Should Construction Workers Consider Community College?

 

There are some jobs in the construction field that do not require any additional education beyond a high school diploma or a GED.  There are others, however, that do require at least a two-year degree and some that mandate a full four-year degree.  Depending on what you want to do with your career life, depends on the type of training, certification, licensing and degree you will need.

Construction Workers with High School Diploma Only

There are several jobs that are available on construction sites or with contractors that work in various fields of construction where a high school diploma or equivalent is all that is necessary.  These jobs include:

  • General construction laborers – clean up work sites inside and outside, carry materials to and from laborers on site, carry tools or set up equipment according to instructions given by supervisors
  • Helpers for  trades – electricians, brick masons, stonemasons, carpenters, plumbers and roofers –
  • Tradesman helpers carry the tools and specific materials used for the apprentice or journeyman to do their job.  This may include hauling bricks or stones, large spools of electrical wire, wood or other material for carpenters, setting up ladders and carry roofing supplies up to the roofers.

 

Wages vary according to location but construction workers with no training or college education should expect to earn approximately $18,000 a year during the first year or about $10.00 per hour.  Laborers who have been in the same trade with the same company for 15-years or more with no further education can anticipate a wage of $45,000 per year or $21.00 per hour.  Generally, raises to the $15.00 hour level are obtained in the first 5-years and raises slow considerably after that.

Construction Workers with a Community College Degree

Typically, construction workers that go to a community college and get a degree in construction management earn much more from the beginning.  Usually they start as Assistant Project Managers with a salary of approximately $31,000 on day one while a Construction Manager starts at approximately $40,000.

Compared to a laborer, it is like getting a raise of $13,000 immediately.  While it is impractical to support yourself and a wife on $31,000 a year, it is completely impossible to support even yourself on $18,000.  The purpose of advancing your education is not necessarily to become rich or the owner of your own business. The right education is needed to perform the tasks that contractors require today.

The primary difference between an assistant project manager and a construction manager is that the assistant oversees one particular project while the manager oversees many projects for the same company.

Assistant Project Managers need to be able to communicate well verbally and in writing in order to work with building owners, contractors, architects, engineers and financial management teams that oversee construction projects.  They are also expected to have advanced computer skills in Excel, Word, and other CAD software programs.

Construction managers have even more responsibility with duties including planning, coordinating and overseeing all aspects of an organization construction applications.  This job requires working directly with the CEO and CFO of a firm, architects in the design, specifications, finances and progress of a construction plan.

So, construction workers only need to attend community college if they plan to advance their career in construction.


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August 10, 2014 by

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