CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a construction worker.
Is becoming a construction worker right for me?
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Frequently Asked Questions
How to become a Construction Worker
Most construction workers learn their trade through short-term on-the-job training after being hired by a construction contractor or a temporary-help employment agency. Although there are no formal educational requirements, high school classes in english, mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, and shop can be helpful.
Workers typically gain experience by doing jobs under the guidance of experienced workers. Although the majority of workers learn informally, some opt for formal apprenticeship programs. Programs generally include two to four years of technical instruction and on-the-job training. In the first 200 hours, workers learn basic construction skills, such as how to read blueprints, the correct use of tools and equipment, and safety and health procedures. The remainder of the curriculum consists of specialized skills training in three of the largest segments of the construction industry: building construction, heavy and highway construction, and environmental remediation such as lead or asbestos removal.
Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualification for entering an apprenticeship program is being age 18 or older. A high school diploma or its equivalent is preferred but not required. Although there are no formal educational requirements, some workers may choose or be required to attend a trade or vocational school, association training class, or community college to get further trade-related training. Workers who remove hazardous material (hazmat) must have a federal hazmat license. Depending on the work they do, workers may need specific certifications. Certification helps workers prove that they have the knowledge to perform more complex tasks.
Through experience and training, construction workers can advance into positions that involve more complex activities. For example, workers may earn certifications in welding, scaffold erecting, or concrete finishing and then spend more time performing activities that require the specialized knowledge.