Careers in Focus: Construction

There’s a lot of room in the construction field for almost any skill set or interest. Do you like to work with your hands? Do you like fine technical work? Do you like visual art? Building systems? Operating machines? Running a business? These are just some of the skills individuals working in construction are called upon to use.

Occupations all across the construction spectrum are considered to have a “bright outlook,” and a number are also considered to be on the cutting edge of “green” industry. These two factors mean that available jobs are plentiful, even in general labor, and technical certifications in a specific occupational skill set can mean security and a good living.

Here’s a small sample of promising career options in construction, and how you can get started:

  • Carpenter—One of the bread-and-butter jobs in construction, carpentry means working with wood and some synthetic materials to build frames, walls and some larger structures. Apprenticeships leading to certification are big in carpentry, as you need to study technique as well as tool use.
  • Construction manager—Managing a construction project literally from the ground up usually takes at least some experience in the field, plus education in project management and a number of computer programs to turn blueprints and plans into finished structures, so a bachelor’s degree in a related field may be required.
  • Truck and tractor operator—Construction materials and waste are usually large and heavy, and that’s where these skills come in handy. Learning how to operate heavy machinery—even just driving some trucks—requires specific credentialing programs in most places, but that comes with job security and opportunities to diversify your skill set.
  • Mason—This job can include everything from setting and finishing concrete to doing highly detailed brickwork. Training programs are available, though apprenticeships with master masons are a common requirement.
  • Electrician—Electrical work means installing, maintaining and repairing wiring and fixtures in a building. It’s a highly technical field, but it’s possible to start as a journeyman while training with experienced electricians.
  • Inspector—Most jobs in construction require knowing building codes and regulations, but this one means knowing most or even all of the rules and how to inspect and test for them. Technical skill may not be required, but education and on-the-job learning are important, as are continuing education to keep up with changing regulatory environments.

You can learn about even more construction occupations from O*NET or by exploring craft professions and career paths at, and you can get personal advice from a virtual career mentor on GoodProspects®.