Click here to hear CEO Fran Colantonio and Michael Sanchez CCO of Shawmut Design and Construction talk about careers in construction on WBZ Radio's NightSide with Dan Rea.  

The construction industry is booming, but there is a problem:  a severe shortage of skilled workers.  Twenty percent of the workforce will retire over the next five years.  

Are you a self-starter?  A creative thinker?  A person who takes charge?  If so, a construction career may be perfect for you. First, let’s debunk the 6 biggest myths about the industry.


MYTH #1:  Construction jobs are dead-end jobs.

False.  There are plenty of ways to advance from entry-level positions to a CEO/company owner, as shown below.


MYTH #2:  Construction jobs do not pay well.

Not true.  Check out this sample salary comparison chart* below.  The construction jobs do not require a college degree.  That’s right – great pay, with no college debt!













Click here for the average trade hourly wage rates in the Boston area effective January 13, 2016.


 MYTH #3:  Construction careers are for “below-average” students. 

False.  Things have changed dramatically in the past twenty years; we now live in a technology- and knowledge-based economy.  Craft workers and professionals must have the brains, skills, training and talent to use the software, tools and methods needed to design and perform high-quality construction work.  The requirements vary widely among occupations, from on-the-job experience to apprenticeship programs to bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

Visit http://byf.org/professions for job descriptions, education options and qualifications.  Note that the salaries quoted there are 25% less than Boston salaries.


MYTH #4:  Construction careers are only for men.

Not true at all.  The facts are:

  • Physically fit women can perform the majority of construction work

  • There is considerable demand for women in leadership roles and on the job site as most companies now focus on diversification

  • Women bring powerful skills and talents to the work site, such as communication and relationship building, which lead to greater innovation and improved teamwork

  • The talent shortage and the potential for high salaries attract women who previously held managerial positions in other industries

  • Nationally, the gender pay gap is 10% narrower in construction than in all other industries

Learn about education resources, scholarships and opportunities for women from the National Association for Women in Construction at http://www.nawic.org/nawic/default.asp and http://www.nawicboston.org/index.html.

Learn about life as female member of a local carpenter’s union by checking out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmIhVESVcyA.


MYTH #5:  Construction careers are not rewarding.

Not so.  In fact, they allow you to:

  • Earn good money to train for your career in apprenticeship programs
  • Be challenged on a variety of projects in all kinds of locations
  • Use your hands AND your brain
  • Work outside, if you prefer
  • Feel a sense of pride working on a team
  • Work hard and have something to show for it, every day
  • Feel a sense of accomplishment when a job is completed
  • Learn to master a trade; become an expert
  • Potentially avoid college debt


MYTH #6:  There is limited training or education available. 

In fact, many Massachusetts schools, training centers, colleges and universities offer online certificate programs and degrees in construction-related fields. 

For up-to-date information, visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/das/apprenticeship-program/related-instruction.html.

To become a skilled worker in many construction trades, students must learn through an apprenticeship program, which typically runs from two to five years. 

As an Apprentice, you will be paid to work on the job under a highly skilled tradesman and attend classroom hours of training.  Your pay will increase in each year of your apprenticeship.  Once you complete your apprenticeship, you become a Journeyman, earning Journeyman’s wages.

Acceptance into an apprenticeship program remains competitive for many trades.  Before you apply to the trade you are interested in, make your application stand out by working as a helper for a couple months; join a pre-apprentice program; and/or do some related coursework.

Click here for some help figuring out What Trade(s) to Explore.  See how your skills and interests match up with various trades.

Find Massachusetts Apprenticeable Jobs at http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/das/apprenticeship-program/apprenticeable-occupations/.

 See the MA Apprentice Handbook to learn what is expected of an apprentice at http://www.mass.gov/lwd/docs/dat/apprentice-handbook-508.pdf.

See the MA Joint Apprenticeship Directory for more details on the trades and union apprenticeship requirements at http://www.mass.gov/lwd/docs/dat/apprenticeprogdir03192016.pdf.

Check out the Registered Pre-Apprentice Programs for opportunities to gain experience before applying for an apprenticeship program at http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/das/registered-programs.pdf.

See All Active Approved Sponsors for a list of Massachusetts companies that offer non-union apprenticeship programs at http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/das/.

Check out our featured construction careers videos to learn what trade workers and construction professionals do and why they find their work so rewarding.

See our Resources page for more details on occupations, wages and other videos to explore.

Click here to download a PDF version of our MCAP Guide to Construction Careers.