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How to Get a Job as a Construction Worker

Because general construction doesn't require formal training, some people might think finding work as a laborer is a cakewalk. It's not. Unions frequently recruit construction workers from high schools and technical schools. The labor department notes that those with a military background have great prospects in this line of work because unions are always seeking applicants who are in excellent physical shape, have strong math skills and can work well with people.

If you have experience within a particular trade, then you might have an even better chance of finding work. According to the labor department, laborers who work under carpenters, painters, plasterers and stucco masons have some of the best job prospects.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good High
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility poor Low

What is the Job Like?

You'll test both your mental and physical stamina working as a general construction worker. One month, a laborer might work deep underground in a tunnel, while the next month he or she could spend a day high in the sky on scaffolding. General construction workers also toil away in all kinds of weather, during the early morning hours, and sometimes, throughout the still hours of the night. Construction workers assigned to a highway or bridge project can expect the later scenario, since traffic is the quietest overnight.

According to O*NET OnLine, an occupational information website sponsored by the labor department, a construction worker should be dexterous and coordinated, plus he or she should be physically strong – developing muscle strength in the trunk and torso area will help a worker better manage the heavy lifting and carrying that this job requires. Being agile and strong makes the work manageable, but also safer. The labor department notes that construction workers have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries and illness, since they're constantly exposed to hazardous materials, operating dangerous machinery and working in extreme environments. Even on a good day, an experienced construction worker can expect to go home with minor aches and muscle fatigue.

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Last updated by Jada A. Graves.


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