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Certificates, Licenses, and Business: Construction and Other Skilled Trades
Blog / Marketing / Jun 22, 2021 / Posted by Sales POP Guest Post / 1301

Certificates, Licenses, and Business: Construction and Other Skilled Trades



Are you looking to become a licensed contractor or a certified contractor? Is there a difference between being licensed and being certified? Is it better to have a license or a certification? Can you and should you have both? If your answer to the first question is yes, then keep reading.

Before we answer the other questions, let’s look into the definitions of license and certificate. According to, a license is “formal permission from a constituted authority to carry on some business or profession”, while a certificate is defined as “a document serving as evidence of status, qualifications, privileges, or truth”.

So the answer to the second question is yes, there is a difference. A license means that you are legally allowed to perform certain duties, while certification means that you have successfully completed specialized training and education in a field of work.

Certification and How It Works

Having a certification in a particular field is essentially proof of the knowledge, skill sets, and even experience you have pertaining to that field. Certificates are usually earned through some type of educational institution, whether a school or other professional organizations, and there are three types of certification.

Types of Certifications

  • Profession-Wide is the most general and broadest type. Once you become certified in a specific profession, you hold that certification across that entire profession.
  • Product-Specific means just that. You’re certified to use a specific product, usually a type of software, as this is more prevalent in the IT (Information Technology) field.
  • Corporate is the simplest type of certification. It’s common for sales personnel to receive certification after a short training course, but that certification cannot be transferred to another company.

Licensure and How It Works

Depending on your specific field of work, some states may not require a license, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t at least consider getting licensed. Holding a license can lead to higher-paying jobs, bring in more customers, meet legal requirements, and even protect your business. If you’re planning on going into business for yourself, you should definitely get a license.

Licensing requirements depend on the state you reside in, but most states require education, training, and passing an exam. Once you’ve passed your exam, you may have to pay a fee to apply for your license. You may also need to get contractor’s insurance like general liability and workers’ compensation— especially if you’re starting your own business.

Types of Contractor’s Licenses

If you’re looking to become a licensed general contractor, but are also skilled in other types of work, you can get a second license in that line of work. Examples include:

  • Roofing
  • Fencing
  • Masonry
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

License Renewal

Pretty much all licenses expire at some point, and this is another thing that varies across states. Most license renewals in the skilled trades only require you to complete a short course only a few hours long. Again, each state is different so be sure to check your specific state’s requirements.


By now, you know that there is a difference between a license and certification when pursuing a career as a contractor, so here are the answers to the final two questions. Depending on the specific type of work you’re doing and what state you’re working in, it is better to have a license.

If you’re in business for yourself, it is especially important to have a business license and a license in your line of work. When you’re licensed, it’s safe to say that you’re also certified, since a certification proves you have the knowledge and skills to perform a certain job. Certifications and licensure usually come after passing the exam, so make sure you know for certain that you are licensed if that is required of you.

Finally, be aware of the fact that you may need a second license to perform certain tasks, and remember to renew each license you hold before they expire.

About Author

These are Sales POP! guest blog posts that we thought might be interesting and insightful for our readers. Please email with any questions.


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