Careers in Construction

The construction industry is a vital part of Idaho's economy, providing jobs and supporting local businesses. As the demand for tradespeople continues to grow, there has never been a better time to explore the many opportunities available in construction. From residential and commercial construction to infrastructure development, numerous career paths are available in this dynamic industry.

Whether you're looking to start a career with no prior experience or pursue higher education, the construction industry offers stability, growth potential, and competitive pay. In the rapidly growing state of Idaho, construction is a field where your skills and hard work can truly make a difference.

Diverse Career Paths

Construction offers an expansive range of career paths beyond what many expect. While some may associate construction solely with manual labor, some positions require technical skills, creative thinking, and advanced education. From skilled trades to management and technology, there's a place for everyone in construction. 

Here are just a few of the broad categories of careers in construction:

  1. Skilled Trades: If you enjoy working with your hands and creating things, there are numerous skilled trades to consider. These include carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, masonry, welding, and more.
  2. Management: For those who prefer organizing and overseeing projects, construction management may be a good fit. This role involves planning, coordinating, and supervising all aspects of a construction project.
  3. Technology: Technology is transforming the construction industry, and there are now many opportunities to work with cutting-edge tools and techniques. Roles in this category may include drone operators, virtual design and construction specialists, and construction software developers.
  4. Infrastructure: For those passionate about the infrastructure that keeps our communities running, construction offers a variety of careers in areas like transportation, water management, and utility systems.

It's worth noting that these categories are not mutually exclusive, and there's plenty of overlap between them. For example, a construction manager may need a strong background in a skilled trade, and a technology specialist may work closely with the infrastructure team to optimize operations.

See the best paying construction jobs

There are even more occupations that are within or adjacent to the industry. For example, administrative positions, such as project managers and estimators, require organizational and leadership skills and play an essential role in the planning and execution of construction projects. Planners like engineers and architects are responsible for designing and creating the blueprints and plans for buildings and infrastructure projects.

As an example of newer positions in high demand, solar technicians and other sustainability experts are needed as the industry places greater emphasis on environmentally conscious practices. Technological advancements have also led to new careers in construction, such as virtual reality designers and 3D printing experts.

While construction is often considered to be male-dominated, it's also a great option for women, who can work in a variety of roles, from management to skilled trades. There are also opportunities for individuals who are interested in infrastructure and construction but may not want to work in traditional manual labor roles. For example, some construction companies offer positions in accounting, marketing, and human resources.

Education Options for Construction Jobs & Trades

One of the great things about the construction industry is the variety of educational paths that can lead to a successful career. Whether you just finished high school, are attending college, or are looking to switch careers, there are options available to suit your needs.

High School Graduate

If you're a recent high school graduate or considering a career change, the construction industry offers a number of entry-level positions that require no higher education. These jobs can include roles such as laborer, construction worker, and equipment operator. Many employers offer on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs to help you gain the necessary skills and experience.

Potential entry-level positions that don't require a degree:

  • Construction laborer
  • Carpenter's assistant
  • Mason's assistant
  • Heavy equipment operator

Trade School

Trade schools offer a focused education on a specific trade or skill. In the construction industry, trade schools can offer programs in fields such as electrical work, plumbing, welding, and carpentry. These programs often take less time to complete than a traditional degree program and can provide you with the necessary skills to start working in your chosen field.

Potential careers with a trade school education:

  • Electrician
  • HVAC technician
  • Welder
  • Plumber

Community College

Community college programs can range from short-term certification programs to associate degrees in fields such as construction management, engineering, and architecture. These programs can provide you with a broader education and the opportunity to advance to higher-level positions within the industry.

Potential careers with an associate degree*:

  • Construction management
  • Civil engineering technician
  • Surveyor
  • Estimator

*It's important to note that job requirements can vary depending on the employer and specific responsibilities, and some employers may prefer or require a bachelor's degree for certain positions, even if an associate's degree may be sufficient for others.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in a construction-related field can provide you with a well-rounded education and opportunities for advancement. Bachelor's degree programs in construction management, engineering, and architecture can prepare you for positions such as project manager, construction superintendent, and estimator. These programs often include courses in project management, design, and engineering principles.

A few potential careers you can do with a bachelor's degree include:

  • Civil engineer
  • Architect
  • Construction manager
  • Project manager

Graduate Degrees

For those looking to advance to leadership positions within the construction industry, a graduate degree can be a valuable asset. Master's degree programs in construction management, civil engineering, and business administration can provide you with the advanced knowledge and skills necessary to become a construction executive or consultant. These programs often require several years of professional experience in the industry.

Careers you might have with a graduate degree:

  • Structural engineer
  • Construction law attorney
  • Construction management
  • Environmental engineer

Regardless of your educational background (or how much more schooling you want to pursue), there are so many opportunities available in the construction industry. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance your career, there's a path that can lead you to a fulfilling and rewarding career in construction.

Skills Required for Careers in Construction 

Most jobs in construction will train you on the specific skills and knowledge required, whether through on-the-job training or formal education. However, there are some essential skills that can come in handy for those looking to start a career in this field. These skills may include physical abilities, such as endurance and strength, as well as problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills.

In some cases, there are skills required for particular trades or positions. Here are some examples of jobs in the construction industry and the skills they require:

  • Carpenter: manual dexterity, attention to detail, ability to read blueprints
  • Electrician: strong math skills, critical thinking, ability to troubleshoot complex electrical systems
  • Welder: hand-eye coordination, ability to interpret technical drawings, attention to detail
  • Plumber: problem-solving, physical stamina, ability to work in tight spaces

The construction industry is one of the most inclusive and diverse industries out there, offering a wide range of opportunities to individuals from all backgrounds and levels of education. Whatever skills you already have or are looking to learn, there's a path for you in construction. And the best part? You not only gain valuable technical skills and knowledge, but also transferable skills that can be applied to any industry.

Skills Gained in Construction Careers

While starting a career in construction may require specific skills or training, there are also many transferable skills that can be gained from working in the industry. These skills can be used in other jobs or industries, as well as in everyday life.

Some of the transferable skills construction careers offer include:

  • Leadership: Many workers may find themselves in leadership positions, either formally or informally, as they manage projects and collaborate with team members.
  • Project management: Working on construction projects can help develop project management skills, including planning, organizing, and overseeing tasks and timelines.
  • Communication: Clear and effective communication is essential in construction, both with team members and clients. The industry can help develop strong communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Problem-solving: Construction workers often encounter unexpected challenges on the job, requiring them to think creatively and problem-solve in real time.

In addition to these transferable skills, there are also specific skills that can be gained from different roles in the industry. Here are some examples:

  • Construction manager: project management, leadership, budgeting, risk management
  • Architect: design thinking, project management, communication, attention to detail
  • Heavy equipment operator: mechanical aptitude, spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving
  • Safety specialist: knowledge of OSHA regulations, risk assessment, attention to detail, communication

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to develop skills in construction work. These can help you advance your career, move into another position, and even improve your life outside of work. Additionally, new advancements in technology are creating even more jobs and skill sets.

Technology in the Construction Industry

Rapid technological changes impact nearly every part of our lives, and the construction industry is no exception. Innovations in construction are transforming the way we build, making construction safer, faster, and more efficient. Embracing new technologies has become essential for companies that want to remain competitive in today's market.

Some of the most notable technologies being used in construction include:

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM): a digital representation of a building's physical and functional characteristics, used to plan, design, and construct buildings
  • Drones: used for surveying, mapping, and inspection of construction sites
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality: used for design visualization, safety training, and project management
  • GPS-enabled equipment: used for precision excavation, grading, and paving

Employing these technologies requires a range of skills, from technical expertise in software and hardware to critical thinking and problem-solving. As construction continues to adopt them, new jobs and opportunities are formed for those with the skills to use them.

So what does new tech look like in construction? Here are examples of jobs that make use of technology:

  • Construction project managers use BIM and project management software to oversee projects and ensure they are completed on time and within budget
  • Surveying and mapping technicians use drones and other technology to survey and map construction sites
  • Heavy equipment operators use GPS-enabled equipment for precision excavation and grading
  • Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) specialists use augmented and virtual reality to create 3D models of buildings and simulate construction processes

By embracing new technologies, the construction industry is opening up a world of possibilities for those interested in pursuing a career in it. With the right skills and training, workers can help shape the future of construction and be at the forefront of innovation.

Looking for Stability? Consider Construction

Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S., which means there are plenty of job opportunities available for those who are interested in pursuing a career in this field. As the population of Idaho continues to grow, so does the need for new homes, roads, and other infrastructure projects. There is also always an ongoing need for maintenance and repair work on existing buildings and infrastructure.

Here's a look at construction opportunities in Idaho

Compared to other industries, the stability of construction jobs is relatively high. Even during times of economic uncertainty, the demand for skilled workers in construction remains steady. This is because construction is an essential industry that is vital to the growth and development of communities. Additionally, trades such as plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry are always in demand, and they typically pay well.

With rapid growth and expansion across the industry, there has never been a better time to jump on board. A career in construction offers more than just a job—it offers a stable and secure path for your future. Not only will you be able to do meaningful, interesting work and earn a good living, but you'll also have opportunities for advancement, education, and skill-building that can take you far.

Learn more about the possibilities at