Building a Career in Construction: What Steps to Take

A career in the construction industry is highly profitable and could provide a great deal of opportunity for individuals looking to make a good living. With an ever-increasing demand for new construction projects, those employed in this sector will likely continue to experience job stability with healthy wages and benefits.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2.5 million people were employed in the construction industry as of 2020, accounting for almost 7% of total employment in the United States. The median annual pay for construction workers was $44,800 compared to just over $40,000 across all occupations combined. Furthermore, many employers offer additional benefits such as health insurance and 401(k) retirement plans, which can further increase an individual’s total income when included in their compensation package.

However, career development will be necessary to ensure the successful advancement of a career in construction. Here are some steps to take when building a career in this field.

Obtain Education and Certification

Getting certification for construction

Education and certification play a crucial role in building a successful career in the construction industry. A wide range of certifications is available, from safety courses to specialized programs focusing on specific areas, such as structural engineering or HVAC. Many employers look for these qualifications when hiring, as they demonstrate that the applicant has the required knowledge and skills for the job.

In addition to certifications, having a solid educational foundation is also beneficial when looking to move up in the construction industry. Those with higher levels of education have better job opportunities and can command higher salaries than those with less formal education. College degrees or diplomas in civil engineering, architecture, or construction management can be beneficial in advancing within the sector.

There are plenty of certifications you can get to work in the construction industry, including:

OSHA 10 and 30-hour certifications

These certifications demonstrate knowledge of workplace safety and health.

NCCER Core Construction

This generally accepted entry-level certification for the construction industry covers essential skills like carpentry, electrical wiring, and plumbing.

Basic Blueprint Reading

A certificate in this area provides an understanding of how to read blueprints, work orders, and other construction documents.

General Contractor License or Certification

Depending on the state you’re working in, getting a general contractor license or certification may be necessary to work in specific areas or supervise job sites.


This certification is often required on large sites and shows that you have the proper safety training. You can get this by booking a CITB test online.

Gain Experience

When starting in the construction industry, gaining experience is essential. This can be done through internships or apprenticeships, which provide hands-on knowledge and practical skills needed for a career in this field. Additionally, working on various projects will help you understand what a job requires and how to complete it best.

Experience will also be necessary to advance within the field. As with any other sector, construction requires specific skills and knowledge that can only be gained through time and practice. Furthermore, having a well-rounded portfolio of projects can be beneficial when applying for more senior positions.

Keep Up With Technological Advancements

Using software for construction

Construction industry technology is constantly evolving, and those who want to stay ahead must ensure they are up-to-date with the latest advancements. This includes leveraging new technological tools such as virtual reality (VR) simulations for design visualization or 3D printing for rapid prototyping. Understanding how these technologies work will enable you better to identify potential issues during a project’s development stage and could even lead to cost savings.

A good understanding of current industry trends, regulations, and standards will also benefit those looking to build a career in the construction sector. Knowing what’s going on in the market can help you stay ahead of the competition and provide valuable insight into potential job opportunities.

Finding Mentorship Opportunities

Mentorship is invaluable for building a successful career in any field. This is especially true within the construction industry, as experienced professionals can provide valuable guidance and insight into best practices. Seeking out experienced mentors could open up many doors and allow you to network with people who may have job openings or other helpful advice.

Finally, having an online presence can be beneficial when connecting with potential employers and mentors. Building an online profile with professional credentials, such as portfolio pieces or a list of certifications, will help you stand out from the crowd. Additionally, specific job sites allow construction professionals to post their resumes for potential employers to view.

Final Thoughts

By taking the necessary steps toward building a successful career in the construction industry, individuals can enjoy job stability and good wages for many years to come. With the proper education, experience, and knowledge, those looking to get into this sector have plenty of opportunities.

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