What is required to be a general contractor?

The work involving the construction or renovation of various kinds of buildings and infrastructures is organized by general contractors. They often act as an intermediary between the manufacturer or constructor and the subcontractors who carry out different work, including plumbing, carpentry and flooring work. Every country requires general contractor diploma or equivalent to a high school certificate and a license examination. Often relevant is practical experience in the industry. 


Educational Requirements for a Contractor’s License

Construction contractors are contracted for building works on different types of buildings and developments including homes, parks, office buildings, retail stores, government buildings, treatment plants and bridges for developers or property owners. Subcontractors are hired and supervised, materials are ordered, construction plans approved and deadlines are met.

For individuals who want to get a business licence, each State has the same basic requirements. The foregoing criteria include:

  • At least 18 years of age 
  • Possessing a high school diploma or equivalent
  • May legally work in the United States 
  • Getting a good building record or an accurate history of any work case

States may have specific contractor requirements, but all require an inspection by individuals. Many countries might also allow companies, by showing a utilities bill or lease, to provide evidence of liability insurance, a tax identification number and a business address verification. 

In order to become a licensed contractor, practical experience to building is very important. It can be achieved by working as an electrician, carpenter or plumber in various crafts. Project management expertise also improves. Since contractors recruit and review subcontrants and negotiate proposals with property owners and developers, contractors must be well-advanced with oral and written communication skills.

People pursuing advancement might want to take a bachelor’s degree in construction management into consideration. The BLS says that employers are more and more favored to obtain a baccalaureate in major studies such as building management, civil engineering, building or construction studies. The BLS noted that an associate degree and years of professional experience can be replaced with a bachelor degree.


 For building management there are over 100 colleges with a B.Sc. degree. Also available are master programs. These programs include:

  • Contract administration
  • Accounting
  • Business and financial management
  • Safety
  • State specific building codes and standards
  • Inspection procedures
  • Engineering and architectural sciences
  • Project control and development
  • Site planning
  • Design
  • Construction methods
  • Construction materials
  • Cost estimating

You need a high school diploma at least to become a general contractor, but you have an increasing need for an undergraduate degree or at least a degree, plus years of experience in the building industry. However, the most important requirement, regardless of education, is business experience.

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