If you enjoy a challenge and you don't mind getting dirty, if you like working with your hands and enjoy working as a team, then a career in the construction trades may be a good fit.

Construction career opportunities include, but are not limited to, working in the field as a skilled craftsman, climbing up the ladder to management, working for your union as a business manager, or even starting your own contracting business.  Click Here to see our construction career ladder. The opportunities are limitless.

Construction careers offer women high wages and great benefits. The best thing about the wages for a woman in construction is that there is no glass ceiling. Every qualified journeyperson is paid the same. A woman can expect to earn 20-30% more in a union construction career than working non-union or working in a more traditional woman's career.

At the same time, construction is still a male-dominated field. Women make up only 3-4% of the construction workforce. That means that most women will find that they're the only woman on a crew or even a job site. However, the construction industry's urgent need for skilled workers creates opportunities for women to enter the field.

To work in the building trades, you must start as an apprentice. Apprenticeship programs provide an opportunity to get paid while working and learning a life-long skill. Apprentices in state-approved apprenticeship programs earn 40% of the prevailing wage in their area. This is about $15-20 per hour, plus benefits, when they begin the program. The rate increases each year until they complete the training and become a journeyman. The average union construction journeyman makes about $36.00 per hour in California, plus health and pension benefits.

Construction work is not easy. Its hard work but it has its rewards. The work is meaningful and challenging, and can even be fun. 

Annual Conference — Tradeswomen Build Nations

This event was launched in 2002 as Women Building California and has grown exponentially over the years. Now sponsored by NABTU (North America's Building Trades Unions), the conference offers a venue for apprentice and journey tradeswomen to attend workshops, mentor one another, meet other women in the same craft, and have a lot of fun. In the last few years, the conference has attracted more than 2,000 women from across the nation. Unfortunately, the 2020 conference has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Look to the NABTU website to find out plans for future conferences.

This event also offers a great opportunity for women who are interested in building trades careers to meet with women currently working in the trades and learn first-hand how to get started and be successful.