What Construction Trades Majors Need to Know
People with careers related to construction trades were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.
Knowledge Areas for Construction Trades Majors
Construction Trades majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:
- Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Skills for Construction Trades Majors
When studying construction trades, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Abilities for Construction Trades Majors
Construction Trades majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
What Can You Do With a Construction Trades Major?
Below is a list of occupations associated with construction trades:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Civil Engineering Technicians||8.9%||$52,580|
How Much Do Construction Trades Majors Make?
Salaries According to BLS
Construction Trades majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $43,870 to $56,740 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Construction Trades
Some careers associated with construction trades require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to construction trades have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||18.6%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||41.7%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||23.2%|
|Some College Courses||8.1%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||4.9%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||0.3%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||0.1%|
Online Construction Trades Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 872 schools offered some type of construction trades program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||894||8|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||1,076||9|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||118||4|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Construction Trades Worth It?
The median salary for a construction trades grad is $47,630 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 19% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $154,600 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Construction Trades
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to construction trades.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Personal & Culinary Services||132,634|
|Mechanic & Repair Technologies||107,442|
|Transportation & Materials Moving||28,766|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.