If you’re a creative person, you may want to put that creativity to work by becoming a contractor. Contractors use their skills to complete design or building projects for clients who hire them. Contractors can work by themselves or as part of a team. Here are some of the most popular types of contractors, what they typically do, and the training they would normally have:

Starting at the Top

Starting at the Top

A local roofing contractor is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the roof of a home or business building. These professionals can work on completing an entire roof for new home construction, repair an existing roof, and provide roof inspections. Roof inspections are typically done annually to let the homeowner know what repair or replacement the roof may need. Roof contractors are also responsible for working on gutters as well as overseeing work on the home’s insulation, siding, and windows.

Contractor training to for roofing begins with learning the trade. Vocational high schools or trade schools often provide courses that teach basic skills needed to do this job. Work experience typically begins at the entry level, as an apprentice. Apprentices work under the supervision of more experienced roofers and begin with prep and clean-up skills while watching the experienced roofers, as they work.

Each state has different requirements for licensure of roofers, so check with your state to learn their specific requirements. To become a contractor, a person would ideally be unafraid of working in high places. Being a roofer is physically demanding and requires a tolerance to working outdoors. Although you typically won’t need to lift heavy objects, the job requires repetitive lifting, reaching, and squatting motions.

Paving the Way

Home and business owners will hire asphalt contractors to create an asphalt driveway or pathway. A contractor working with asphalt can create and pave full driveways and repair broken ones. Asphalt is a paving material made from a mixture of stone, gravel, sand, and bitumen. Installing a driveway requires several steps, which begin with demolishing the area where the new driveway will be placed.

Work as an asphalt contractor takes place outdoors and involves bending and reaching. Asphalt has a strong, penetrating smell, which may not be well-tolerated by some people. Projects often last several hours, which requires endurance. An asphalt contractor may be asked to drive a paving vehicle.

Training to become an asphalt contractor typically begins at a technical or trade school. Although owners of asphalt companies may often have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, this is not a requirement in all states. According to Bennett Paving, workers begin as apprentices and typically remain at that working status for three to four years. All states mandate a license for anyone who works as an asphalt contractor, although license requirements will vary.

Turning on the Light

Turning on the Light

One of the essential systems of a home is the electrical system. Electrical services are provided for homes and businesses by local electrician services, including installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical wiring. If a homeowner decides to switch to a “smart home,” an electrician can assist in that conversion. In addition to their regular services, electricians are also responsible for an annual electrical inspection, which can detect any problems with the electrical system and alert homeowners or business managers to any future maintenance projects that may be needed.

To become an electrician, you must be 18 years old and be in good physical condition. Contractor training for an electrician begins at a technical training school or with an apprenticeship. According to Intercoast College, an apprentice must combine their on-the-job training with three to four years of classes.

To work as an electrician, you must take an examination and become licensed by the state where you will work. To qualify for the exam, you must have documentation of working for the required number of hours. You can work toward that number of hours with a “T” card. Once you are licensed, you can work on your own or with a group of other contractors.

Keeping Homes Comfortable

HVAC contractors are professionals responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining home and business heating and cooling systems. These systems include a furnace or heater and the air conditioning unit of the home or business. Homes that have been converted to “smart homes” will need the assistance of HVAC contractors. HVAC technicians perform essential functions of caring for the HVAC appliances and system while the HVAC contractors oversee them.

Contractor training for HVAC workers begins with a high school diploma. After high school, you would attend a training or technical school with a training program for HVAC systems. The schools instruct you on how to operate HVAC equipment and how to install and troubleshoot problems with that equipment. Contractors must also learn to read blueprints to find the best place to put the appliances.

After your training course, you must work as an apprentice before you are permitted to get a contractor’s license. Some people prefer to begin working as apprentices while they are still taking classes. When your apprenticeship is finished, you can take an exam to be certified by the EPA. The certification will allow you to work until you can pass the test to get your state license.

Directing the Flow

Directing the Flow

Plumbers are responsible for the flow of water, gas, and wastewater in a home or business. These professionals sometimes work alone but more frequently work as part of a plumbing company. They are responsible for sinks, drains, stoves, showers, septic tanks, and toilets. These systems are vital to the health of the family since clean water and waste disposal are necessary.

Contractor training for a plumber echoes the training of many other contractors. The first step is to graduate from high school and to keep from being arrested for DUIs. You must be bonded, so you can’t be convicted of drug possession or felonies. The training for plumbers is typically offered at technical colleges or trade schools, and its length varies by state.

Plumbing contractors sometimes offer apprenticeships while someone is enrolled in classes. An experienced and licensed plumber must supervise an apprentice while they are working. After you pass your state’s plumbing test, you can work as a journeyman plumber. Your state will determine how long you need to work as a journeyman before applying to be a master plumber.

Creating a Splash

Many families or recreational facilities will want a swimming pool installed and need to contact swimming pool contractors. These professionals have a complex job, which can include demolition and construction. Swimming pools can be installed either above the ground or below the ground, depending on the property owner’s preferences. These professionals will often also be responsible for creating – or arranging for the creation – of the patio areas around the pool.

To clarify, a swimming pool installer will place above-ground pools on a client’s property, while contractors are the ones that install in-ground pools. Contractor training, certification, or licensing for swimming pool installers and contractors will vary widely by state. Training for installers is often easier to find since installing an above-ground pool is a less complex process and can easily be demonstrated. States will frequently require a certification for in-ground pools gained through a college or industry-sponsored course.

Designing a Landscape

Designing a Landscape

While many contractors concentrate on homes and office buildings, some experts bring their talents to make artistic creations from nature. When a landscaping company is hired, they are responsible for working with plants, flowers, trees, and other natural features. If their job takes place during new construction, they will have to plant the natural features. In addition to arranging a beautiful landscape, they are often tasked with hardscaping and creating non-natural structures like pagodas, paths, decks, or rock walls.

Contractor training for landscapers can occur on several levels. While lawn care workers or general laborers can be part of a landscaping crew and often do so with only on-the-job training, landscaping contractors typically require a state license. After getting your high school diploma, you would begin your quest to be a landscaping expert by looking for a company willing to train you. Colleges in agricultural areas may have horticulture, botany, or agriculture courses.

Some states have specific requirements for licensing of landscaping contractors. In addition to licensing, some landscape workers get certified in specialties, such as grounds technicians, lawn care, and golf course irrigation. Some subjects you’ll need to learn include how to use landscape machinery, such as excavators and other demolition vehicles, and irrigation systems. The climate where you will live and work will dictate which plants you must be well-versed in.

Building a Barrier

After working so hard to beautify a home’s landscape, the next step may be to build a fence. Contacting local fence companies is the typical way to get a fence built safely and efficiently. A fencing contractor will help the property owner choose their materials and will help install, repair, and maintain the finished fence. Since fences can be made of wood, vinyl, metal, or stone, these professionals need to learn many different types of skills.

Contractor training for fence installers is typically provided on the job. According to ZipRecruiter, vocational school wood shop courses give the edge to people who want to learn fence installation skills. Enterprising workers may be able to find some fence supply companies that give certifications to workers who specialize in putting up their brand of fences. DIY shops may collaborate with area fence installers and give those companies a locally derived unofficial certificate of excellence.

According to the American Fence Association, those who want a nationally recognized fence certification can earn a CFC (Certified Fence Contractor) designation by taking a test that proves their mastery in fence construction. To qualify to test to earn this honor, you would need a bachelor’s degree and at least ten years’ experience. Anyone not meeting the qualifications could take a course offered at the American Fence Association Fence Contractor’s School.

Home Construction Teams

When a new home is being built, there are some contracting firms that will work together to produce the finished products. These home builders may primarily include carpenters but may also include other contractors. The teams could include plumbers, HVAC workers, electrical contractors, roofing workers, and other contractors, although some teams prefer to subcontract these functions.

Although a home builder requires a high school diploma, contractor training for home construction workers sometimes begins at a vocational high school, which will combine building school training with a diploma. Some contractors prefer to pursue a bachelor’s or an associate degree in engineering, construction management or architecture, although it is not necessary for those wanting to begin work as an apprentice. Licensure requirements vary by state. States offer certification to construction workers from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to those who want to take a supervisory role on the construction team, as well as a LEED Green certificate for those wanting to specialize in sustainable home construction.

Providing a Foundation

A home or office needs a floor to protect the foundation of the home. Homeowners and business managers may prefer one type of material, but flooring can be done with vinyl, concrete, wood, stone, and composite materials. Flooring contractors will typically work indoors and spend most of their time on their knees, because of the need to place the flooring materials.

Contractor training for a flooring contractor begins with an apprenticeship with workers who are already skilled in the tasks required for floor installation. A high school diploma is required, and those who want to pursue a college degree will typically study construction management or repair technology. Workers can begin as apprentices while they pursue their degrees, and they can then apply for state licensure.

Your creative talents are in need by those who need new homes or offices and to those who need assistance to maintain their buildings and property. If you find yourself gifted in one of these trades, you can make a living by completing the training and licensure required by your state. If you need help finding training programs or licensure requirements, contact one of the local contractors that provide the type of services you want to perform. Best wishes to you in your future career!

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