just means you’re going to have to work that much harder to get up to speed and if you’re dedicated enough there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to achieve your dream of becoming a General Contractor. Still, be on the lookout for internships, apprenticeships and field jobs that will help you gain experience that will make you attractive to potential employers.
(2) Get Certified!
Congratulations! You have now completed either your four-year college education or five-year apprenticeship. Now you’re ready to take a major step towards your goal by getting certified. The only problem (or maybe advantage) is there is a bunch of different ways to obtain your license. It just depends on what organization you decide to be certified by. As far as organizations go there is the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and American Institute of Construction (AIC). Check out their webpages to find which option is best for you (although if you have limited education we would recommend that you check out the AIC’s website).
(3) Time to get licensed
You’re educated, you’re certified and now you’re at the final, and perhaps, most important step. Becoming a licensed contractor is largely dependent on the state you’ve decided to operate in as each state has their own set of rules and regulations (additional regulations may be added by counties and cities). Some states require that you pass a licensing exam, others will only accept you if you’re operating above a stated cost threshold. It can be a long and complicated process but one that will reward you in the end.