An independent contractor is a person who works under the terms of a contract that may be written, verbal or implied. Their position is in direct contrast to an employee even though employees sometimes work according to an employment contract. Employees may be subjected to an annual performance review. However, most employees work without a contract, and their employment continues seamlessly from one employment period to another without having to be renewed unless they quit or their employment is terminated for due cause.
Independent Contractor Status
An independent contractor, on the other hand, is not an employee of the company and does not enjoy employment on a continual basis. They are self-employed and work under the terms of a contract that typically contains a discrete termination date or a specific length of time from when it is executed. Once their contract reaches full term, their employment ends, and a new contract or a modification of the existing contract is required to extend their employment. It should also be noted that independent contractors typically do not receive employee benefits.
Certificates Needed to Be an Independent Contractor
Some independent contractors own their own business and do not need a certificate to work for anyone else. However, they may need to be certified by a state agency or an independent organization in order to perform certain services. They may also be required to obtain a business license. Typical occupations filled by independent contractors include accountants, IT professionals, veterinarians, public stenographers, electrical contractors, plumbing contractors and truck drivers. The certificate needed to be an independent contractor will be different for each of those occupations.
Accounting Independent Contractor
An accounting independent contractor provides accounting services to individuals and businesses on a freelance basis. Their services might include tax preparation, financial audits and corporation balance sheets. To be able to offer a full range of accounting services, a person would need to obtain an accounting degree and become certified as a CPA. Accountants who only offer a subset of services, though, may only need an associate degree. Some schools also offer a certificate program in accounting that prepares students for such careers as tax preparer or budget analyst.
IT Independent Contractor
IT professionals may need different certificates depending on what services they would like to provide. A person wanting to go into the cybersecurity field might need an Associate of Science Degree in Information Technology or an Advanced Cybersecurity Certificate. Microsoft also offers a number of certificates, including the following:
• Developer – designs and maintains cloud solutions
• Administrator – implements and maintains various IT solutions
• Data Engineer – designs and manages all aspects of data services
• Data Scientist – applies machine learning to solve business problems
• AI Engineer – uses artificial intelligence to implement IT solutions
• DevOps Engineer – develops solutions that meet business objectives
• Security Engineer – protects data from security breaches
• Functional Consultant – provides Microsoft Dynamics 365 expertise to customers
Veterinarian Independent Contractor
To become a veterinarian independent contractor, a person needs a full understanding of animal anatomy. They also need a good foundation in basic biology. Since most animals cannot speak intelligibly, a veterinarian also needs to become an expert at recognizing animal behavior. To develop those skills, most veterinarians will need to earn their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree. Some of the subjects typically covered by that degree include gross anatomy, animal health and disease, pharmacology, radiology and veterinary psychology.
Public Stenographer Independent Contractor
The duties of a public stenographer include transcribing live events in order to make a written record of those events. They may work in a courtroom, record events from podcasts and live talk shows or assist insurance companies in taking statements. Many public stenographers work as independent contractors. Most states require public stenographers to earn a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certificate before practicing their trade. Once a public stenographer has earned their RPR certificate, they are eligible to pursue other certificates, including the following:
• Registered Merit Reporter (RMR)
• Certified Electronic Court Reporter (CER)
• Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR)
• Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR)
Electrical Independent Contractor
Depending on their skill level, an electrician may be classified as a journeyman electrician, master electrician or independent electrical contractor. Other designations that are used include residential electrician, commercial electrician and industrial electrician. To become certified as an electrical independent contractor, a person will ordinarily have to complete an apprenticeship program and pass a test that shows familiarity with the National Electric Code. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers several certificate programs, including the following:
• Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional
• Certified Electrical Safety Technician
• Certified Electrical Safety Worker
• Certified Emergency Power Systems Specialist for Facility Managers
• Certified Emergency Power Systems Specialist for Health Care Facility Managers
Plumbing Independent Contractor
Although the duties of a plumber may be less hazardous than those of an electrician, there are many safety issues to be addressed. Those issues involve public safety as well as the safety of the plumber. For instance, plumbers are often required to work on natural gas lines that can be explosive if not handled properly. Incorrect plumbing can cause sewer gases to leak into a building, which can present health issues and even be fatal in certain cases. Because of that, many states require plumbers to be certified in certain areas similar to the following:
• Residential Plumber
• Residential Service Plumber
• Pump, Irrigation and Domestic Well Plumber
• Backflow Plumber
• Journey Level Plumber
• Medical Gas Piping Installer
Truck Driver Independent Contractor
Most truck drivers will need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive a truck or bus or to pull a large trailer. CDLs are rated by class, such as A, B or C. Those designations apply to the size of the vehicle being driven plus the amount of weight being towed. They also apply to the number of passengers allowed on a bus and the hauling of hazardous materials. Most states have truck driving schools that will teach a student how to drive a large truck in order to obtain a CDL license.