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Career and Education Opportunities for Construction Workers in Charleston, West Virginia

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for construction workers in the Charleston, West Virginia area. There are currently 8,320 jobs for construction workers in West Virginia and this is projected to grow by 5% to 8,690 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for construction workers are expected to grow by about 20.5%. Construction workers generally 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 $12 per hour or $25,830 per year on average in West Virginia and about $13 hourly or $28,520 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for construction workers are not quite as good as in the overall category of General Construction in West Virginia, and not quite as good as the overall General Construction category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Charleston where you can study to be a construction worker, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Charleston area. The most common level of education for construction workers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Charleston include:

  • Bricklayer Helper. Help brickmasons, blockmasons, or tile and marble setters by performing duties of lesser skill. Duties include using, supplying or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Construction Worker Training

Fayette Institute of Technology - Oak Hill, WV

Fayette Institute of Technology, 300 West Oyler Avenue, Oak Hill, WV 25901. Fayette Institute of Technology is a small school located in Oak Hill, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 24 students. Fayette Institute of Technology has a one to two year program in Construction Trades, Other Specialties.

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: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.