Contractor license courses are usually part of certificate programs that include preparation for state contractor's license exams. Some contractors continue their education with classes that are part of associate or bachelor's degree programs in construction management, facilities management or a similar field.
Coursework typically covers the following concepts:
- Job site safety
- Building codes
- Building materials
- Tools and techniques
- Estimating job costs
- Basic business skills
List of Courses
Building and Construction Course
A general overview of the construction industry and building process is the focus of this first, generally required, course. Contractors gain a working knowledge of different building materials, their properties and pros and cons of their use. Corresponding construction methods for concrete, masonry, wood, metal, doors and windows are included. This course also includes state and federal regulations and building codes applicable to residential and commercial projects. Students also study industry trends like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and green building practices. This class is usually lecture- and lab-based.
Blueprint Reading for Contractors Course
In this course, a required element in contractor license classes, students learn to look at a blueprint and understand the meaning of the symbols, lines and abbreviations used. Students practice interpreting blueprints into building specs and learn the difference between conceptual and final blueprints, as well as electrical and mechanical blueprints. Students usually practice reading residential and commercial blueprints.
Estimates and Bids for Contractors Course
A course on estimates and bids is often found early on in a series of contractor license classes. The ability to make accurate estimates of materials, labor and time is important, and aspiring contractors learn to prepare and deliver estimates to customers. Students also learn how the bidding process works and to prepare bids for jobs. An overview of contracts is also included.
Construction Safety Course
Construction safety is typically a required course. This course offers an overview of general and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) health and safety standards as they relate to construction and contract work. These include the proper use of construction tools and heavy equipment, selection and use of personal safety equipment, incident and accident reporting and hazardous materials handling. Most contractor classes also cover the obligations of the contractor as an employer.
Business Skills for Contractors Course
As many contractors may be self-employed, a contractor's class in business is often required. Students typically enroll in it after most core and required classes are taken. Students develop marketing, human resources, business finance and accounting skills. They practice scheduling jobs in terms of staff, projects and materials. They also learn state and local laws relevant to small businesses.