6 Tips for Advancing Your Construction Career

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construction career ladder

Professional growth is a universal goal for anyone in the workforce, regardless of their field. However, the path to career advancement can look different in each industry.

In construction, there are unique challenges that come with climbing the “corporate ladder” that must be overcome. But what does climbing the ladder look like exactly?

Experience and education

While experience is a key factor for advancement in any profession, education always helps. Studies show that employees who hold advanced degrees statistically make more than those who don’t.

Project underwriters are incentivized to make sure that their teams are staffed with people who hold advanced degrees or certifications. The project underwriter guarantees funding for their construction projects, and in order to do this, they need to show that their teams consist of well-trained and knowledgeable employees who can carry out tasks with the maximum level of efficiency and professionalism. One easy metric that project underwriters can point to for this is which employees hold degrees or certifications in their field.

At the same time, our industry is moving towards a more environmentally, legally and technologically-savvy mindset, which means that a wider range of expertise is required. It’s no longer enough to simply know how to work the physical tools on a construction site, but the digital and administrative ones as well.

Employees also need to be prepared to discuss other more complex issues surrounding their projects, from building and environmental codes to financial goals. Here are some specific steps you can take to widen your skillset and climb the ladder in our industry.

How to advance your career in construction

1. Apprenticeships

Similar to interns and co-op students, construction apprentices shadow a supervisor and receive training on how to perform that person’s job duties by assisting them on daily tasks. The training supervisor will, in turn, review and critique the apprentice’s work.

Once the apprenticeship is successfully completed, the apprentice is then qualified to assume a supervisory position and take on more construction management responsibilities.

2. Community college

Many community colleges allow students to receive occupation-specific certifications and associates degrees (which usually involve two years of study). Additionally, this form of higher education represents a more affordable option for those who can’t spare the time or money for a bachelor degree.

3. Become a specialist

Generally speaking, the more specialized your role is, the more likely you are to reach a higher pay scale. Many companies even offer training and certification courses for skills like heavy equipment operating and other management-adjacent skill sets.

4. Take non-traditional classes

You don’t have to get a new degree to continue your education and develop your professional skills. There are plenty of non-traditional classes available for ambitious employees who want to advance their careers in construction.

From public speaking and writing to regulatory, health and safety, and environmental courses, the options are endless. Plus, if you decide to pursue a degree later, some of these courses can even be credited towards your degree.

5. Get a four year college degree

Pursuing a four-year degree is a reliable choice for climbing the ladder in any career. Whether you want to work a wider range of tasks while making more money or transition into a supervisory role, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is a good way to go.

There are plenty of options for you to choose from when it comes to a four-year degree, from business and analytical studies to science and engineering.

6. Learn how to use and implement digital tools

It’s no secret that digital technology is taking over every industry, and that includes construction. There are a wide range of tools available to construction supervisors that help make management for construction sites easier and more efficient.

For example, our app includes features such as messaging and daily reports that are highly sought after in the industry today. Knowing how to implement and use these tool can give you a competitive professional edge.

We also offer free construction webinars on our website that show you how to use these digital tools to improve your own worksite.