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General Contractor Course in North Carolina with School Info

Jul 23, 2019

There are about nine colleges and universities within North Carolina that have general contractor related programs. Read an overview of the eight largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

In North Carolina, aspiring contractors can commonly pursue associate degrees or undergraduate diplomas or certificates in building construction technology. Students may also be able to specialize in heating, ventilation and air conditioning, carpentry, engineering construction, construction computer-aided design, construction management or green architecture. Other programs are simply available as licensure exam preparation. Less commonly found are bachelor's degree programs.

Career Requirements

Also known as construction managers or project managers, general contractors oversee construction teams. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals interested in this profession usually pursue bachelor's degrees in such fields as construction management, engineering, construction science or architecture; although, individuals who have experience in the construction industry and who hold related associate degrees may be eligible for some general contractor positions.

Some states may require general contractors to be licensed, but licensing requirements vary from state to state. The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors requires that construction projects that cost more than $30,000 be managed by a licensed general contractor. In North Carolina, there are nine schools (including a private for-profit) that offer programs related to the general contractor career field, but the eight largest schools featured below are all public colleges and universities.


Appalachian State University

The building science bachelor's degree program at this school in Boone offers a concentration option in construction management. Students in this degree program will participate in hands-on learning projects. This degree program also promotes the teaching of environmentally friendly and sustainable building practices. Course topics may include surveying and foundations, building mechanical systems, construction estimating, residential architecture, commercial construction technology, architectural graphics, commercial building design, construction administration and computer modeling. This program also requires participation in an internship, which for most students will take place during the summer break before the start of each student's senior year.

Fayetteville Technical Community College

There are several programs related to the general contractor field at this school in Fayetteville, especially in such areas as building construction technology, architecture and carpentry. Students can enroll in an associate degree program in building construction technology and take classes in codes and inspection, green building and design concepts, carpentry, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) codes, project planning and blueprint reading. The architectural technology department has an associate degree program available, as well as a certificate program in green/sustainable architecture and construction computer-aided design (CAD). Individuals interested in carpentry can enroll in the carpentry/general contractor's license preparation certificate program. Course topics in this program discuss blueprint reading, residential building codes, construction safety, residential construction planning and residential cost estimating.

Guilford Technical Community College

The general contractor license preparation course offered at this Jamestown college meets once a week for approximately three months. Students receive training to take the North Carolina residential general contractor exam. Topics of discussion include building terminology, blueprint reading, building codes, safety and employment regulations.

Haywood Community College

Located in Clyde, this college offers several building construction technology programs, some of which focus on green building practices. Students can choose to pursue either a diploma or associate degree in building construction technology with a concentration in green building. Course topics in these programs include codes and inspection, green building and design concepts, soils and site works, CAD, blueprint reading, OSHA safety codes, construction fundamentals, masonry, project estimating, construction surveying and project planning. There are also two building construction technology certificate programs, one at the basic level and one at the intermediate level.

Isothermal Community College

At the campus in Spindale, students can pursue a certificate, diploma or associate degree in building construction technology. Common courses for all three programs include construction planning, blueprint reading, construction estimating, OSHA regulations, carpentry, small business management and residential building codes. The building construction technology department promotes learning through hands-on education, and every year students get to apply what they've learned as they participate in building an actual house. Students can also complete a general contractor licensure preparation certificate program by taking five classes, such as residential planning, introduction to carpentry and blueprint reading.

Pitt Community College

The construction and industrial technology division at this school in Winterville offers a diploma and associate degree program in building construction technology. As of 2013, there were four faculty members supporting these two programs. Full-time students can complete the degree program in as little as five semesters, and courses cover carpentry, blueprint reading, building codes, cabinetmaking, plumbing, OSHA safety codes, construction planning, construction surveying, construction estimating and basic wiring. Students interested in earning diplomas in carpentry will need to consult with the department chair for further information.

Sampson Community College

Students at this college in Clinton can pursue any of the four programs related to general contracting. There are two certificate programs available, one in carpentry and one for general contractor's license preparation. Those interested in building construction technology can enroll in the diploma or associate degree program. Classes in the building construction technology programs may include construction planning, blueprint reading, carpentry, construction estimating and residential building codes. Students in the associate degree or diploma program may take related electives, such as welding, plumbing, basic wiring, construction surveying or electricity.

South Piedmont Community College

The career development and continuing education division of this Polkton college offers a 33-hour contractor's licensing exam preparation course. The evening course is held twice a week for roughly one month. Students may need to purchase a calculator and three textbooks for the class.

Western Piedmont Community College

Located in Morganton, this college offers three certificate programs, one diploma program and one associate degree program related to general contracting. The certificate programs require students to complete 16-17 credit hours of study, and students can earn certificates in either HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration), construction carpentry or construction trades. Individuals interested in either the light construction diploma program or the building construction technology associate degree program must complete similar core classes, which include OSHA safety, construction estimating, blueprint reading, construction planning and general construction. Additional required courses in either of these two programs may discuss such topics as residential building codes, construction surveying, architectural graphics and plumbing.

Wilkes Community College

At the Wilkesboro campus of this college, there are five potential programs that may prepare students for becoming general contractors. Individuals looking for initial education and experience in the construction industry may consider one of two certificate programs in either carpentry or construction mechanical trades. There's also an associate degree program or a diploma program offered in the field of building construction technology, and course topics for these programs cover construction materials and methods, basic CAD, carpentry, blueprint reading and OSHA safety. Students who already have some construction experience, or those who want to become supervisors, may consider the construction management certificate program, which provides training in such areas as construction materials and methods, construction estimating, building codes and construction planning.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting General Contractor Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Appalachian State University 4-year, public; distant town Bachelor of Science in Building Science with a concentration in construction management In-State: $7,364*
Out-of-State: $22,171*
Fayetteville Technical Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Architectural Technology - Green/Sustainable Architecture Certificate,
Architectural Technology - Architectural Engineering Construction CAD Certificate,
Carpentry - General Contractor's License Preparation Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Building Construction Technology,
Associate in Applied Science in Architectural Technology
In-State: $2,544*
Out-of-State: $8,688*
Guilford Technical Community College 2-year, public; distant town General Contractor's Prep Course Program Tuition: $453**
Haywood Community College 2-year, public; midsize suburb Building Construction Technology - Basic Certificate,
Building Construction Technology - Intermediate Certificate,
Building Construction Technology Diploma with a concentration in green building,
Associate in Applied Science in Building Construction Technology with a concentration in green building
In-State: $2,580*
Out-of-State: $8,724*
Isothermal Community College 2-year, public; distant town Building Construction Technology Certificate,
General Contractor Licensing Preparation Certificate,
Building Construction Technology Diploma,
Associate of Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
In-State: $2,542*
Out-of-State: $8,686*
Pitt Community College 2-year, public; fringe rural Building Construction Technology Diploma,
Carpentry Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
In-State: $1,930*
Out-of-State: $6,538*
Sampson Community College 2-year, public; distant town Carpentry Certificate,
General Contractor's License Preparation Certificate,
Building Construction Technology Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
In-State: $2,783*
Out-of-State: $9,695*
South Piedmont Community College 2-year, public; distant rural Contractor's License Exam Prep Course $1,995 in-state
$6,603 out-of-state*
Western Piedmont Community College 2-year, public; small city Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) Certificate,
Construction Trades Certificate,
Construction Carpentry Certificate,
Light Construction Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
In-State: $2,577*
Out-of-State: $8,721*
Wilkes Community College 2-year, public college; fringe rural Construction Mechanical Trades Certificate,
Construction Management Certificate,
Carpentry Certificate,
Building Construction Technology Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
In-State: $2,572*
Out-of-State: $8,716*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, **Schools' websites

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