Architects must first obtain a minimum of (8) years experience graduating an accredited School Of Architecture, such as Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, along with practical full-time work with licensed Architects. This is the minimum requirement in the State Of California to even be eligible to apply for the (42) hour State Board Exams and then upon successful completion, become a licensed Architect.
Other States such as Hawaii, Idaho and Texas have varying tenure requirements. Most States though, also require Architect’s to participate in yearly continuing education courses, which adds greatly to the value of your home design and renovations.
A General Contractor (as I recall from 29 years ago anyway), must have completed (4) years of full time work with another G.C. and then be eligible for a one day exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, Surety Bonding and Workers Compensation requirements need to be met.
Also, the General Contractor’s license number is an authentication of how long he has been practicing, regardless of ‘words’. For instance in California, a G.C. license that starts with a ‘9’ indicates licensure for less than three years or so. On the other hand, a G.C. who’s license number starts with a ‘4’ has been licensed over (26) years. The lower the starting number the more experience you will benefit from.