How to Become an Independent Contractor

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


Independent contracting is an essential part of today’s constantly changing society. Independent contractors are individuals, businesses, or corporations that provide services under specific terms of a contract or agreement.

What does an independent contractor do?

Independent contractors (often abbreviated IC) are individuals who are hired to complete a particular job and are typically compensated on a freelance basis. They often work through a limited company or are self-employed and own their own business. Independent contractors work in a variety of fields such as accounting, construction, and engineering. They often work for many different clients and take on a variety of projects that require special expertise. They complete the work according to their own techniques and often use their own supplies and materials. Independent contractors must pay their own taxes, health insurance, unemployment taxes, Social Security, workers’ compensation, and other benefits. They often market themselves in creative ways and spend a lot of time negotiating contracts.

What kind of training does an independent contractor need?

Independent contractors usually need at least a bachelor degree in business management, construction, accounting or other related area that pertains to their field of expertise. Most independent contractors also complete apprenticeships or internships in their field of interest to gain hands-on practical experience. Some independent contractors who specialize in particular industries acquire specific trade skills to become competitive in their field. Independent contractors must also stay current on advancements and often complete continuing education.

Independent contractors must be licensed in some states and fields. Licensing requirements vary greatly but typically require minimum education and experience and passing a written and practical state examination.

What are the prospects for a career as an independent contractor?

Employment of independent contractors is expected to increase faster than average for all professions, increasing 16% through 2016 (1). Population growth and the increased demand for specialty expertise in a variety of different fields will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for independent contractors with extensive education and experience. Job openings will also stem from the need to replace independent contractors who retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do independent contractors make?

As of this year, independent contractors earned an average annual salary of $80,000; average annual salaries vary greatly on location, field, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as an independent contractor is an excellent choice for individuals who desire to work on their own terms and conditions and not be bound to one particular employer. Independent contractors must have a strong business sense and be able to effectively handle all the aspects of being self-employed from paying taxes to negotiating contracts. Determination, perseverance, excellent communication and interpersonal skills are all essential qualities of independent contractors. They must be able to establish good working relationships with a variety of different businesses and companies to remain competitive in the field and gain more prospective clients.

Becoming an Independent Contractor Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Independent Contractor? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Course Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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