In this article, we’ll talk about the advantages of construction, take a look at the question “how hard is construction work?”, and more.
If you’re reading this, you might be considering a career in the trades, or maybe you’re wrestling through if you should attend college, a trade school, or just jump straight into working full time for someone in the trades and learning on the job.
Our goal with this career guide is to help you understand all the various jobs you can work in the trades, what each career is like (salary, qualifications, educational requirements, etc.), and more. You can simply use the menu on the left-hand side to browse all the free information we’ve put together.
Advantages of Construction Work.
Alright, let’s dive into the pros and cons of working in construction. This list isn’t comprehensive, because it’s going to be different for each person.
But hopefully, this list will help you understand some of the advantages, and potential disadvantages, of working in the skilled trades.
There’s good job security.
In case you haven’t heard, there’s a major shortage of skilled workers in the trades. Everyone from residential contractors to commercial construction companies is looking for young people that are willing to learn and work hard. In fact, there are projections that job openings and the need for skilled workers will continue to grow.
Obviously, none of us can predict the future, but one thing is for sure: at present, there are lots of paying jobs available in the trades right now, and that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
You’re providing a real solution to a real human need.
Call us old-fashioned, but we believe there’s something to be said for doing good, honest work. Construction is sort of the unsung hero of our culture. Skilled tradesman build the places we work in, the homes we live and play in, the roads we commute on, and more.
You can stay active, fit, and healthy.
In case you haven’t heard the buzz, it turns out that sitting all day is bad for your health (some people say, really bad for your health). Our bodies were designed to move: to run, walk, bend, lift, and stretch. For years, most work was physically active work – and that wasn’t looked down on, it was normal. In the past 20 years or so, it seems our culture looks down on work that’s physically demanding. But the reality is, if you work a job in construction, you have a chance to be much more physically fit, healthy, and active during your day. Of course, the flip side of this is that it’s very physically demanding work and if you don’t look after yourself, you can run your body into the ground. We’ll discuss some of the healthy hazards below, but it’s important to know that working with your body all day can really be very healthy.
Earn a good living.
Another advantage to working in construction is the potential salary you can earn. Now, it’s important to understand that pay varies depending on where you live, what trade you’re in, how many years of experience you have, and if it’s residential or commercial work. All those factors play into how much you can earn.
However, in general, many trades allow you to earn $50,000 or more after you have enough experience. If you own your own business, work for a successful company, or serve in a management/supervisor role, you can earn even more. Not to mention that for the most part, overtime pay is available. So while you may only be earning $18/hr to start, you can earn $27/hr each hour over 40 hours (for time and a half pay). For a more in-depth look at various trades careers and national average salaries, click here.
It’s easy to enter and get started.
Another advantage to working in construction is that for many trades, it’s easy to enter the trade and start a career – with almost no experience. For many trades, you can start as a laborer, work hard, learn the trade over a few years, and progress in your skills, position and salary. Many contractors in trades like carpentry, remodeling, and more, are looking for people that are hard working and willing to learn. Here’s a few skilled trades jobs you can get without any experience at all. Not many other career options allow you to enter without a degree or formal training, start getting paid, and work your way up to the position you want.
Generally speaking, you don’t need to go into debt for a college degree.
One of the biggest advantages for young people looking to enter the trades is that (for many trades) you don’t need a college degree, and can skip the whole student loans and student debt problem. Some trades do require formal training, usually an apprenticeship in the Union, or certification from a trade or technical school. However, many trades allow you to enter as a laborer – where you can learn on the job and work your way up from there.
You get to build something tangible.
In the West, more and more businesses operate online, and more jobs are reduced to working on a computer. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, many younger people are desiring more tangible work: wanting to create something they can touch, feel, and use. Construction work allows you to build something tangible, and see the direct result of your work. Many positions in tech don’t allow the same.
Disadvantages To Consider
While there’s loads of advantages to working in the trades, it’s clear that construction isn’t for everyone. Here’s a few disadvantages (if you consider them that) to the trades:
It’s physically demanding work.
Ask any Pro and they’ll tell you: the trades are hard work. They can be physically demanding and uncomfortable. How hard is construction work? Well, depending on the job you’re doing, you might: work in extreme heat or cold, be exposed to the elements for long periods of time, do heavy lifting and extensive manual labor, and more. Simply put, construction can be really hard on your body. To combat this, make sure that you stretch regularly, eat and hydrate extremely well, and adhere to all safety practices and safe tool uses.
It can be hazardous.
Depending on your trade, you’ll be working with equipment that can cause injury if not used safely and properly, or in hazardous environments where death or serious injury can occur if you’re not careful. Even though the industry is focused on safety training, and making sure companies train their employees in fall safety training, heavy equipment training, and more, an estimated 150,000 accidents occur each year on the job site. To prevent this, make sure the company you’re working for is focused on creating as safe of a workplace as possible, and provides all needed safety training. And when you’re on the job, pay attention: read all safety warnings, operate tools with safe procedures, and make sure you follow all your company’s policies to ensure a safe work space.
It takes time.
When you’re starting with no experience, it can take years to learn your trade. It doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s no replacement for on the job training. While this is true for any job worth having, younger workers may be tempted to give up or get frustrated when their pay, position, or skills don’t increase as much (or as fast) as they’d like them to.
So, is construction a good career choice?
If you ask us, the skilled trades are a great career choice. They allow you to do meaningful, people-serving work with your hands, and earn a great living doing it. They’re not for everyone, but if the idea of a 4-year degree and loads of student debt doesn’t appeal to you, you might consider construction.
You can also listen or watch for yourself as we talk to real pros through Instagram about how they started in the trades and the stories that will inspire you to consider working in the trades