Construction is a very hands-on job and is known as one of the skilled trades. While a professional degree (i.e., Bachelor’s, Master’s) is not required to become a construction worker, it’s still a highly skilled job. Every day in construction is different, even when working on the same project for weeks or months at a time.
This is a great career path for those who like working with their hands, like having a new tangible task every day, and aren’t afraid of challenges. However, like with all jobs, there are both upsides and downsides to working in construction.
The Downsides of Working in Construction
Probably the biggest downside to working in construction is that it’s one of the world’s most dangerous occupations. Construction workers are at risk for injury every day— even if they aren’t working from a height. They’re also at risk for being struck by objects that fall from a height, and they’re at risk for being struck by moving machinery. Working from a height, obviously, presents the risk of slipping and falling from such a dangerous elevation.
The good news is that construction sites are much safer than they were in the past, especially with the help of technology like wearables. PPE (personal protective equipment) has also become much better at protecting workers. Examples of PPE include:
- Hard hats
- Ear plugs/muffs
- Safety glasses
- Respiratory protection
- Reflective vests
- Steel-toed boots
Overall, safety is the only major downside to working in construction. Fortunately, technology has helped construction sites become much safer than they were before. However, construction workers must still be properly trained and remain careful while on site to prevent any accidental injuries. They can’t rely solely on improved technology to help keep them safe.
The Benefits of Working in Construction
Construction is one of few jobs that have guaranteed job security, even though it took a hit during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic— as many jobs did. There’s also the fact that once a construction job is completed, some workers may not know when exactly their next project will come along. While this is definitely a concern, it’s still not likely that the world is going to decline in the need for construction workers.
On the other hand, construction workers are paid really good money. The highest paid construction workers (usually construction managers) can earn up to $100,000 per year. Construction managers usually have to have a bachelor’s degree, but workers only need to complete trade school— and can still earn up to $80,000 per year. This is another benefit because construction workers don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on their education.
Another benefit is the technology. Not only do construction workers have cool wearables for their safety and protection, but they also get to work with advanced power tools and over ten different types of vehicles to help transport materials. Examples include:
- Skid steers (with a rock rake attachment)
Construction is also a great industry to work in if you like a lot of diversity. There are many different specialties and subspecialties within the industry, and you can specialize in more than one area. For example, general contractors can work on residential buildings, commercial buildings, or both, and they can also specialize in carpentry, plumbing, or electrical work.
You may also have the opportunity to travel across the country and potentially around the world. Again, construction is needed everywhere, and it even seems to be a constant thing in some cities. When one construction job ends, there’s likely to be another project in the works that you can be a part of.
The biggest downsides are construction being a dangerous occupation and the potential to not have steady work. However, the good outweighs the bad when you realize that construction is much safer than before and that there’s always construction going on somewhere. If this is a path that you think you’d like to pursue, then it’s worth it to give it a try. Pursuing training in construction won’t cost you thousands of dollars— but it can definitely earn you thousands of dollars.
Another option is to start your own construction company. Construction on residential homes has been and still is popular, and there may be a need for this kind of work in your area. Just keep in mind that there will be a lot of startup costs, but you’ll see a great return on investment in the long run.