Construction And Extraction

Architects may design the blueprints, but construction professionals make them a reality.

The term "construction" is broad and vague, when actually there are many careers of skill focusing on specific aspects of the construction and extraction processes. The construction of a new building is a complicated undertaking—four walls, a roof, some paint, all set right? Nope! It takes a lot of people to get the job done, professionals with expertise in everything from bricklaying to pipefitting to marble setting. Workers contribute to construction projects indoors and outdoors, renovating old structures and building brand new ones.

It takes hard work and positive results to make a career out of these professions, but there are a number of advantages to pursuing careers in this category. Training for these jobs does not typically require the time and expense of a bachelor’s degree; this is not to say, however, that there is not a great deal to learn in order to be proficient and efficient in this work.

Tasks for these careers may include:

  • Inspecting, maintaining and upgrading parts to complex machines and systems, over years and even decades.
  • Following blueprint designs exactly to ensure that all aspects of the project are coordinated and will work with each other as intended.
  • Adhering closely to safety regulations and ensuring that all crew members are doing so, too.
  • Cleaning and reordering the worksite after the project has been completed
  • Measuring materials, altering them to specifications, installing pieces as directed.
  • Using heavy equipment to move and manage construction materials
  • It is no easy thing to meet the needs of modern building regulations while fulfilling plans for the comforts of modern life. Through careful and coordinated efforts, construction and extraction workers make it happen. The jobs require in-depth training and workers must closely coordination with other construction professionals to get the project done.

A FUTURE IN CONSTRUCTION

While many of these careers do not require extensive traditional education, they make up for that in the amount of required training. A high school education is generally enough to get started, but many jobs will require additional training either in community or technical colleges, or on the job

Apprenticeships are still common, but they vary widely in how they are structured and what they offer. Even when there is no formal apprentice program, new workers will be paired with experienced ones to learn and work more quickly. Some trades, like tile setting and steel working, offer apprenticeships requiring two to four years participation and thousands of work hours. These programs teach not only the specific job skills but also safety practices, useful construction skills, tool and machine usage, among others. They also require a high school diploma, and a minimum age of 18. Some also require substance abuse tests-be sure to read the exact requirements of the program you are interested in before applying. Some workers choose to enter apprenticeship programs immediately after graduating from high school, while others take on lower-skilled work as helpers until they decide they want to advance further.

Graduating from certain apprenticeships may qualify people as journey workers, meaning that they are qualified to take on jobs alone. A few professions require licensing or specific training to meet state and federal guidelines. Workers dealing with the removal of hazardous waste must undergo extensive safety training. And even when not required, a certification can be a bonus on a resume when competing for jobs.

IMPORTANT QUALITIES

  • Hand-eye coordination In order to be accurate and efficient, workers need to be able to make and modify materials precisely, relying on steady hands and precise movements. Fewer mistakes mean fewer expenses!
  • Math skills. Measurements, volumes, quantities, and more basic math skills, including geometry, are needed for most jobs and useful for all of them...
  • Mechanical skills. Operating and maintaining complex equipment is a central aspect of many construction jobs. Having a thorough understanding of how the equipment works speeds up projects while reducing the number of errors.
  • Physical strength. Construction laborers, well, labor. It takes serious muscles to lift, carry, transfer, install, or remove materials for the worksite.
  • Unafraid of heights, confined spaces, etc. Tall buildings, tight spaces-feeling fearless and confident in your body's balance and stamina go a long way here. Working many stories high, steelworkers especially need to feel comfortable to do their job safely and effectively

JOB OUTLOOK

Job prospects will be on par with the national averages for all occupations, or even slightly better. Construction projects tend to keep pace with the national economy, which is (obviously) hard to predict. In some professions, like plumbing, enough plumbers are expected to retire over the next several years that there will be noticeable increase in job openings. This may depend on the city and state, as well as any other requirements for employment. Even so, workers with experience, training, and completed apprenticeships and/or certifications will benefit the most and have the greatest opportunity for continued employment.

  Occupation Description Entry-Level Education 2012 Median Pay
Boilermakers Boilermakers

Boilermakers assemble, install, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases.'

High school diploma or equivalent $56,560
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons

Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons (or, simply, masons) use bricks, concrete blocks, and natural and man-made stones to build fences, walkways, walls, and other structures.'

High school diploma or equivalent $44,950
Carpenters Carpenters

Carpenters construct and repair building frameworks and structures—such as stairways, doorframes, partitions, and rafters—made from wood and other materials. They also may install kitchen cabinets, siding, and drywall.'

High school diploma or equivalent $39,940
Cement masons and terrazzo workers Cement masons and terrazzo workers

Cement masons pour, smooth, and finish concrete floors, sidewalks, roads, and curbs. Using a cement mixture, terrazzo workers create durable and decorative surfaces for floors and stairways.'

Must Have At Least A High School Diploma $35,830
Construction and building inspectors Construction and building inspectors

Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.'

High school diploma or equivalent $53,450
Construction equipment operators Construction equipment operators

Construction equipment operators drive, maneuver, or control the heavy machinery used to construct roads, bridges, buildings, and other structures.'

High school diploma or equivalent $40,980
Construction laborers and helpers Construction laborers and helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many basic tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.'

No Specific Education Requirements $29,160
Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers

Drywall and ceiling tile installers hang wallboards to walls and ceilings and install ceiling tile inside buildings. Tapers prepare the wallboards for painting, using tape and other materials. Many workers do both installing and taping.'

Less than high school $37,920
Electricians Electricians

Electricians install and maintain electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.'

High school diploma or equivalent $49,840
Elevator installers and repairers Elevator installers and repairers

Elevator installers and repairers install, fix, and maintain elevators, escalators, moving walkways, and other lifts.'

High school diploma or equivalent $76,650
Glaziers Glaziers

Glaziers install windows, skylights, and other glass products in storefronts and buildings. '

High school diploma or equivalent $37,610
Hazardous materials removal workers Hazardous materials removal workers

Hazardous materials (hazmat) removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, radioactive and nuclear waste, arsenic, lead, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, reactive, or toxic.'

High school diploma or equivalent $37,590
Insulation workers Insulation workers

Insulation workers install and replace the materials used to insulate buildings to help control and maintain the temperatures in buildings.'

High school diploma $35,940
Painters, construction and maintenance Painters, construction and maintenance Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls, buildings, bridges, and other structures.' Less than high school $35,190
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to and in businesses, homes, and factories.' High school diploma or equivalent $49,140
Roofers Roofers

Roofers repair and install the roofs of buildings using a variety of materials, including shingles, asphalt, and metal.'

Less than high school $35,290
Sheet metal workers Sheet metal workers

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets, such as ducts used for heating and air conditioning.'

High school diploma or equivalent $43,290
Solar photovoltaic installers Solar photovoltaic installers

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, often called PV installers, assemble, install, or maintain solar panel systems on roofs or other structures.'

High school diploma or equivalent $37,900
Structural iron and steel workers Structural iron and steel workers

Structural iron and steel workers install iron or steel beams, girders, and columns to form buildings, bridges, and other structures. They are commonly referred to as ironworkers.'

High school diploma or equivalent $46,140
Tile and marble setters Tile and marble setters

Tile and marble setters apply hard tile and marble to walls, floors, and other surfaces.'

Less than high school $37,040
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