Construction Trades, General

Overview of Construction Trades as a College Program

Construction trade programs are considered trade or technical programs and are under the guise of these departments at colleges. The nature of the construction field dictates the way in which students learn about it. Generally, students spend equal parts of their time receiving hands-on training and learning about the field in the classroom.

Construction Trades Curriculum

There are a number of positions in the construction industry which require different skill sets. Depending on the topic that the student chooses to pursue for a construction trades degree, their courses will vary. Many of the courses encountered throughout various construction trades degree programs include:

  • Safety
  • Trade Mathematics
  • Hand Tools
  • Power Tools
  • Site Layout/Design
  • Concrete Foundations
  • Framing
  • Walls and Ceilings
  • Flooring
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Estimation
  • Demolition
  • Construction Materials
  • Building Codes
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Supervision
  • Site Preparation
  • Field Engineering
  • Laser Instruments

Education Levels Available for a Construction Trades Degree

Construction trades degrees are available at all levels of the educational spectrum, depending on what that student decides to study. Most degrees, however, are earned as Associate's degrees in construction trades or certificate programs. These degree levels are for those seeking to work in the industry with their hands as builders, carpenters, or other similar professions.

More advanced degrees are available in the field of construction management. This major is available at the Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and Doctorate degree levels. These degrees take around four, two, and two to three years respectively to complete. A degree in construction management allows graduates to enter the construction industry as supervisors and managers of other workers.

Skills Developed through a Construction Trades Degree Program

A construction trades degree teaches students many different skills. Some of these skills are unique to the field of construction, while others can be applied to other professions and life situations. Some of the skills that a construction trades degree program teaches to students are:

  • Ability to use mathematics to analyze situations and create new structural designs
  • Knowledge of various tools including their applications, functions, and composition
  • Understanding of safety regulations and proper safety techniques to ensure a protected work environment
  • Ability to read blueprints and follow their parameters to create proper structures
  • Exposure to managerial skills and the ability to coordinate work by administering tasks accordingly
  • Ability to assess jobs and deliver estimates to prospective clients
Where to Obtain a Construction Trades Degree

Construction trades degrees are offered through a number of different sources and institutions. They can be earned at community colleges and four-year universities. Most construction trades degrees, however, are obtained through vocational schools and technical colleges as certificates or Associate's degrees. Some construction firms also offer apprenticeship programs which may last up to four years, but pay the student while they learn on the job.

Career Opportunities for Construction Trades Majors

Graduates of construction trades degree programs will find a favorable job market upon entering the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry is expected to grow 19 percent through 2018, compared with the 11 percent growth rate of all industries. Graduates may find employment as masons, carpenters, construction managers, plumbers, roofers, steel workers, and many other occupations.

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