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A career in construction comes with many benefits, including high pay, consistent work, and the opportunity to earn your way up to a journeyperson’s license. However, a successful career isn’t built overnight, so you’ll need to start preparing for this new opportunity right away.
How to Start a Career in Construction
If you’re looking for an industry that’s exciting, hands-on, and ever-changing, look no further than construction. But before you jump in with both feet, use these tips to help you get started.
1. Learn Useful Construction-Based Skills
It takes a lot of skill to succeed in the construction industry. There are dozens of sub-industries that fall under the construction umbrella, including electrical work, carpentry, framing, and plumbing. You’ll need to learn a little bit of everything to produce quality work consistently.
You can learn most of the “tricks of the trade” at a community college, but you can also learn the basics of your profession at home. Before applying for jobs, make sure you can use and name common construction tools, speak to customers confidently, and take direction and criticism.
2. Research Different Construction Training Opportunities
There are three ways to get started in the construction industry: register as an apprentice, enroll in post-secondary training, or find an entry-level construction job. Some roads are harder to tread. For example, it’s harder to register as an appearance or get hired without any experience.
Some options take longer to complete. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to become a building engineer, civil engineer, superintendent, or manager. However, you can also enroll in a 20-day construction training program to make yourself more hireable at the entry-level.
3. Study Several Trades and Focus on One
If you plan on getting your journeyperson license, understand that you have to train under a qualified journeyperson in the field you wish to pursue. You can’t train under a journeyman electrician and get your plumber’s license, so you need to choose your trade and mentor wisely.
It takes 8,000 hours of training to become a journeyperson in your field; that’s 1,000 8-hour working days or a little over 3 years of training. It’s essential to learn all you can about construction, so you can become certified in a trade you’re knowledgeable in and enjoy.
4. Be Teachable, Patient, and Ambitious
Along with hard skills, construction workers need a lot of soft skills to be successful in their industry. Soft skills are essential in the construction industry because they’re tied to efficiency and safety. Without skills like communication, projects would take much longer to complete.
As a new construction worker, the willingness to continuously learn, patience, and ambition will get you far. A career in construction can take years off to get off the group, but if you listen to your mentors, take the initiative on projects, and practice patience, you’ll move up faster.
5. Network Early and Start Building Relationships
Employee referral programs are a popular hiring strategy for employers because referrals have the highest return on investment (ROI) and improve quality of hire. If you want to be the first in line for a construction-based job opportunity, you should start building relationships in the field.
Remember that a lot of construction jobs are unionized, so your employers may pay for your schooling or invest a lot of time into your training. For this reason, construction jobs can be competitive, but you can even the playing field by networking while in school or on social media.
There are several social media groups, online forums, and chat rooms that connect construction workers to one another for the purpose of mentorship. If you’re an active participant in these groups and you’ve proved you’re ready to learn, more opportunities will open up for you.