The construction industry tends to be one of the more reliable career choices, although economic downturns affect construction jobs, such as new housing developments and commercial building projects, as much as any other consumer-driven industry. The fact is that new homes will continue to be in demand and businesses will still need new facilities for expansion. Career objectives in the construction industry are still a logical goal to achieve.
Entry-Level Career Objectives
Those considering a career in the construction industry often enter an apprenticeship program, although it is just as feasible to start a career as a laborer to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Apprenticeship programs also provide on-the-job training as well as classroom instruction in general construction theory and practice. High school students can prepare for a program by talking to teachers and counselors to select the best courses. Mathematics, basic science and reading skills are the most relevant studies to pursue for any construction trade. Once the program is completed, the apprentice will have a good head start on the construction career he has chosen. General laborers start off by doing menial tasks, but a lot can be learned by watching experienced tradesmen practicing their craft. A dedication to the work and a willingness to learn produce as much practical experience as an apprenticeship, and these efforts are noticed and rewarded when openings arise on a construction crew.
Skill and Certification Objectives
Trade unions are beneficial to the construction industry for the categorization of skill levels that are achievable. Journeyman and Master licenses are similar to post-graduate degrees from a university, in that they represent the length of time a person has invested in her trade and the knowledge she have attained. These are valuable career objectives in the construction industry, and certification can only be obtained by practical experience and passing an examination after taking the required classes. These credentials will allow the craftsman to increase her earning potential and qualify for more prestigious positions with contracting companies that handle large commercial projects for private interests as well as for various government programs. The Department of Defense (DoD) is historically a major employer of skilled construction workers. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created over 5,000 construction-related projects requiring skill levels of all kinds, and DoD contracts are the most reliable career opportunities available in any economic climate.
Management and Supervision
Construction managers, supervisors, superintendents and foremen are the executive branch in the construction industry. They are responsible for hiring crews, scheduling timetables, conducting safety training, setting budgets and documenting and reporting on all phases of a construction project. They must also oversee regulatory requirements, such as obtaining permits, checking licenses and adhering to OSHA rules for workplace safety. Managers and supervisors often work directly with designers, engineers and architects during the bidding and planning stages, and must be knowledgeable and highly experienced to be able to handle all of these responsibilities. These aspects, along with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, construction science or business management, are generally required for a supervisory or management position, and a master’s degree in finance or business administration is also a positive career objective in the construction industry. Average annual salaries for managers in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, were over $79,000 and projected job numbers between 2008 and 2018 are expected to grow from 551,000 to 645,000.
- Photo Credit construction site image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com
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