What does a general contractor do?
General contractors are involved in coordinating the building of residential, commercial, industrial, and other buildings such as houses, roads, schools, hospitals, and industrial structures. They take complete responsibility for overseeing the complete project as agreed in a building contract. They plan and coordinate all of the design and building activities and are responsible for choosing, hiring, and supervising workers. They also choose the best technique to transport materials to the construction site and develop the most cost efficient plan and schedule for completing the project on time and within the designated budget. General contractors often subcontract majority of the work of projects to heavy construction contractors and specialists. They often specialize in either residential or commercial building, but can provide services to both types of construction.
What kind of training does a general contractor need?
Most general contractors have at least a bachelor degree in construction management, construction science, civil engineering, building science, or other related field. General contractors must also have practical construction experience and many gain experience through apprenticeships, internships, cooperative education programs, or other jobs in the construction industry.
Most states require general contractors to be licensed and licensing requirements vary by each state. Many general contractors obtain voluntary certification to remain competitive in the field. Certifications can be gained from the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors. The requirements for certifications include written examinations and minimal education and work experience.
What are the prospects for a career as a general contractor?
Employment of general contractors is projected to increase faster than average for all professions, increasing 16% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Population growth and the increased level of construction activities will drive Job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be excellent because the number of job vacancies will exceed the number of qualified applicants who wish to enter the profession. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace general contractors who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do general contractors make?
As of October 2009, individuals with the general contractor certification earned average annual salaries between $56,311 and $108,494 depending on position and field (2).
A career as a general contractor is an excellent choice for individuals who are interested in working in fast-paced construction environments. General contractors must be flexible and work well under pressure to meet deadlines. They must be decisive, be able to coordinate multiple tasks at once, and effectively resolve specific issues. Excellent communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills are also essential qualities of general contractors.