Certifications for Aspiring Home Builders: Program Options

Home builders oversee the construction of residential properties. They can be certified in a variety of different specialties, including green building. Learning about certifications can help you realize your goal of building a home.

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Voluntary certifications for home builders are available at different levels and in different specialty areas, from the National Association of Home Builders and the American Institute of Constructors.

Certifications for Home Builders

A home builder may work as a construction foreman, project manager, construction supervisor or general contractor. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies these workers as construction managers. Certification for construction managers is not required, but highly recommended. There are several organizations that offer voluntary certifications to increase job opportunities and professional standing, including the National Association of Home Builders and the American Institute of Constructors.

National Association of Home Builders Certifications

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers a variety of designations that may enhance a home builder's marketability. To earn a designation, homebuilders must pass an examination, which covers topics related to business management, technical abilities, project management and customer service skills. The credentials offered by NAHB include:

  • Certified Graduate Builder (CGB)
  • Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR)
  • Graduate Master Builder (GMB)
  • Certified Graduate Associate (CGA)

The NAHB also offers certification programs for sales and marketing professionals. Additionally, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System certifications are also available.

LEED Certification

According to the NAHB, green and sustainable buildings used to be a niche of an elite market. Today, green building has become more mainstream. Green building methods consider the environmental impact that a building creates. When a green building is constructed, considerations are made with regards to energy efficiency, water usage and resource conservation. Lumber for construction is obtained from a sustainable source. Recycled and environmentally friendly materials are used whenever possible. Builders attempt to minimize the structure's environmental impact.

The Certified Green Professional designation is earned through a series of courses administered by the NAHB, which cover green building methods and sustainable business management techniques. Home builders with the LEED certification can complete an additional Master Certified Green Professional certification program to further enhance their skills.

American Institute of Constructors

The American Institute of Constructors offers two levels of certification for constructors who wish to demonstrate their skills and expertise in the field, as well as their dedication to professionalism and ethical standards. To earn either certification, constructors must pass an exam.

The Associate Constructor (AC) designation is available for individuals who have recently completed a four-year bachelor's degree in construction management, or who have four total years of combined educational and work experience. The exam consists of 300 multiple choice questions and covers topics such as:

  • Budgeting and cost control
  • Planning and scheduling
  • Construction materials and methods
  • Construction safety
  • Project administration

The Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) is available for experienced contract managers. To take the exam, constructors need to have worked for four years since earning the AC credential (with at least two in a management position). Alternatively, non-AC-holders can take the exam if they have eight years of combined work and educational experience (with at least two in a management position). In total, the exam consists of 175 multiple choice questions that cover subjects like:

  • Construction start-up and support
  • Construction resource management
  • Cost control
  • Project closeout
  • Ethics

Aspiring and experienced home builders who want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills can earn voluntary professional certifications by passing exams offered by professional organizations in the construction industry.

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