5 Tips to Climb the Ladder in a Construction Career

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construction career ladder

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There's always room for improvement, and most of us would like to improve our lot in life, especially in our jobs. There's certainly potential for advancement in many jobs in the construction industry, though these "upward bounds" don't come without some effort from those seeking advancement. So what techniques do experts recommend for those hoping to rise in their careers within the construction industry? The secret can be summed up in one word: education.

While there's no beating the benefits brought to any job from practical experience, there's no getting around the fact that the better educated one is, the better jobs and higher associated salaries one can command. In the case of the construction industry, a big factor behind the increased need for certain level employees to have certificates and degrees is project underwriters. These folks who provide the money to make work happen want the assurances that project supervisory staff are dedicated, well trained, and disciplined, attributes that are assumed by holding various kinds of degrees or certifications. Also, our industry is becoming not only more and more computer but environmentally and legally savvy. Employers are looking for employees who not only know their way around a hammer, but software and informational meetings. So it's in the best interest of many construction employees to continue their educations. But what are their options?

1. Apprenticeships

Similar to the functions of an intern or co-op student, a construction apprentice shadows a supervisor, being trained how to do that person's job by assisting him or her. The training supervisor routinely reviews and critiques the apprentice's work, and if the apprenticeship is successfully completed, the apprentice is qualified to assume a supervisory position.

2. Community College

Many of these institutions now offer construction industry courses, allowing students to receive certificates or associates degrees (usually involving two years of study). In addition to rewards that can be reaped in employment by pursuing such studies, a drive to reduce costs for this type of education is gaining momentum in Washington, D.C..

3. Become A Specialist

As any medical student would tell you, the money's in specializing in one area, and this certainly applies to the construction industry as well as medicine. It is possible to receive industry sponsored training and certification in heavy equipment operating as well as other construction management career enhancing specialties.

4. Take Non-Traditional Classes

Public speaking, writing, regulatory, health and safety, and environmental classes can provide knowledge and skills that can come in handy on construction sites. Don't forget too, that individual courses can be credited to degree work, and many of these topics are now mandatory for earning a construction management degree.

5. Four Year College Degree

Tired of operating that jackhammer all day? Want to experience a variety of work assignments while making more money? In addition to classwork to prepare for project site supervision, degree options include business and analytical studies. Not only will such a degree enable you to make more money, it will allow you to climb the construction career ladder and allow you to trade in your tool belt for an office,  extending your industry career by many decades.

climbing the ladder in construction