Info on Becoming an Installation Contractor

Learn how to become an installation contractor. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in installation contracting. View article »

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Video Transcript

What Are Installation Contractors?

Installation contractors are similar to construction managers in that they hire skilled professionals and trade laborers for the construction of various systems and buildings. They often work in offices but also spend a great deal of time at the construction sites. In order to meet construction deadlines, these professionals might sometimes have to work long hours in order to ensure that their subcontractors finish tasks on time.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth for construction managers is expected to increase about 16% between 2012 and 2022, which is above average when compared to all other occupations.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree preferred
Degree Fields Construction management or a related field
Licensure and Certification Some states, counties, and cities require licensing; professional certifications are available
Experience Extensive experience in a construction field is generally required
Key Skills Customer service, communication, problem-solving, management, and decision-making skills; able to use project management software, Microsoft Office, and data management software
Salary $97,510 (2015 average for all construction managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online, State of Oregon website

Installation contractors typically have bachelor's degrees in construction management or related fields. They are expected to have customer service, communication, problem-solving, management and decision-making skills. They must be able to use project management software, Microsoft Office and data management software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for construction managers, which include installation contractors, was $97,510 in 2015.

Be an Installation Contractor

What steps do I need to take to be an installation contractor?

Step 1: Earn a Relevant Construction Degree

While no educational standards exist for installation contractors, employers may prefer those with limited experience to obtain some formal instruction. Courses in associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs teach foundational and advanced topics in scheduling, legal regulations, budgeting and project management, as well as basic principles of construction trades, such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical vocations. An emphasis is placed on organization and management, and students may select a concentration area in residential, commercial or infrastructure contracting.

Step 2: Gain Work Experience

Most employers and customers expect installation contractors to have significant experience in a relevant field or construction trade. Several organizations, agencies, schools and companies offer work opportunities for prospective contractors in the form of apprenticeships and employer training programs. Apprenticeships focus on working under a skilled craftsman to learn a trade or skill, may include some classroom instruction and usually last 2 to 5 years.

Step 3: Obtain Licensure or Certification

Some states, counties and cities regulate licensure for installation contractors that perform various services, such as appliance and mechanical installation or building and renovation. Applicants may be required to show proof of competence through testing or certification and may need to complete continuing education to renew a license. Some states include limitations of certain licensing that restricts the work that can be performed and the location of the contracting services.

Step 4: Become Bonded and Insured

Installation contractors often hire subcontractors and construction trade workers to complete a job or task. Many employers and government agencies require a contractor to show proof of insurance covering workers, equipment and sites before work of any kind begins. Additionally, the responsibility of ensuring that all subcontractors and employees maintain their own insurance falls on the general contractor.

Like insurance, obtaining a performance bond limits an installation contractor's liability for a worker's failure to execute a job correctly or completely. In some instances, such as federal construction projects, bonding may be required.

Step 5: Consider Earning Voluntary Professional Certification

Voluntary professional certification, such as the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential available from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), can provide installation contractors and construction managers with additional opportunities. Earning these credentials demonstrates a contractor's knowledge and ability, since the certification process typically involves having a certain amount of work experience and passing an exam. Also available are the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) and the Associate Constructor (AC) credentials from the American Institute of Constructors (AIC).

Installation contractors hire skilled professionals and trade laborers for the construction of various systems and buildings. They have college degrees, along with skills in communication, problem solving and management and they earn an average annual salary of $97,510.

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