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Career and Education Opportunities for Construction Workers in Seattle, Washington

There are many career and education opportunities for construction workers in the Seattle, Washington area. About 31,240 people are currently employed as construction workers in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 8% to 33,660 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for construction workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 20.5% over the next eight years. In general, construction workers perform tasks involving physical labor at building, highway, and heavy construction projects, tunnel and shaft excavations, and demolition sites.

A person working as a construction worker can expect to earn about $15 hourly or $32,920 per year on average in Washington and about $13 per hour or $28,520 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Construction workers earn less than people working in the category of General Construction generally in Washington and less than people in the General Construction category nationally.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can study to be a construction worker, among sixty-five schools of higher education total in the Seattle area. Given that the most common education level for construction workers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a construction worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Construction Worker

Construction Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, construction workers perform tasks involving physical labor at building, highway, and heavy construction projects, tunnel and shaft excavations, and demolition sites. They also may operate hand and power tools of all types: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, and a variety of other equipment and instruments.

Every day, construction workers are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to use lower back and abdominal strength. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for construction workers to measure and record openings and distances to mark areas where construction work will be performed. They are often called upon to clean and ready construction sites to remove possible hazards. They also control traffic passing near and around work zones. They are sometimes expected to load and identify building materials and tools, and distribute them to the appropriate locations, in line with project plans and specifications. Somewhat less frequently, construction workers are also expected to grind or polish surfaces such as concrete or wood flooring, using abrasive tools or machines.

Construction workers sometimes are asked to set up sewer and storm drain pipes, using pipe-laying machinery and laser guidance equipment. They also have to be able to mix ingredients to generate compounds for covering or cleaning surfaces and use computers and other input devices to operate robotic pipe cutters and cleaners. And finally, they sometimes have to spray materials such as water or stucco through hoses to wash or seal surfaces.

Like many other jobs, construction workers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Building Inspector. Inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.
  • Highway Maintenance Worker. Maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. Duties include patching broken or eroded pavement, repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences. May also mow or clear brush from along road or plow snow from roadway.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Construction Worker Training

Seattle Vocational Institute - Seattle, WA

Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 S Jackson, Seattle, WA 98144-2219. Seattle Vocational Institute is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 270 students. Seattle Vocational Institute has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-seven students in 2008.

Edmonds Community College - Lynnwood, WA

Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036-5912. Edmonds Community College is a medium sized college located in Lynnwood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,823 students. Edmonds Community College has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated thirty-six students in 2008.

Clover Park Technical College - Lakewood, WA

Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004. Clover Park Technical College is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,781 students. Clover Park Technical College has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated twenty students in 2008.

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Bates Technical College - Tacoma, WA

Bates Technical College, 1101 S Yakima Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405. Bates Technical College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,807 students. Bates Technical College has a less than one year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties which graduated fifty-eight students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Associate Constructor: The goal of the Constructor Certification process is to provide a voluntary, non-governmental certification designation.

For more information, see the American Institute of Constructors website.

Electrical & Instrumentation Pipeline Technician: Topics covered on exam include: Pipeline E & I Safety, Electrical Theory & General Knowledge, Inspect Test and Calibrate Pressure Switches and Transmitters, Test Overfill Protective Devices, Inspect and Calibrate Overfill Protective Devices, Verify or Set Protection Parameters for Programmable Controllers and/or other Instrumentation Control Loops, Actuator/Operator Adjustment, CPM Leak Detection, Maintain Fixed Gas Detection Equipment.

For more information, see the National Center for Construction Education and Research website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Asphalt: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged specifically in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Concrete: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certification in Construction Materials - Soils: This certification program was designed for field and laboratory technicians engaged in the testing and inspection of construction materials.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Stormwater and Wastewater System Inspection: This certification program is designed for engineering technicians engaged in the inspection of stormwater and wastewater systems and is applicable to both private and public sector technicians.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Environmental Technician: NREP provides an Environmental Registry listing for individuals conducting environmental technician job functions.

For more information, see the National Registry of Environmental Professionals website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.