Becoming a Professional Contractor: A Guide for High School Seniors

Professional Contractor

Beginning a career as a professional contractor can be a fulfilling adventure, offering the freedom to shape your own business and the pride of creating lasting infrastructure. It requires practical skills, technical knowledge, and business acumen. In this article, we will explore the steps and considerations necessary for young aspirants to enter the world of professional contracting successfully.

The Path to Professional Contracting: Is It for You?

The journey to becoming a contractor starts with sincere self-assessment. It would help if you had an aptitude for problem-solving, a keen eye for detail, and an appreciation for hard work. It’s more than just building; it’s about creating lasting legacies with infrastructure.

A career in contracting also demands adaptability. With advances in technology and changes in building codes, continuous learning is part of the trade. Additionally, you may often face varying work schedules, including early mornings, late evenings, and weekend hours.

The work is physically demanding often requiring work outdoors in all kinds of weather. Understand the industry’s demands and rewards before fully committing to this career path.

Educational Foundations

If you are a high school senior setting your sights on a career in contracting, technical education programs available in high schools or local vocational centers can offer practical experience and a glimpse into the construction trade.

Meanwhile, computer classes, including those covering computer-aided design (CAD) software prepare students for the digital tools commonly used in construction today. Knowing how to use field service management software will help you save time in managing your projects and finances.

Beyond the classes, you should seek opportunities that improve your soft skills. This will cultivate the interpersonal skills necessary to lead a crew or interact with clients and offer the best customer service.

If you are planning for further education, you should start exploring financial aid options early on. Exploring scholarships for high school seniors can alleviate the financial burden of post-secondary training or college degrees.

Vocational Training vs. Formal Education

Upon graduating high school, you will face a critical decision: whether to pursue vocational training or a formal college education. Vocational schools offer programs that are more specialized and hands-on, focusing on the skills directly relevant to contracting work.

Alternatively, formal education through a degree in construction management, engineering, or architecture can open doors to high-level positions and broader career options.

Gain Real-World Experience


Classroom knowledge and hands-on skills are important, but real-world experience is invaluable. You can either get an apprenticeship or internship, whichever is suitable for you in the contracting field to apply your learning in practical settings.

The exposure to project management and understanding of business operations can be significant advantages when starting a career in contracting.

In terms of professional growth, apprenticeships and internships are fertile grounds for cultivating a professional network. Mentors and colleagues met during these experiences can become valuable connections for future job opportunities or collaborations.

Licensing and Certification


While education and experience form the foundation of a career in contracting, you need to get a contractor license that certifies your capability to undertake construction projects legally. Requirements for licensing can vary significantly from state to state, usually involving a combination of education, experience, and successful completion of exams.

Various certifications showcase expertise in specialized areas of construction, such as electrical, plumbing, or green building practices. Obtaining certifications demonstrates your dedication to your craft and professionalism to potential clients. Staying informed and compliant with the evolving licensing requirements and industry standards is essential for contractors.

As a whole, a structured approach with proper education, hands-on training, and an understanding of regulatory requirements lays the groundwork for a prosperous career in contracting.