Building Technology Courses and Certification Programs

Building technology courses can help students gain the skills needed to be successful in the construction field. Such coursework is usually done as part of a full certificate or degree program.

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Essential Information

The study of building technology covers the planning for the creation of residential or commercial properties, as well as structures. Programs in this subject are normally offered at the certificate or associate degree level, but building technology coursework may also be found in advanced programs for construction or architecture. Graduates of such programs may work as contractors or as managers if they have sufficient construction experience; however, many construction management jobs require a bachelor's degree with experience.

Building technology programs incorporate hands-on experience through labs that may be done on campus or at a building site. Students in both certificate and associate's degree programs learn the basics of construction drawing, blueprint reading, building codes and construction project management. They learn to construct walls, roofs, floors and foundations, as well as other interior and exterior structures. An associate's degree program usually goes more in depth and covers topics like field engineering, estimating, piping and electrical systems, and a capstone course may be included.

Some building technology programs prepare students for industry certification exams. Some of these certifications are offered by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).

List of Building Technology Courses

The following are descriptions of sample building technology courses found in certificate and degree programs.

Construction Drawing

Construction drawing classes teach students the basics of formulating a blueprint, how to draw to scale, how to calculate for flooring, how to design beams and other key components of architecture. This also includes teaching technique for lines and letters on a chart. Many classes in construction drawing focus on computer-aided design (CAD) and educate students on how to use computer programs like AutoCAD and Autodesk. Construction drawing is usually among the introductory classes taken by building technology students, and passing is required to move on further in the program. This course may be offered in two parts, labeled by the school as Construction Drawing I and II, and they must be completed in a sequence.

Building Codes

The primary concern of building technology is safety. Buildings codes classes give students a background in understanding the many rules and regulations that must be adhered to in any form of construction. Students might especially focus on the local and state laws governing the construction of new buildings and structures. They also learn about blueprint and plan reading, plumbing, electrical wiring and field inspections. This class is usually required and offered in the first or second year of an academic program.

Energy Efficiency

A class in energy efficiency teaches students how to incorporate energy-saving theories into building design. They also commonly learn to explore alternative sources of energy, such as solar, wind or geothermal energy. Topics covered include building methods and materials, new technologies and techniques, energy usage, residential energy efficiency and cost control. This class may be broken down into one of these many topics, depending on the expansiveness of a school's curriculum in the area of energy efficiency.

Project Management

Project management may be offered as one class or a series of classes leading up to a certificate in construction management. Topics include quality assurance, estimations, financing, negotiation strategies, human resources, contract law and safety practices. Building management classes can be essential for students who wish to one day own their own construction companies and may be considered an advanced class.

Certification for Building Technology Professionals

Those who study building technology aren't required to pursue formal certification to enter the workforce. Those who choose to become drafters can obtain voluntary certification through the American Design Drafting Association. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers certification for those who wish to specialize in hazardous materials and preventive construction and demonstrate mastery of the regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Construction managers may encounter workplaces that require certification through such agencies as the Construction Management Association of America or American Institute of Constructors. It should also be noted that a construction manager typically needs at least a bachelor's degree to seek employment, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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