Looking to improve your skills as a contractor? Consider contractors continuing education.
Contractors continuing education opportunities are available for general contractors looking to meet state or local licensing requirements, or simply advance their expertise in certain areas. Some states require builders and remodelers to have a license, while other states leave it up to the jurisdiction of cities or counties. The licensing board may require the general contractor to take continuing education credits, referred to as mandatory continuing education (MCE), before renewing a license. According to the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, the purpose of MCE is to keep professionals in a dynamic industry up to date on current methods and products.
Many states leave regulation of general contractors up to local municipalities. For example, Colorado, North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin do not require general contractors to have a state license.
Some states that do require general contractors to have a license also require renewal every year or every few years, but do not require continuing education classes. For example, Alabama, Mississippi, Idaho and North Carolina require a license renewal each year by December 31, but do not require continuing education. The most stringent states require renewal and a certain number of hours of continuing education prior to renewing a general contractor license. Some of the states that require continuing education include:
Contractors can use the Construction Specifications Institute Construction Education Network to find licensing renewal information for a particular state.
Contractors should review the requirements of their licensing board for continuing education classes before enrolling in a particular class. The different types of classes that may count toward contractor continuing education include:
The AGC offers courses for CEUs and LU. Participants must attend 95 percent of the course and get at least 75 percent correct on an online evaluation at the conclusion of the class to receive credit (partial credit is not awarded).
States like Minnesota that require contractor continuing education often have a Web site listing available courses. For example, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry offers classes in many cities ranging from one to eight hours long. Some licensing boards may allow general contractors to take online continuing education classes to fulfill licensing requirements.
In most instances, it is the responsibility of the individual contractor to submit proof of completion of continuing education credits to receive proper recognition for the courses completed. This can be done by presenting a certificate or transcript showing the completion of approved continuing education courses. Additionally, some non-academic organizations approved to offer continuing education credits maintain a database of the sponsored courses completed by their members.