What Skills Will I Learn at Construction School?

Blog, Heavy Equipment School

The construction industry is more than meets the eye, more than pouring concrete or repairing uneven structures with tools. A career in the construction sector can be physically and mentally challenging. In spite of that, it provides an exciting and fast-paced environment where no two projects are the same, and the scope for career progression, development, and promotion is tremendous.

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, construction jobs are on the rise and are projected to increase by 25 percent by 2020.

To carry out these tasks, an individual needs to have a variety of skill sets. First, physical strength is crucial, as construction tasks require hard physical labor for long hours. Such tasks also need manual dexterity, coordination, in-depth perception, and sharp vision. In addition, construction workers must possess building and mechanical skills, and reading and mathematical knowledge to interpret blueprints correctly.

Anyone who wants to learn how to operate a crane, backhoe, digger, dozer, grader, excavator, or any other number of heavy machinery can learn best in formal training at a construction school, such as West Coast Training in Vancouver, Washington.

We offer comprehensive training programs in the field of construction. Including an 8-week heavy equipment operator course, a 4-week mobile crane operator, and 8-week crane operator/rigger courses, as well as seminars and exam services.

If you attend a construction school like ours in Vancouver, you’ll develop the following skills:

Design and Planning

Whether you’re leading a project or following someone else’s plan, you need to know how to interpret a blueprint and understand the design well enough to figure out the problems or gaps. Sometimes, you might even need to make important decisions, such as choosing what material to use or scheduling different phases of the project.

These are a few activities where you can put designing and planning skills to use:

  • Interpreting blueprints
  • Giving and following directions
  • Project management
  • Evaluating construction reports
  • Identifying the building process
  • Identifying material costs
  • Understanding the design

Building and Mechanical Knowledge

If an individual lacks building and mechanical knowledge, then they aren’t ready for a job in the construction sector. A construction worker must be familiar with building materials and have experience using tools involved in construction, restoration, and repair of buildings, roads, bridges, and other physical structures. Construction workers must be experienced in maintaining equipment, as well.

Whether you’re looking to work as a construction worker, a construction assistant manager, or an electrician, you need to be conscious of the construction job standards and regulations. Construction students receive extensive training in building regulations in a construction school. Understanding these laws will significantly increase your chances of being employed in the future.

Academic Knowledge Coupled with Practical, Hands-On Experience

At West Coast Training, you’re not just going to sit in a classroom and learn about what you’ll do in your construction jobs in the future. Our main emphasis is on providing extensive real-life experiences. You’re never going to be sitting around once you’re in the field, so you won’t just sit around in class.

You’ll learn the skills you need both in the classroom and through on-site, hands-on training. Approximately equal time is given to both environments, which is favorable because the skills you learn in each will treat you well throughout your career. Plus, the small class sizes in our heavy equipment training courses ensure you’ll have plenty of time to practice on actual machines.

The subjects covered in the classroom involve basic civil engineering, math, project layout, and basic survey. Basic survey is a very important skill in the construction sector, and you’ll use it on a multitude of projects.

In the field, you’ll experience training that reflects actual working conditions. We give students tasks like designed lifts, setting up cranes, and practicing smooth operating techniques, tandem lifts, blind lifts, tower erections, boom assembly, rigging, and signaling. You’ll also have the opportunity to train on multiple types of cranes. This includes rigging loads with hook blocks and overhaul balls and using the concrete bucket, clamshell, or drag-line attachments.

While we propose a variety of certifications and classes, you’re also welcome to specialize your training on one piece of equipment in particular. Of course, training on more machines can make you a more valuable asset in the eyes of future employers.

Learn In-Demand Skills

In the construction industry, cranes are in demand much more than any other heavy machinery. Why? Because they’re used in every construction project, and those cranes need an operator.

Crane operators earn more than others in the building and construction sector, so it’s an in-demand job. Nevertheless, it’s not an easy task for a company to find a professional crane operator. Most employers will leap at the chance to recruit someone who’s gone through specified training.

You’ll be prepared with a range of skills when you take a crane operator course such as those conducted by West Coast Training. In addition to operating a crane, you’ll learn how to monitor loads and signal, and you’ll have the opportunity to practice with various types of cranes, including mobile cranes and tower cranes.

At West Coast Training, you’ll also have the option to take an additional course to receive a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) after graduation. Having this license is going to be another way to benefit when looking for a job.

Safety Regulations and Practices

One major element of today’s construction industry that’s extremely important is safety. Construction sites are prone to accidents, as they always possess threats such as falling objects, dangerous machinery, and hazardous equipment.

Improved guidelines and increased regulations mean that employers are now more attentive than ever to proper workplace health and safety training for new recruits, something that’s offered in all construction schools. Learning from NCCCO- and NCCER-certified instructors will give you the skills to operate the necessary machinery while maintaining safety standards on every job site. With this in mind, West Coast Training utilizes certified staff members and gives great emphasis on safety.

Some Essential Facts About Construction Programs

  • Documents required to get into a construction school program are mainly a high school diploma or GED, vaccination records, and proof of residency status.
  • Some common skills taught in a construction school:
    • Construction safety
    • Blueprint reading
    • Advanced mathematics
  • According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of construction workers in 2018 was:
    • $34,810 for construction laborers and helpers
    • $93,370 for construction managers
    • $59,700 for construction and building inspectors
    • $47,810 for operating engineers and other construction equipment operators

In preparation for finding a position, a good construction school will go over and above machinery training and teach you how to put together a CV or resume, prepare you for job interviews, and provide valuable advice on where to find job listings and meet prospective employers.

In the past, you could just walk onto a construction site and get a job. Sporadically, this is still valid, but if you really want to optimize your profession and set yourself up for success, both in terms of safety and potential income, then you should begin your construction career with proper training.

If you live near Vancouver, Washington, and are interested in a construction job, West Coast Training offers top-notch training and certification programs. We focus on the overall development of students to equip them with the skills they need and what employers want as well. Our purpose is to help students optimize their earning capacity by providing them with the knowledge and skills they require to become leading experts in the industry.

Want to know more about our courses and programs? Contact us today.