Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and Profiles » Construction & Skilled Trades

General Contractor Job Description, Career as a General Contractor, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

income construction contractors management programs

Education and Training: Varies—see profile

Salary: Median—$69,870 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

General contractors coordinate and supervise the work at construction sites from early development to final product. They own the contracting firms in charge of construction, or they may be salaried employees of property owners and developers. Sometimes they have different titles, such as construction managers or project engineers.

While some general contractors undertake many kinds of work, most of them specialize in one type and size of construction project. Residential contractors may oversee some commercial buildings, for instance, but they rarely take on large-scale public-works projects, such as bridges, sewage systems, and industrial sites.

Before contractors begin a project, they must submit a bid or price quote to the individual, company, or government agency that will pay for it. To make an accurate bid, contractors study the building plans and specifications while keeping in mind material, labor, and safety considerations. They may hire a cost estimator to do this job. The lowest bid is usually, but not always, accepted. Other factors, such as the quality of a contractor's past work, may be taken into account.

Construction projects are usually a series of tasks, each completed by a different subcontractor. The bulldozer operators clear and level the land, so the structural steelworkers or the carpenters can put up the skeleton of the building. General contractors hire or supervise the hiring of the subcontractors who do each of the many tasks. Contractors must communicate well because they need to motivate many different types of people.

Contractors either own or rent the equipment needed for the job. They contact companies that supply concrete, steel, electrical equipment, lumber, and other building materials to arrange shipments, and they get the necessary permits and licenses for construction and see that building codes and safety regulations are followed. At all steps in the construction, contractors track and control expenditures.

Depending on the job, contractors may have several people to help with management details. They may hire estimators to help prepare bids, expediters to oversee material shipments, various job supervisors, office staff, and others. However, contractors shoulder the full responsibility and risk involved.

Education and Training Requirements

The most successful contractors get a good education and plenty of experience in construction. Many earn bachelor's or master' degrees in construction science, construction management, or civil engineering. The colleges or universities that award these degrees offer such courses as site planning, design, construction methods, contract administration, business and financial management, and information technology. Graduates of four-year programs start out as assistants to schedulers or cost estimators. Graduates with master's degrees, especially those with experience in construction, typically become construction managers or contractors in very large construction companies.

Many contractors attend training programs sponsored by industry associations. Others develop their skills at two-year colleges with programs in construction science or construction technology.

Some contractors get their basic experience by working in the offices of established contractors. Others start as apprentices in one of the construction trades and work their way up. High school students who want to be contractors should take mathematics, science, business mathematics, drafting, plan reading, and English.

Some contractors complete certification programs to show they have the knowledge, abilities, and experience for the job. Both the American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America offer the voluntary certification programs. Applicants must meet the specific requirements of each organization and take written examinations.

Getting the Job

College, trade school, and technical school placement offices can provide job leads. Construction companies may need to hire assistants. They are listed in the Yellow Pages under the headings "Contractors—General" and "Contractors' Equipment and Supplies." State employment offices, newspaper classified ads, and the Internet are other sources of job information. Because experience in all parts of the industry is so important, any job in the industry can be a good first step toward a contracting career.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Employment of general contractors and other construction managers should increase about as fast as the average for all jobs through 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of jobs available will exceed the number of qualified candidates, especially in heavy construction. Many of the nation's aging bridges and highways need to be repaired or replaced. Other jobs will open up when contractors retire or leave the occupation.

More than half of all contractors run their own companies. Increased business depends on their knowledge, skill, and determination. Given the ups and downs of the economy, they have to stay flexible.

Working Conditions

Tension and pressure go with the job. Contractors usually work at dirty, noisy job sites, which can be anywhere from high-rise buildings to wilderness areas, and solve dozens of problems each day, often making decisions quickly. They may be on call twenty-four hours a day to deal with the effects of bad weather and emergencies at the job site.

Where to Go for More Information

American Council for Construction Education
1717 N. Loop 1604 E, Ste. 320
San Antonio, TX 78232
(210) 495-6161

American Institute of Constructors
PO Box 26334
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-4999

Associated General Contractors of America
2300 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 400
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 548-3118

Construction Management Association of America
7918 Jones Branch Dr., Ste. 540
McLean, VA 22102
(703) 356-6388

National Association of Women in Construction
327 S. Adams St.
Fort Worth, TX 76104-1002
(800) 552-3506

National Center for Construction Education and Research
PO Box 141104
Gainesville, FL 32614
(888) 622-3720

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings depend on the size of the firm and the number of projects the company undertakes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2004 the median income of construction managers was $69,870 per year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,120 per year. The highest 10 percent made more than $126,330 per year. Contractors who are salaried employees usually receive such benefits as health insurance and vacation pay. Those who are self-employed must provide their own benefits.

Getting Into Construction - PLANNING YOUR CAREER, EVALUATE SPECIFIC JOBS, FINDING JOB OPPORTUNITIES, MARKETING YOURSELF, PRESENTING YOURSELF INAN INTERVIEW [next] [back] Garage Door Mechanic Job Description, Career as a Garage Door Mechanic, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

almost 6 years ago

Who created this page?!

Vote down Vote up

almost 8 years ago

Mohammad Nuruzzaman Mia
Barah Street, Building No –8, Flat–401, Deira, UAE
Mobile : +971509258700
E-mail :

Proposal of position : Civil Engineer.

To be the part of a prospective company and use skills in a challenging environment for the growth of the company together with personal development.
Summary of Qualifications:
• Communication skill
• Eagerness to learn and apply new ideas
• Very good inter personal skills
• Enthusiastic, creative and willing to assume increased responsibility
• Strong consultative and presentation skills
• Ability to work under pressure
• Self motivated and hard working

PresentCompany : M/s Yousuf & Aman Contracting Co. LLC, Dubai, U.A.E
Duration : 1st Feb 2008 to till date.
Position : Senior Site Engineer

Duties & Responsibilities:

• Through supervision & Monitoring of Civil works.
• Study the drawings for calculating all type of quantities.
• Material requirement calculation for progress of work.
• Study the bill of quantities for monthly progress payment.
• Prepare Monthly progress payment to client.
• Prepare Interim payment for subcontractor.
• Reports to QA/QC Manager
• Coordinate site Management staff, various construction disciplines and subcontractors to ensure that all works is in accordance to quality requirements.
• Organize follow-up procedures and documentations for required witness inspection, hold point inspection, sampling and testing activities with the project consultant and ensure that approval has been obtained prior to actual work execution.
• Performs surveillance inspection for construction activities in progress, material deliveries at the site and prepare corresponding reports as required.
• Review of construction drawings, methodology of work and initiate preparation of Request for Inspection (RFI), Inspection request, Notification to proceed new item of work, confirmation of verbal instruction (CVI).

Employment Experience

SL Duration Designation Name of company Description of work
1. From
3rd Feb
2008 to Date =
3 Years
Site Engineer/
Project Engineer Yousuf & Aman Contracting Co. L.L.C
Dubai UAE.

Working for supervision / field implementation of construction LYNX(3B+G+11) Commercial & Residential Building at Dubai Silicon Oasis at a cost of AED 150 million.


15th May 2007 to 2nd Feb 2008 = 9 month Site
Engineer. Obayashi Corporation,
Jebel Ali branch.
Po. Box No. – 75518.
Dubai – U.A.E Palm jumeriah rail transit project.
Responsibility :
1) Supervise, monitoring R.C.C pile, Bridge & high way,
2) Making monthly, weekly,daily schedule of work.
3) Guideway beam production at precast concrete
3. From 1st October 1993 to 14th may 2007 =
13 years 7 month. Project Engineer. Amin mohammad foundation ltd.
764 Satmasjid road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka-Bangladesh.  Hotel westin (33 storied building project ) Dhaka Bangladesh.
 Apartment Project (Residential & commercial high rise building).
 Construction of Road, bridge & culvert RHD Bangladesh.
Responsibility: 1) Fully incharge of project.
2) Controlling contractors.
4. From 1st November
1990 to 30th October 1992 = 2 years.
Supervising Engineer. TSI & Chiyoda corporation (Japanese company) oint venture, 68 Arag chamber, Agrabad commercial area chittagong-Bangladesh.  Closely associated in karnafully fertilizer (KAFCO) and jetty work at Rangadia chittagong, Bangladesh.
 Supervising of
a) R.C.C bored pile, Sheet pile.
b) KAFCO factory & office building.
c) KAFCO housing (over all ).
 Control utility consumption.
 Ensuring timely delivery of materials.
 Staff attendance checked & control strictly
 Maintain safety at all stages in the project.
 Duty allocated to staff & ensure that individual job is achieved in every day.
5. 1st July 1988 to 30th October 1990.= 4 years 3 month. Site Engineer National development # engineers ltd. House # 36, Road #115. Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Construction of four storied office building, two storied school building & five storied staff quarter at bander chittagong, Bangladesh.
a) Make project master programme. Monthly, weekly & daily programme.
b) Forwarding labour bill.
c) Maintaining account & expenditure at project.
d) Checked architectural, structural drawings.
e) Preparation of additional cost of revised cost for project.
f) Make total estimate (material, labour, consultancy & equipment) cost.
g) Compression project cost (done) & estimate cost.
h) Trace & rectify interior job through supervision.
i) Prepare budget & material requisition.

Personal Details
1.Father’s Name : Md. Salauddin Mia
2.Date of Birth : 05th August 1966
3. Permanent Address : 225. west monipur, Mirpur, Dhaka-1216
4. Educational Qualification :
Name Of Exam Group Year Division/Class Board/University
S.S.C Science 1981 1st Division Comilla
H.S.C Science 1984 2nd Division Comilla
Diploma In Civil Engineering (3 years course) Civil 1988 2nd Division Dhaka

5. Computer Knowledge : i) MS-Word, Excel
ii) Auto Cad (2D, 3D)
iii) Primavera Knowledge
6.Nationality : Bangladeshi.
7.Particulars of Passport : A 0614368
8.Marital Status : Married (having two child).
9.Language Known : English, Urdho, Bengali & Hindi.
10.Religion : Islam (Sunni)
11.Height : 5'-4.5"
12.Experience : 21 Years Diversified Experience in the field of
Civil Engineering.

Mohammad. Nuruzzaman Mia

Vote down Vote up

almost 6 years ago


Vote down Vote up

almost 6 years ago


Vote down Vote up

almost 6 years ago

This page is really helpful!