Skilled trades careers must always begin with training.  Pre-apprenticeship programs are an excellent way to get introduced to the  skilled trades and become more comfortable with the  construction evnironment.  Pre-apprentices are  empowered  to learn  the basics of  construction  in a fast-paced environment that utilizes both the classroom experience as well as shop training.  Introductory topics  such as correct use of  tools and   workplace  safety  are covered. The length of  pre-apprentice training varies by trade, typically hovering around the six-week mark.

Upon completion of a pre-apprenticeship program, individuals can  continue their training through an  apprenticeship program.  An apprentice is a paid worker who is enrolled in a special training program administered by an employer together with a labor organization or trade association. Most apprentices work in construction trades.  Apprenticeships offer many growing job opportunities, as construction-related jobs in Illinois are expected to grow substantially.

Apprenticeships also provide good wages.  Apprentices typically start out earning approximately half of a "journeyman" tradesworker's wage.  The pay scale is gradually increased over the length of the apprenticeship.  Once training is completed the apprentice graduates to journeyman status.  Most apprenticeships take three to five years to complete.  The typical program includes 2,000 hours of on-the-job training plus at least 144 hours per year of classroom instruction.

Click through the various Skilled Trades below to learn more about these careers.  The Administrative, Design, and Management positions in the construction industry may also be accessed below.

Illinois two- and four-year undergraduate engineering and construction management programs may accessed here.

Below, you can find the median annual wages for the different construction trades, as collected by the U.S. Department of  Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2016. These figures do not account for  fringe benefits such as   healthcare  and welfare.

Trades  Median Annual Wage 
boilermaker  $                            62,060
bricklayer  $                            73,430
carpenter  $                            62,380
cement mason  $                            62,780
laborer  $                            56,180
operating engineer  $                            74,990
electrician  $                            73,160
mechanical insulation worker  $                            76,590
plumbers/pipefitters  $                            75,530
structural ironworkers  $                            86,640
sheet metal worker  $                            74,890
   
Professional  
surveyor  $                            64,500
civil engineer  $                            90,030
electrical engineer  $                            91,080
envirionmental engineer  $                            81,570
health & safety engineer  $                            82,310
mechanical engineer  $                            92,290
architect  $                            80,260