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Construction jobs are varied, plentiful

(ran South Pinellas, Tampa, Pasco editions)

The boom in the housing market, which has tapered off slightly in recent months, still has tens of thousands of jobs for individuals interested in the construction industry. Economists are uncertain how long the building sector will experience such a strong market. Many expect the growth to continue as long as interest rates remain relatively low.

Opportunities range from professional occupations such as architects and civil engineers to building contractors to relatively low-skill positions. The last mentioned is where most of the jobs are found and can offer some a career and others, who have lost their jobs, a reasonably quick way to earn an income. The following are some occupations to consider.

Electricians are skilled craftsmen who install and test electrical equipment. These can be in lighting, communication, air-conditioning or other systems.

The ability to work with blueprints and complex circuitry is paramount.

Most electricians in building construction learn the trade working as an apprentice for three years or more. The on-the-job training is supported by many hours of classroom instruction.

A mathematical aptitude is needed, along with the ability to understand how electronics work.

The U.S. Department of Labor indicates the average electrician earns more than $20 an hour.

In the semiskilled professions, the types of jobs created are very diverse, with some paying quite well for experienced and well-trained people.

Drywall workers are a major part of the industry. They are typically divided into installers and tapers. Installers set up and place the drywall sections to the framework of the building. Tapers prepare the sections by taping and finishing the sections. They also fill joints between the sections with a compound.

Drywall workers are trained on the job. Training generally takes from a few weeks to a few months.

The average hourly income for people in the trade is more than $15 an hour.

An occupation not typically thought of in construction is that of glaziers. These craftsmen cut and install glass. Because of the numerous high-end homes and other structures being built requiring nontypical window configurations, glaziers often go to the site of the construction. If not, they work in a shop.

Like drywall workers, they are trained on the job. Training usually takes several months.

The Department of Labor indicates the average hourly wage for a glazier to be about $16. Those with good expertise can earn considerably more.

Construction laborers are generally thought of right away when thinking of positions in the industry. And there is good reason: They are needed everywhere.

Laborers are typically considered nonskilled; however, many are in fact skilled. They may be involved in environmental remediation (in older buildings undergoing construction activity), handling machines for digging, installing building materials or assisting craftsmen. In the less skilled areas they may clean up loose materials or load or unload trucks. No major construction site is complete without them.

Becoming a laborer usually requires no special training. Most learn on the job.

According to the Department of Labor, the average laborer earns more than $12 an hour. With overtime pay of time-and-a-half, wages can increase to nearly $20 an hour. The area you live in can make a big difference in earnings.

Although the construction industry tends to be cyclical, the economy should continue to see a lot of building for a considerable time, meaning lots of jobs. With the range of occupations needed to fill the need for employment, you should be able to find a suitable profession.