9 Tips For Jumpstarting Your Construction Career

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jul 4, 2018

Jul 4, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

If you're ready to consider a construction career, then you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of opportunity. Certain careers, including elevator installers, are expected to see a 12% growth through 2026. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Ironworkers are looking at a 13% jump.

If you have a passion for creation, the construction industry isn't just a sound choice, it's a wise choice. Allow us to pull out our hammer and chisel and break it all down for you. Here are some of the best tips for starting a new job in the construction industry.

1. Niche Down

A career in construction is a fabulous way to go, given the endless avenues you can explore. In a recent survey, U.S. News delegated the title of "Best Construction Jobs" to:

  • Plumber
  • Construction Manager
  • Electrician
  • Solar Photovoltaic Installer
  • Carpenter
  • Construction Worker
  • Painter
  • Glazier
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Brickmason and Blockmason

2. Consider Your Education

Depending on which avenue you'd like to pursue, you may need to consider your education. To start out as, say, a laborer, you'll be all set with a high school diploma. It'll also be helpful if you have a proficiency in Math.

Equipped with those two elements, you'll be set to take on an apprenticeship of sorts and learn on the job. Certainly, trade school is still an option, so don't rule that out if you feel you want to learn even more.

In the end, to move up the ranks into a managerial role, a bachelor's degree won't hurt a thing. You could consider degrees in construction engineering, construction science, or building science as various opportunities to get a leg up on the crowd.

3. Seek Out an Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is, arguably, the best way. What's better than on-the-job training for a career where you'll be using your hands? Oh, and how about getting paid while you learn?

This experience will set you up to ace the certification exam, upon the completion of your apprenticeship. After that, you know what happens next! More opportunities and higher paychecks come knocking on your door.

4. Stay Open to Certifications and Courses

Depending on your avenue, certifications and courses may or may not be required. Don't let that stop you from pursuing new titles to add to your resume.

Now, if you're looking to enter a more technical (and higher-paying) field and become an electrician or a plumber, training won't be optional. You'll need to take the required coursework and pass the required exams.

5. Remain Patient

Whether you're starting out as a laborer or advancing through the ranks to construction manager, patience is key. Even after all your certs and courses, the on-the-job learning will never end.

As you learn a trade, know that it takes time. You won't wake up tomorrow morning and know how to rewire a circuit board without a little time, patience, and finesse.

The same goes for building and construction. The real pros in the business never stop learning and understand that learning is a process, one that requires time.

6. Remain Passionate

Here's the thing. Thirty to forty years is a long time. Gravitate toward the niche that you're really going to enjoy.

If you enjoy carpentry and fine craftsmanship, then maybe you want to consider a career as a cabinet maker. If you enjoy data collection and mobile technology, then maybe you want to consider a career in construction data systems.

Don't become a plumber because it pays well. Don't hone in on the elevator constructors' union because it pays well.

Do the thing you're least likely to wake up and drag your feet to in the morning.

7. Know Nothing's Permanent

One thing remains true, in every field. Knowledge is power. Let's say you begin down the pathway to a career in general contracting. That's great. You're going to become a jack of all trades.

But, if you notice yourself being continually drawn to the work of the solar photovoltaic installer, then take notice of that. What would be the harm in pursuing classes at night? Would there be anything wrong with tucking another certification under your belt and opening up another door?

No, indeed. Just because you start down one avenue, doesn't mean you can't keep learning for the rest of your career.

8. Stay Educated

Stay educated in your current role and know your people. Try to learn a little bit about everything. Your friends are going to span entire industries within the world of construction.

And, again, you never know what's going to tickle your fancy down the line. Here's a sampling of some of the titles your buddies could be boasting (titles you may want to consider someday):

  • Carpenter
  • Framer
  • Estimator
  • Flooring Installer
  • HVAC Technician
  • Kitchen DEsigner
  • Landscaper
  • Mason
  • Pipelayer
  • Roofer
  • Safety Manager
  • Welder

9. Always Stay Humble and Kind

Construction work usually comes with a slew of demands and deadlines. With that, you're going to have to work as a team on nearly every assignment. In the words of Tim McGraw, "Always stay humble and kind." Truth be told, everyone out on that job site is just trying to earn a living and get the job done.

Work as a team member at every stage of the game. Pick up the slack where you can and learn something new -- every day. While the opportunities to find work in this field abound, so do the people who want those jobs.

Be humble. Be kind. Go home at the end of the day knowing you gave it your all.

Choose a Construction Career Today

There's no doubt you've chosen a smart field with endless opportunity. If you walk into your construction career with an open mind that's eager and ready to learn, you've already set yourself up for massive success.

In the meantime, we hope you'll continue to come on over and visit our blog. The world is your oyster and we'll help you crack it open to find your pearl.