The construction industry is a growing field. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts expect construction projects to surge and the construction industry to rebound. In fact, 68 percent of construction executives characterize the outlook for their industry as positive. If you enjoy building things, perhaps a degree or certification in construction technology is for you.
There are many types of construction jobs — and the trades and crafts are the heart of the construction industry, as most construction jobs are trade jobs. Tradespeople relevant to the construction industry include electricians, plumbers, HVAC specialists, carpenters, finishers, and painters.
However, trades are not the only construction careers available, as project managers, safety specialists, and administrative support are essential for any construction project. Additionally, construction managers work with many different tradespeople to ensure project completion.
There is also a range of construction safety jobs, like job site inspectors and building safety specialists who make sure the job site — and the final building — is safe. Many construction sites require an administrative staff to order building supplies and provide customer and accounting services.
How do you get a construction job?
This guide will introduce you to four popular career paths, highlighting the most essential skills for technicians. The need for skilled technicians in these areas is high, and more employers will be looking for these skillsets over the next decade.
There are more than 7 million carpenters currently employed in the United States, and these numbers are projected to hold steady in the coming years. This consistent demand for skilled carpenters is the result of increased construction projects as pandemic restrictions ease up.
Most carpenters need a combination of formal education and on-the-job experience. In the past, many carpenters learned through apprenticeships after completing high school. Now, many industry experts recommend some formal training. Carpenters with a diploma in construction technology tend to earn a higher wage than other carpenters.
At Vista College, these courses are taught through our Construction Technology Diploma Program. Look for a certificate program taught by professionals. These instructors usually have extensive practical experience and excellent technical skills.
There are many types of carpenters, but in every role, it is important to learn and adapt quickly. Since construction projects can change rapidly, being adaptable will help you to become successful. Excellent math skills are essential because much of the job involves measurements.
Carpenters also need practical knowledge of tools and building materials. You may work with a variety of saws, grinders, and drills. You will also need to have a working knowledge of first aid and safety practices.
Carpenters with knowledge of green building techniques are in high demand. These carpenters have specialized knowledge of sustainability, green building codes, and building materials.
Most carpenters have a high school diploma or equivalent when they start working. They gain the skills needed through a combination of on-the-job training and formal education. Certificates in construction technology are a good choice for most new carpenters. You will learn how to read and understand blueprints and building codes. You will also learn about building materials, first aid, and job safety. Additionally, you will get hands-on experience with a variety of construction techniques.
Many people begin as general carpenters. These carpenters work in many roles and gain experience roughing out, drywalling, and tiling. You might work on residential projects like houses or larger apartment buildings. As a carpenter, you will perfect many different construction skills.
Some carpenters specialize in a craft like bricklaying or finish carpentry. These carpenters often have advanced skills and education in one area. They usually contract with larger construction companies.
Carpentry can also lead to a career in construction management. Most construction managers have practical experience in carpentry first. If you go this route, your understanding of building techniques will help you plan and oversee projects.
2. HVAC Technician
Like other construction work, jobs for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technicians are growing rapidly. Right now, there are about 376,800 HVAC technician jobs in the United States. Over the next decade, jobs for HVAC technicians will grow by approximately 13 percent, which is on pace with average job growth.
HVAC jobs are quite technical. Specialists have to understand welding, soldering, and piping. They need to have a good working knowledge of vents and ducts. Finally, HVAC technicians should understand a variety of refrigeration, heating, and air conditioning systems. For a list of technical HVAC skills, consult the HVAC Technician Program information from Vista College.
Since HVAC technicians must diagnose and fix problems on the job, good problem-solving skills are essential. These technicians should have good spatial reasoning and an aptitude for mechanical work. Working knowledge of mathematics is essential — HVAC technicians need to understand air pressure, flow, and system capacities.
HVAC technicians with electronic skills are highly valuable professionals. Construction companies contract these HVAC technicians to install building automation systems. These networked HVAC systems are needed more than ever, but few technicians have the training to install them. If you have experience with electronics, this is a growing niche.
If you plan to run your own business, you should also have business experience or education. These business skills include marketing and communicating with customers. Successful HVAC business owners will also have a strong grasp of project management so that they can juggle multiple clients and complete projects on time.
Our Associate of Applied Science in Trades Management — HVAC Program is an excellent choice for those who want to start their own business. This program combines business education with HVAC technician training, offering classes in business operations and project management.
HVAC technicians have many paths available to them. They may be hired by a specific company to perform maintenance for their equipment, or work for an installation and service company with a number of clients. Project managers and contractors with HVAC experience are in high demand. Many HVAC technicians go on to set up their own businesses doing HVAC service, repair, and installation.
HVAC technicians usually have a combination of education and practical experience. Most HVAC technicians have a high school diploma and a technical diploma, certificate, or associate degree. Earning an HVAC diploma usually takes about a year.
You can gain practical experience in entry-level roles or through a formal apprenticeship. Many new HVAC technicians work as an assistant to experienced technicians while gaining on the job knowledge. As an assistant, you are likely to assist in installing heaters and air conditioners. You might also inspect and repair HVAC systems.
More experienced HVAC technicians may start their own company or work for larger construction companies. They are likely to manage HVAC and construction projects. In these roles, you could be responsible for overseeing projects and other HVAC specialists.
Because HVAC technology is changing so rapidly, new career paths are emerging every day. These include specialists in building automation, networking, and performance testing. HVAC technicians with sustainability experience are likely to be in particularly high demand as energy auditors, green building consultants, and green technology specialists.
The demand for electricians is rising quickly. Right now, there are about 739,000 electricians working in the United States. With a low unemployment rate of around 2 percent, jobs will likely always be available in this industry.
As with other trades, electricians need excellent technical skills. They install and repair wiring, so they need to understand circuits and fuse boxes. Our Electrical Technician Diploma offers a hands-on approach that teaches students to install fuse boxes and connect circuits.
Electricians also need good reading and writing skills to understand blueprints and building codes. They also use math to make sure circuits are loaded properly. Successful electricians have excellent troubleshooting skills to diagnose and solve wiring problems on the job.
Electricians who run their own business also need a solid grasp of business operations. These skills include project management, which will help you manage many projects at the same time.
A good understanding of construction technology is also recommended. Electricians often work with construction companies to install wiring in new houses or apartments. Understanding the construction process is essential when you are working on new construction. Construction technology includes knowledge of building materials and building codes.
Electricians gain their skills through a combination of education and on-the-job training. You should have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Most electricians go on to get a diploma or certificate as an electrical technician. Choose a career training school that focuses on practical skills. These certificate courses are shorter than a four-year degree and are typically taught by professionals in the field. In such a course, you will get hands-on experience and guidance from practicing electricians.
As a new electrician, you will assist an experienced electrician. New electricians help to set up wiring and circuits. They usually work as an assistant electrician for three to five years.
Some people choose a formal apprenticeship instead of working as an assistant. Apprenticeships are paid positions where new electricians learn on the job.
Experienced electricians sometimes become licensed as master electricians. They often work on their own or for larger companies. They install wiring for new projects. These electricians usually manage several projects at the same time. Some electricians become construction managers, where they oversee construction projects.
4. Construction Manager
As long as there are new construction projects, there will be a need for construction managers. There are approximately 400,000 construction manager jobs today. In the next decade, jobs will grow by 16 percent, which is faster than the general economy. Construction managers have one of the highest salaries within the building trades. The median annual wage is $82,790.
Construction managers are called construction project managers. As you might guess by the alternate name, you will need excellent project management skills to succeed in this role. Courses in project management can help new construction managers master these skills.
Construction managers also need excellent time management skills. They are responsible for managing many projects at once. In this career, you will need to solve problems quickly and work well with clients. As a construction manager, your job description will include subcontracting tasks and negotiating deadlines.
Most construction managers enjoy working with people. Construction managers are in constant contact with clients, vendors, and subcontractors. A person with great customer service skills often excels as a construction manager.
Construction managers also need a good understanding of construction technology and safety. They need to be able to read and understand blueprints and building codes. Most construction managers also have practical experience in the building industry.
Many construction managers begin by working in the construction trades. Good working knowledge of construction technology is essential for a good construction manager. Construction managers may start as general carpenters, or in a specialty trade.
Many people who want to become a construction manager pursue a certificate or a diploma. Although it is possible to become a construction manager with no formal education, this route is less common. A certificate in construction management should teach business skills as well as construction technology. The Construction Management courses offered by Vista College include business operations and project management.
Many new construction managers get their first jobs as an assistant project manager. These roles are often found in large construction companies. As an assistant project manager, you will help to coordinate employees and projects. Many people work as an assistant project manager for three to five years.
Many construction project managers will become a construction manager once they gain enough experience. As a construction manager, you will be responsible for planning and overseeing entire projects.
5. Industrial Maintenance Technician
Another excellent field for job stability is industrial maintenance. As an industrial maintenance technician, numerous other jobs within building complexes and along assembly lines depend on you to continue operating properly. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of industrial maintenance technicians in the U.S. and the field is projected to grow by 13 percent over the next decade — far above the average pace.
Industrial maintenance technicians work with a range of factory equipment and other industrial machinery, which means you will need to be well versed in an array of technical skills. You must be familiar with industrial machinery, such as air conditioning and plumbing, and how to install, maintain, and repair this equipment. This job also requires being able to read blueprints, dismantle equipment, and perform basic craft skills.
In addition, qualified industrial maintenance technicians need the transferrable skills of being problem solvers and knowledgeable enough to maintain and fix a wide variety of mechanical systems. An industrial maintenance technician will be expected to manage a facility’s systems starting on the first day of a new job.
To handle such diverse responsibilities, you must have superb organizational, communication, and time-management skills. As an industrial maintenance technician, you must be able to schedule repair work and troubleshoot unanticipated mechanical issues. Being comfortable with information technology will also help you keep up with logging and reporting repair work.
An industrial maintenance technician needs a high school diploma and typically at least one year of on-the-job training. Some industrial maintenance technicians may also participate in apprenticeship programs that can last for years. You can acquire the skills you need to be successful in this field by completing the Industrial Maintenance Technician Program with us.
At Vista College, you will get hands-on experience in our workshop accompanied by instruction and mentorship from real professionals. You will also receive personalized career services to connect you with opportunities. By the time you receive your Diploma, you will be equipped to pursue various industrial maintenance jobs.
Many industrial maintenance technicians begin their careers as maintenance mechanics, calibration technicians, or facilities maintenance coordinators. However, a diploma in industrial maintenance work offers the versatility to perform many jobs within industries like aviation, electronics, food, energy, construction, and manufacturing.
More experienced industrial maintenance technicians will maintain larger mechanical systems within factories and larger building facilities, such as hospitals and apartments.
Start the Path to Your New Construction Career at Vista College
The demand for people in the construction industry is likely to remain high for years to come. After all, construction is at the backbone of our economy.
If you are interested in pursuing one of the growing careers in construction, view the numerous Trade Programs at Vista College. We offer a large selection of hands-on construction courses and convenient scheduling to help you launch your new career. Our courses are taught by seasoned professionals who are more than willing to share their wisdom and connect you with potential opportunities after graduation.
When you are ready to take the next step, contact Vista College to find out more about a certificate in these construction trades.