With graduation on high school seniors’ minds, underclassmen everywhere are realizing that they too will need a plan for where life after high school will lead. While most assume a “traditional” education at a four-year university is on the horizon, others are looking for alternatives. When it comes to preparing for a career in construction, there is more than one route to take.
Start your career sooner with Career and Technical Education
Career-Technical Education (CTE) programs allow people of all ages to efficiently learn the ins and outs of working in construction. For high school students, CTE training, or what is often referred to as “shop class” is simply a part of their school-day curriculum. This everyday exposure helps students get a feel for the industry before stepping foot into the “real world,” giving them an advantage over their classmates. By the time students graduate they will have completed the NCCER CORE, which shortens their post-graduate training timeline and helps them begin a successful career sooner.
One thing to note, CTE programs are not reserved for students alone. Adult learners can also take part in these programs. So even if students want to focus on a standard high school experience or their school does not offer CTE classes, they can always opt for CTE training after graduating. It’s really never too late, participants still enjoy the streamlined training no matter the start date. Most CTE training programs take anywhere from 3 to 18 months, which is exponentially shorter, and therefore less expensive, than other career training programs.
Find a CTE training center near you here.
Take the traditional route at a four-year university
Though not necessary for most construction careers, earning a bachelor’s degree is still a goal for many high school students. This is an ideal route for those with an interest in construction and a dream of enjoying the full college experience.
Keep in mind, universities won’t prepare students for skilled trades. Instead, students can earn degrees that support projects in other ways. This includes management and design-focused degrees like construction management, engineering, and architecture as well as degrees that will prepare for integral positions within HR, marketing, and IT.
Find a university near you here.
Train efficiently at a two-year college
A two-year college gives students the best of both worlds: the college experience and efficient, effective training. And, unlike universities, those interested in a skilled trade can earn the necessary certificates to begin their career.
This training option lays a great foundation for students who aren’t sure which craft they’d like to specialize in, providing a fantastic overview before stepping into an entry-level position.
Find a program near you here.
Learn as you earn with an apprenticeship
Even if students have no CTE experience or prior industry experience, an apprenticeship is a great place to start. The 2- to 4-year programs bridge classroom and on-the-job training in a robust earn-as-you-learn experience.
More tailored than a CTE program and less expensive than a university, students can get exceptional training from industry professionals without taking on any debt. Every apprentice gets paid beginning on day one and earns more as they advance. And by the end of the apprenticeship, apprentices-turned-journeymen are set for upward mobility thanks to everyday exposure and hands-on experience.
Find an apprenticeship program near you here.
Students, no matter your age or future goals, you can begin laying the foundation for your career in construction. As you can see, there are many paths you can take. Be sure to visit our student page for additional resources. And if you have any questions or are looking for personalized guidance before taking your next step, talk to your school’s guidance counselor.