Construction: Schools and Careers Goods and services provided by professionals in the construction industry are incredibly vast and diverse. Goods include office buildings, schools, hospitals, apartment and condominium buildings, houses, bridges, and roads. Services range from site preparation and inspection to building new structures and additions. Because of the many jobs that the field of construction encompasses, the career outlook for construction careers remains relatively bright. Specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment opportunities for all construction trade workers will increase by as much as 22 percent from 2012 to 2022.
The construction industry is segmented into three major areas:
Construction of Buildings: Mainly includes general contractors who are responsible for the coordination and complete construction of industrial, commercial, residential, and other buildings (except for items excluded from a general contract).
Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction Contractors: Individuals in this segment build roadways, highways, tunnels, bridges, sewers, and more.
Specialty Trade Contractors: Individuals in this segment specialize in areas related to construction projects (e.g., electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, painting, flooring).
Some of the most common traits required for all careers in the construction industry include:
Some of the most popular careers in this field are as follows:
Top Careers in Construction (BLS, 2013)
|Career||Number of Workers Nationally in 2013||Job Description||Degree Requirements|
|Carpenters||580,570||Carpenters measure, cut, and shape wood in order to build frameworks for buildings. They also use wood and other materials to create interior products for homes and buildings, such as staircases, wooden railings, wood trim, and moldings.||According to the BLS, some carpenters learn the skills on the job and others complete an apprenticeship.|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||351,380||Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install pipes in a way that meets local and state building codes. They also replace worn parts and troubleshoot problems that arise within simple and complex plumbing systems.||Some plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their skills on the job. However, many learn their trade by completing a program at a trade or technical school.|
|Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons||69,150||These professionals use their expertise with bricks, blocks, and stone to build foundations and create attractive features on buildings and homes. They work with various tools and materials and typically follow blueprints or plans in order to present the desired outcome for each job.||According to the BLS, many professionals in this field complete a 1-2 year program at a trade or technical school.|
|Construction Managers||213,720||Construction managers prepare estimates and budgets for a variety of construction jobs and projects. They supervise workers and ensure that all work is being completed to code.||The BLS notes that most employers prefer to hire construction managers who have a Bachelor's degree and experience in a construction or building-related field.|
|Boilermakers||15,950||These workers build and install boilers and other containers that hold liquids and gases. They may also use welding equipment to replace broken parts or valves associated these vessels.||Boilermakers usually need a high school diploma and some experience with welding equipment to get started.|
Construction Career Education
Many construction careers begin with on-the-job training or an apprenticeship, but others get started with postsecondary education at a trade or technical school. The following table uses BLS data to outline the different degree and certificate options in this field and what kind of career they may help you qualify for:
|Education Type||Timeline for Completion||Possible Careers|
|Certificate or Apprenticeship||Although timelines vary considerably depending on the program you choose, many certificate programs can be completed in one year or less. Meanwhile, apprenticeships can last anywhere from 1-5 years.||Carpenters, Construction and Building Inspectors, Construction Equipment Operators, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, Boilermakers, Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons, Cement Masons and Terrazzo Workers, Construction Laborers and Helpers, Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers, Glaziers, Hazardous Materials Removal Workers, Insulation Workers, Painters, Construction and Maintenance, Roofers, Sheet Metal Workers, Structural Iron and Steel Workers|
|Associate||Associate degrees can typically be completed with two years of full-time study. However, programs completed on a part-time basis may take longer.||Supervisors Of Construction and Extraction Workers, Structural Iron and Steel Workers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters|
|Bachelor's||Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.||Construction Manager|
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Carpenters,http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/carpenters.htm
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Steonemasons, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/brickmasons-blockmasons-and-stonemasons.htm
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Construction Managers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm#tab-1
"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Boilermakers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/boilermakers.htm
Schools for Construction are listed in the column to the left.
This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.
Click each Occupation title for more details.
|Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons||22,970|
|Cement Masons and Terrazzo Workers||163,360|
|Construction and Building Inspectors||91,480|
|Construction Equipment Operators||355,140|
|Construction Laborers and Helpers||887,580|
|Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers||88,490|
|Hazardous Materials Removal Workers||42,560|
|Painters, Construction and Maintenance||213,330|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||391,680|
|Sheet Metal Workers||135,570|
|Structural Iron and Steel Workers||64,280|
|Supervisors Of Construction and Extraction Workers||517,560|
|Tile and Marble Setters||34,940|
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Get Info links.