Building Technician Career Info

Explore the work responsibilities of a building technician. Learn about educational requirements, necessary skills, salary and job outlook to decide if this is the right career choice.

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Career Definition

Building technicians work on construction sites, supporting construction managers, surveyors, architects and other workers. They assist in estimating material costs, negotiating for and buying materials, and checking the quality of suppliers. Other duties of a building technician may include monitoring construction progress, supervising contractors, attending project meetings, inspecting small projects and getting necessary permits.

How to Become a Building or Construction Technician

Education Requirements

Entry-level building technician jobs may be available to those with a high school diploma and construction experience. However, a certificate from a technical school or an associate or bachelor's degree in building construction, construction science or construction management from a 2- or 4-year institution may lead to positions of greater responsibility. Typical courses for prospective building technicians include construction materials, materials testing, surveying and construction estimating. Building technicians also may need a commercial driver's license and operating licenses for various construction vehicles.

Skills Required

Building technicians perform a variety of functions, from management to hands-on work. Thus, their skill set must include the abilities to operate power tools and construction equipment and interpret plans and drawings. They also must have teamwork skills and the communication skills needed to answer public questions about a project.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) forecasts average job prospects (9% increase between 2012-2022) for building technicians, whom it categorizes alongside maintenance and repair workers, in the coming years, although construction tends to ebb and flow with the economy. The BLS also predicts that fewer men and women will seek jobs as building technicians because of a perception of 'blue collar bias' that gives little status to non-professional occupations. The median annual salary for building technicians is $35,210, according to the BLS as of May 2012.

Alternative Careers

Construction Manager

For those seeking more supervisory responsibilities on a construction site, becoming a construction manager may be the right fit. Construction managers create plans that include timelines, budgetary figures and costs. They also work with architects to interpret blueprints, oversee subcontractor activities, resolve issues and make sure all regulations are adhered to. Prior work experience in the construction industry is all some may need to work in construction management, but most large businesses only hire those with a bachelor's degree in construction science, engineering, architecture or a related field. The American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America offer professional certification that could provide a competitive advantage when seeking employment.

As reported by the BLS in May of 2012, construction managers earned a median income of $82,790. The BLS also predicted employment growth of 16% for these managers during the 2012-2022 decade.

Surveyor

If locating and mapping geographic details and boundaries of future construction sites sounds interesting, consider becoming a surveyor. Surveyors take land measurements, mark municipal and private property boundary lines, create maps and reports, research public records and make recommendations about where to build. They incorporate the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to assure complete accuracy in their measurements. To qualify for employment, a bachelor's degree in surveying or civil engineering is usually required, and licensure is required in every state. Licensing involves not only completing educational requirements, but also includes passing two exams and obtaining around two years of work experience with a licensed surveyor.

Job opportunities for surveyors should increase by 10% from 2012-2022, according to the BLS, and the median salary for surveying professionals was $56,230 in 2012.

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