It is possible to become a civil foreman through apprenticeship and training on the job or with the assistance of a two-year training program from a community college or technical school. A two-year degree can be helpful for some job openings in which employers might prefer candidates who have some education in the field of civil engineering and construction. Civil foremen work under a lead engineer to supervise work on job sites, manage employees and make sure that the site adheres to safety standards. They might need to travel for their work, and they need to have good communication skills.
One option for a person who wants to become a civil foreman is to start working on construction sites immediately after high school to acquire experience and skills. Construction work can allow trainees to move around through different positions on the job site to learn about civil engineering, wiring, plumbing, framing and other topics. If a trainee expresses an interest in a foreman position, the company might provide some mentoring assistance as the employee gains experience, such as a position working under the foreman to get a chance to learn more about work site supervision.
Three to six years of experience might be necessary to become a civil foreman. The length of training that is needed can depend on the types of job sites, requirements from prospective employers and the trainee's ability to pick up information. A deep understanding of construction and the basics of civil engineering is necessary, and it might help to read some texts or take courses. Safety certification courses also can be beneficial, and it is important to maintain a clean driving record.
Another way to become a civil foreman is to earn a two-year degree in construction, civil engineering or a related topic. A community college might offer a more rounded education, with topics such as English and history, which might be helpful with communication and the development of critical-thinking skills. Technical schools tend to focus solely on construction and engineering topics, and they might provide students with more information over the course of the program. After graduation, students can apply into civil foreman or assistant foreman positions.
After someone has become a civil foreman, it is important to keep up with developments in the industry. It might be helpful to subscribe to trade journals and to attend conferences and other events. Some employers might pay for continuing education, particularly if it leads to new certifications. These can include safety certificates as well as certificates authorizing the foreman to operate heavy equipment and train people on such equipment.