The types of jobs on the typical construction site tend to vary, because some workers perform general labor while others specialize in a particular task. For this reason, the types of qualifications for this job range quite a bit. A high school diploma, however, is typically the minimum requirement for most construction workers, and a college degree may be recommended to be competitive in this field. Though many people get on-the-job training in construction, some take part in an apprenticeship, during which specific skills are learned. Those who wish to specialize in a certain aspect of construction also may obtain certification in their chosen subject.
A high school diploma is one of the basic construction qualifications, because this helps ensure that workers can communicate with others and do basic math. In addition, many high school students have been exposed to classes that involve woodworking and drawing, both of which can be useful in this field. Some employers also accept the equivalent of a high school diploma, such as a passing score on the General Educational Development (GED) exams. Though a college degree is not usually among the expected construction qualifications, those with an associate's degree, bachelor's degree, or merely some college are usually considered to have an advantage in this field, especially if they studied subjects that are often used in construction. These may include math, physics and drawing, though being bilingual or at least proficient at a second language often also helps.
It is possible to get a job in construction with no experience, but typically only as a general laborer starting at an entry-level wage. For this reason, some workers participate in an apprenticeship, which is usually a mixture of education in the classroom and experience at a construction site. In most cases, apprenticeships last from two to four years and include a variety of special skills, so those who take part in this type of program have in-depth construction qualifications that not everyone else has. Some of the most common subjects studied include construction of buildings and highways, treatment of hazardous materials, and environmentally-friendly practices in this industry.
Some people seeking advanced construction qualifications may focus on one skill, obtaining certification through training and exams. Common examples of specialized skills include concrete work, plumbing for new structures and welding. Not only can these construction qualifications help increase the chances of workers being hired in this industry, but they also may lead to higher-paying positions that demand continuing education in a particular subject.