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How to Become a Construction Foreman

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If you work in construction, it pays to be a foreman. In 2008, the mean--or average--hourly wage for first-line supervisors and construction managers was $29.46, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These supervisors make up about 5 percent of all construction workers. They're often doing the same work as those they supervise, but with the added responsibilities of monitoring job progress and quality, tracking employee hours and monitoring safety procedures.

Learn a construction trade. Visit local community and technical colleges to see what courses they offer in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, masonry or general construction. Call local contractors to see if they will hire you for less-skilled work. As you work, watch how skilled tradesmen do their work and ask them for advice and instruction. Improve your basic math skills, which will be important in most trades. You should be able to mentally add, subtract, divide and multiply numbers quickly and accurately. Learn how to figure out square footage and volume and doing it quickly.

Learn management skills. Read books about managing people, materials, and time. Take a college or technical course on managing people, and more specifically on managing construction work if one is available. Don't overlook on line courses in management as a source of learning.

Find a job working in construction doing the kind of work that appeals to you. There are many different skills used in construction so you might choose carpentry, electrical, painting, plumbing, concrete, or mill work (cabinetry and trim) to name just a few. Look for jobs by talking with family and friends, checking the want ads in local papers and on line Web sites, and checking with your local government employment agency.

Work in your chosen specialty continuing to learn all you can about how the work is done. Also pay attention to new products and processes that become available so you can learn to work with them. Continue to learn about management through books and on line course, and formal coursework when you have the time.

Tell the people in your company who do the hiring that you are interested in becoming a foreman. Ask them for advice on the best ways to reach your goal. Every company is different so what you are looking for is some specific advice related to what the company wants in its foremen. Apply for foreman jobs as they become available by talking to your human resources manager, or other person who handles hiring.

Stay alert to opportunities in other companies where foremen may be needed and apply for those positions by contacting the companies and putting in an application for employment.

Tip

In construction attitude counts for a lot. Enthusiastic, knowledgeable workers can rise through the ranks quickly. Always continue learning about your trade, management and construction in general.

References

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