How to Forge Your Career Path in Commercial Construction

Spencer Rankin is standing in front of the Crain Construction booth at the MTSU Career Fair

October is Careers in Construction Month, which was founded by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) as a way to increase public awareness of construction careers and inspire the next generation of craft professionals.

At Crain, we strive to be the best construction company our employees will ever work for. We make it a priority to ensure our entire team finds fulfillment and enjoyment in their work. We also are intentional about creating a culture where team members aren’t just co-workers, they’re friends and family. This is one reason why many of our team members have worked at Crain for decades. Charles Gill, our longest-tenured employee, worked with us for 54 years before he retired in 2010. 


How to Forge Your Career Path in Commercial Construction

Whether it’s having a conversation with friends who are considering a career change or investing in our summer interns, we enjoy helping others explore a potential career in construction. Here are a few simple pieces of advice we often share:   

1. Learn about the different career paths you could take. 

There are hundreds of roles involved in completing a construction project. When considering a career in the construction industry, it is helpful to know what types of jobs are available and what each job does.

Take time to consider the type of work you enjoy. Do you enjoy specializing in a particular subject, or are you better at managing a project from start to finish? Are you drawn to pre-construction, or do you prefer to coordinate all of the aspects throughout a project? Take time to explore each type of role and consider how your unique strengths and skillset could apply to different positions.

2. Determine what education or apprenticeship you need to get started.

The first step into the construction industry is to build an educational background in construction-related subjects. This can happen in a variety of ways. Many occupations in the construction industry require a college degree. If you want to head in a different direction, trade schools can offer specific certifications for skilled labor positions. There are also apprenticeship models that can provide on-the-job training and allow you to earn income while you learn. 

It may take some research to determine what type of education you need for your desired role, but there are plenty of ways to get started.

3. Recognize that construction career paths don’t have to be linear. 

Unlike some jobs, a career in construction can take a variety of twists and turns. At many companies,  there are numerous growth opportunities. After a few years, you might choose to pursue a new role as a superintendent, project manager, estimator, planner, or scheduler. You can choose your path to acquire the necessary skills to move to the next level — gaining the experience and talent you need that will serve you for the rest of your career. 

In many ways, the career progression of a talented construction professional is really up to them. With skills and determination, a variety of roles may be within your reach. 

4. Find a job where people and relationships matter. 

Finding a job in commercial construction is one thing — enjoying your job is another. As in any industry, the biggest factors that contribute to job satisfaction are appreciation for your work and a positive relationship with colleagues. The company you work for matters and makes a tremendous difference in whether or not you enjoy going to work every day. 

At Crain, we have worked to create a culture where our employees know the important role they play — not only in their work but in their relationship with others on the team. We want our team to genuinely answer “yes” when asked if they like their job.

5. Remember the deeper motivation for your work.

People get into construction for various reasons. Some people enjoy building a structure that will last for centuries. Others find their purpose in being able to provide for their family. It’s important to remember the reason for your work and hold onto what intrinsically motivates you. As in any job, there will be days that are long and hard. There will be challenges and hardships you face. Finding enjoyment throughout your career in construction will require you to remember the reasons for your work. Whether it’s a physical structure that will stand for years to come or leaving a legacy for your family, remembering your ultimate purpose can get you through any difficult challenges you might experience. 


Looking for a Career in Commercial Construction? Join Our Team. 

As Crain Construction continues to grow in our ability to serve clients in Nashville and across the southeast, we’re always looking for creative and talented people to join our team. Take a moment to learn more about what it’s like to work at Crain or explore our current openings on our careers page.

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