Hard Hats & Thinking Caps: Navigating A Construction Career

Construction engineers discussion with architects at construction site or building site of highrise building with Surveying for making contour plans is a graphical representation of the lay in land.

All Roads Lead to Success

By Rex D. Ball, Partner

We hear it continually: it’s challenging to recruit and retain qualified employees in the construction space.  This is true on both the blue-collar and white-collar sides. Some attribute the industry’s labor shortage to an emphasis on post-secondary education.  As a result of this issue, construction companies are investing in vocational programs at the high school level.   

Many roads may lead you, your children, or your friends to work in the construction industry.  A message that is sometimes said, but perhaps not loud enough is: Yes, you can have a great career in construction – with or without a post-secondary education.  You can turn onto many roads and still have a financially and personally fulfilling career in construction.

Turn Right onto Four-Year University Road
Today’s mindset seems to require you to save money to send yourself or your kids to college to have a rewarding career.  Earning a bachelor’s degree in construction is one of several ways to get your start in the industry. Depending on many factors, this path may come with the largest price tag.     

If you take this route, it’s important to note that your career is going to evolve over time.  Rapid advancements – technological and otherwise – are transforming the industry quickly. It’s projected that what you learn in college now will be obsolete within five to ten years.  At some point, you’ll be doing something you never even thought was part of a construction career.  

Turn Left onto Technical School Avenue
Many opportunities in the construction industry exist without necessarily obtaining a four-year degree.  Popular options include technical programs and two-year associate degree programs. These options typically come at a lesser cost and will get you out in the workforce at a quicker pace.  

Continue Straight on Opportunity Boulevard
Whether you choose college or university, a technical school, or elect to enter the workforce during or after high school, the construction industry has an opportunity for you.  Construction is one of the few industries that allows you to launch your career without a degree.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 11% growth rate in the job outlook for Construction Laborers and Helpers and an 10% growth rate for Construction Managers.  Both categories are growing faster than the national average.  

Knowing your goals and aspirations is crucial in selecting your next step or helping someone else decide on their next step.  Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics for an additional outlook on Construction and Extraction Occupations that may help you make a decision.    

Construction Evolution
To be an effective construction professional, you must continually learn and evolve.  So much is new in the industry including methods, technologies, automation, machines and robotics, prefab, and factory-built site-assembled approaches.  

Take some time to think through your goals and then take the exit that’s best for you.   No matter the road you take, construction is a growing industry that has a place for you to put your talents to best use!