A Parent’s Guide to Construction Education for Young Women

Parents, did you know that a career in construction can offer a secure future for your daughter? It can  be fulfilling, financially rewarding and offer growth potential. More than laborers and skilled trades workers, construction jobs cover a wide range of occupations, including project managers, drone operators, data analysts, business owners, and accountants. What’s more, there are many paths to a construction career. Here is an overview of the construction education opportunities for young women to get started.

Construction education for young women


Fun summer camps, like Camp NAWIC, offer a hands-on learning experience and the opportunity to discover different construction jobs while enjoying camaraderie with other girls. Depending on the camp, participants may learn trade skills like carpentry or plumbing, meet female construction professionals such as engineers and project managers, visit building sites, or even get interview or resume tips.

Vo-Tech high schools
Vocational-technical high schools are designed to prepare high school students to enter the workforce upon graduation. With this type of construction education, Students receive a high school diploma and often a certification in their chosen field. Programs may include construction trades, architectural CAD/design, heavy equipment operations, and more.

Apprenticeships offer hands-on, real-world construction education in the trades, such as plumbing, carpentry, and electrical. Apprentices build their skills while on the job, earning pay right away without incurring the debt of a college degree program. The US Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau and the Office of Apprenticeship are advancing the needs and interests of working women and ensuring that women have access to good paying, family-sustaining jobs and apprenticeship opportunities. Learn more and find opportunities at www.apprenticeship.gov/employers/diversity-equity-inclusion-accessibility/women-in-apprenticeship

Trade schools and colleges
These institutions provide in-depth skill development in a specific area, awarding a degree or certificate upon completion, typically eight months to two years. This form of construction education can prepare women for careers as electrician, plumber, welder, drone operator, or construction manager, to name a few.

Traditional degree programs
For young women interested pursuing a career such as construction executive, project manager, field engineer, cost estimator, or scheduler, a bachelor’s degree program can provide a solid background in construction principles and the opportunity for further specialization. Careers such as engineer or architect often require graduate level studies. In addition, many women pursue degrees in affiliated fields such as accounting, human resources, or marketing before finding employment in construction. Scholarships can ease the financial burden for young women interested in a construction education. The NAWIC Founders’ Scholarship Foundation (NFSF) awards over $100,000 to worthy recipients in construction-related programs each year.

Certificate and other construction education programs
These construction education programs allow learners to take specialized courses, sometimes virtually, to advance their careers. The NAWIC Education Foundation offers certification programs for Construction Drawings Professional, Construction Bookkeeping Technician, Construction Document Technician, Construction Industry Specialist, Construction Industry Technician, and Estimating and Scheduling Practitioner.

Many women in construction come to the industry through associated fields, such as accounting, human resources, sales and marketing. Construction education programs like the Construction Accounting University, can enhance skills in these fields with specific industry knowledge. Created by NAWIC and Deltek ComputerEase, the Construction Accounting University webinar series guides contractors through the transformation from standard accounting methods to specialized construction accounting methods.

Supporting all women in construction

The National Association of Women in Construction provides women in construction, in the field or in the office and at all levels of experience, with support, networking and mentorship, leadership training, and construction education opportunities. A student membership is a great way for women students enrolled in construction education programs at institutions of higher education, vocational training programs and apprenticeship programs to make connections and get support to advance their career. To take their career to the next level, the NAWIC Leadership Academy builds on more than 70 years of elevating women in construction to help female builders develop their own unique brand of leadership.

NAWIC has more than 5,500 members in 120 chapters across the US, and affiliates across the globe. Contact a chapter near you to learn more.