Home Improvement Contractor Job Description

A home improvement contractor oversees the residential construction site. Read more about the job description and requirements so you can discover whether this is the right career for you. Schools offering Home Remodeling & Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Home improvement contractors are generally responsible for all aspects of a home improvement project. Read below to learn more about the education, skills, and duties required for this job.

Typical Education Bachelor's degree
Recommended Field of Study Construction science, construction management
Key Skills Detail-oriented, dexterity, problem-solving, communication, customer service, physical strength, mathematical, leadership
License/Certification License or registration required by some states; certification available
Job Growth (2016-2026) 11% (Construction Managers)*
Median Salary (2019) $30 per hour**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); **PayScale.com

What Does a Home Improvement Contractor Do?

Home improvement contractors are involved with all phases of a home improvement project, including supervising other members of the team. They speak to clients and work with them to turn their ideas into a detailed plan. They create a budget and timeline for the work involved and help keep everything on schedule. Home improvement contractors ensure that the project meets all codes and regulations and obtain the proper building permits before beginning. They purchase the materials and equipment needed for the project and hire any subcontractors needed to perform the work.

What Are the Education Requirements?

A home improvement contractor typically has a bachelor's degree. While postsecondary degrees aren't always required, obtaining a degree may help with career advancement and develop business skills. Many employers increasingly prefer contractors with a bachelor's degree for complex projects. For smaller projects, an associate degree or extensive experience may suffice. There are degrees in construction management and building science available at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level. These programs generally include coursework in topics such as general construction, building codes, project management, design, and electrical wiring.

Do you Need a License?

Some states require that home improvement contractors have a license or registration. To obtain a license, contractors may need to pass one or several trade exams. Prospective contractors should check with their state's licensing or registration board to determine the exact requirements.

Is Certification Available?

Certification is not required but is available through organizations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). A certification can show homeowners that the contractor has a certain level of skill. NARI has several certification designations available, including Certified Remodeler, Master Certified Remodeler, or Certified Kitchen and Bath Remodeler. To obtain one of these designations, a home improvement contractor generally needs to have at least five years of experience and successfully pass an examination.

The Construction Management Association of America offers the Certified Construction Manager designation. To become certified, home improvement contractors must have at least 48 consecutive months of 'responsiblie-in-charge' experience and pass a technical examination. A degree in a related field may be used in place of the experience requirement.

What Skills Do You Need?

A home improvement contractor needs to be detail-oriented and have problem solving skills to develop improvement plans and solve any issues that may arise during the project. They need strong communication skills, so they can explain their plans to both the contracting team and their clients. They must have patience and be friendly when working with clients. Home improvement contractors need to have dexterity to handle different types of tools safely and the physical strength to carry heavy equipment. They must have the stamina needed to conduct physical labor for many hours. Home improvement contractors who are self-employed must also have strong business skills to run their own company and manage employees. Many home improvement contractors learn these skills while on the job or through an apprenticeship.

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