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Old 10-10-2009, 02:28 PM
 
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I got a degree in liberal arts and I was thinking about going back to school to get another degree in Construction Management. Do you think I should do this or should I just try to find a job? I know the construction industry is not the place to be right now, but what about a few years from now? Also, construction is booming right now in places around the world such as Dubai.

By the way: I would be using the GI Bill to go back to school to pay for my degree. I would not take out any loans or get myself into debt.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:49 AM
Rei
 
Location: Los Angeles
494 posts, read 1,757,445 times
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What type of construction field are you interested in? Architectural, transportation, water or environmental or what?

I would recommend you going back for a degree in civil engineering with emphasis in environmental OR water resources. It is a basic necessity and in many places in this world, water is scarce resources especially in Saudi (if you're interested in going there). In some places (eg Singapore) EnvE are needed to process pee into drinkable water.
The stuff you learn in civil engineering/water resources will provide you enough background should you want to do CM in the future.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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Just to let you know, construction is NOT booming in Dubai.
Construction is suffering as much if not more in Dubai than the rest of the world.

Construction projects are being canceled and put on hold almost daily. Financial troubles are plaguing developers and investors are wondering where there money is; many are crying for refunds. The Dubai boom was one of the largest, and the bust is looking to be one of the worst as well...

But if you can use a GI bill to get a free education, absolutely get for it. I would never turn down a chance for a free education.
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Old 10-16-2009, 06:21 AM
 
5,938 posts, read 4,670,389 times
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If you can afford to go for a second degree while not having to work full-time, take advantage of that. I have no input on whether a construction management degree is a good choice or not.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Central Ohio
10,802 posts, read 14,861,526 times
Reputation: 16460
Quote:
Originally Posted by heeha View Post
I got a degree in liberal arts and I was thinking about going back to school to get another degree in Construction Management. Do you think I should do this or should I just try to find a job? I know the construction industry is not the place to be right now, but what about a few years from now? Also, construction is booming right now in places around the world such as Dubai.

By the way: I would be using the GI Bill to go back to school to pay for my degree. I would not take out any loans or get myself into debt.
I suppose you can say I have been in commercial construction management since the mid 1970's and while it is ugly out there I believe I am seeing some definite improvement.

Of course it is going to get better it always gets better. The depressions of 1920 and 1930 followed by the recessions of 1946, 1971, 1980, 1990, 2002 and it has always improved.

It will improve when this one is over too which I suspect is just beginning to be underway.

I don't know if it is "construction management" that you want to get into. Civil engineering is good especially if you can get into something that requires certification such as

Civil Engineering Technology
Building Construction
Water/Wastewater Plants
Construction Materials Testing
o Asphalt
o Concrete
o Soils
Geotechnical
o Generalist
o Construction
o Exploration
o Laboratory
Land Management and Water Control
Erosion and Sediment Control
Transportation
Bridge Safety Inspection
Highway Construction
Highway Design
Highway Materials
Highway Surveys
Highway Traffic Operations
Highway System Maintenance and Preservation

Allow me to be frank and speak my opinion.

Most programs in college are worthless and unless you want to go into something like medicine, law, engineering (real engineering not computer or IT where the group appears to have hijacked what being an engineer means) or hard sciences you are probably better off not going into debt.

To many people getting that MBA so they can stand around congratulating each other how great they are is kind of funny when you think about. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and working at Starbucks. Meanwhile jobs for certified soils and materials testers are going begging all across the country and what is bizarre is while these jobs require certification they do not require college. What they require is dedication and time which nobody seems to want to put in anymore.

I don't have a degree, not even a two year community college degree but I do have certification. If I lost my job today I would have another job, one that paid more than a high school science teacher makes by Monday or Tuesday next week.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:01 PM
 
610 posts, read 3,008,996 times
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NICET4:

I have a few questions for you.

Are Fire Sprinkler Techs and Inspectors treated with respect or do people tend to look down on them?

How many hours per week does the average Fire Sp. Tech work once certified?

Are there any opportunities for work abroad? I'm assuming probably not since other countries have their own laws/regs, etc.

Since you worked in commercial construction, and have seen and worked with other trades and career fields, are there any other fields that you know of that have similar job security and pay and do not require college?
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Central Ohio
10,802 posts, read 14,861,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heeha View Post
NICET4:

I have a few questions for you.

Are Fire Sprinkler Techs and Inspectors treated with respect or do people tend to look down on them?

How many hours per week does the average Fire Sp. Tech work once certified?

Are there any opportunities for work abroad? I'm assuming probably not since other countries have their own laws/regs, etc.

Since you worked in commercial construction, and have seen and worked with other trades and career fields, are there any other fields that you know of that have similar job security and pay and do not require college?
Treated with respect because there are so few of us. In some states we hold the company licenses even if we are simply employees. I hold company licenses in four states and all of them have my name on them below the company name. One even has my picture.

Everything submitted, such as engineering working drawings, has to have my signature on it nobody else can do it not even the owner of the company.

I would for a fantastic company and love my job but if something happened ot me they would really be hurt because they'd have 90 days to replace me or they lose their company license and with that they are out of business.

Level III and IV are considered fully competent and from registry as of last Monday there are 1,801 level III's and 1,068 Level IV's in the world.

Nebraska provides a good example.

Nebraska has 28 Level III's and 12 Level IV's.

Nebraska has a law where all people required to have a license be polled for income.... I guess this is to make sure they can afford the license.

Here's one of the forms.



Entry wage is $36,784.32 which would be the average wage paid to a Level I and II technician with less than 5 years experience.

$73,401.23 is the average wage for level III's and IV's or those having 5 or more years experience and certification. $61,195.93 is average wage for everyone.

I make more than $73,401.23 but I am a Level IV and I do have lots of experience.

I didn'g go to college.. I am a high school graduate but companies don't pay $85,000.00 a year plus full medical plus unlimited use of a vehicle and 401k's etc to employees they don't respect. Keep in mind these wages are in Nebraska and you can live pretty well on $85K in Nebraska.

I work when I want.

When it is busy I work a lot and when it isn't I go home early or take a few days off still collecting my paycheck. Remember, nobody, and I mean nobody, else can do my job. If I don't do it it doesn't get done.

Nobody punches a time clock.

I am not in Nebraska but I am willing to bet if I stepped off the bus in Omaha with $100 in my pocket on Monday morning I would have a job paying at least $60,000 by Wednesday.

Older workers are valued because we've seen it all and done it all. Experience over youth is very much valued.
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:56 PM
Rei
 
Location: Los Angeles
494 posts, read 1,757,445 times
Reputation: 240
Quote:
Meanwhile jobs for certified soils and materials testers are going begging all across the country and what is bizarre is while these jobs require certification they do not require college.
Actually... these jobs are also dependent on the type of construction. Soil techs working for a firm doing water, environmental and infrastructure is still doing fairly well in this recession. However, many of them working in commercial/residential construction have been laid off, too.
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Old 10-19-2009, 04:14 PM
 
610 posts, read 3,008,996 times
Reputation: 803
NICET4:

Being a Sprinkler Layout Tech/Inspector sounds like a decent job. I know you mentioned there are a lot of available jobs, but is there a high turnover in the sprinkler design industry? Do a lot of people work for a few years and then move on to something totally different?

If I was to complete an Associates in Layout Design, would that qualify me to take the NICET level 3 certification test?

What is the worst part about being a Sprinkler Layout Tech. You mentioned some of the benefits, but what are some of the "cons" of being Sprinkler Tech? Are the hours long? Is there ample room for advancement/promotion within a sprinkler company?
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Central Ohio
10,802 posts, read 14,861,526 times
Reputation: 16460
Quote:
Originally Posted by heeha View Post
NICET4:

Being a Sprinkler Layout Tech/Inspector sounds like a decent job. I know you mentioned there are a lot of available jobs, but is there a high turnover in the sprinkler design industry? Do a lot of people work for a few years and then move on to something totally different?
I've been doing this for over 30 years and never heard of anyone "moving on" to do something different.

There isn't a huge number of available jobs, nothing like twenty thousand or more, but the number of available jobs is very high compared to the number of qualified applicants.

Take California for example. As of the latest registry, dated October 13, 2009, there are 48 Level III's and 35 Level IV's living in the state for a total of 85 certified technicians. Why put an advertisement somewhere when you can directly snail mail every qualified individual in the entire state of California for $37.40 in postage?

Quote:
If I was to complete an Associates in Layout Design, would that qualify me to take the NICET level 3 certification test?
My understanding is the associates will allow you to take the test and even if you pass everything you will still wait three more years with two years given for school.

Quote:
What is the worst part about being a Sprinkler Layout Tech. You mentioned some of the benefits, but what are some of the "cons" of being Sprinkler Tech? Are the hours long? Is there ample room for advancement/promotion within a sprinkler company?
The worst part, especially if working for a smaller company, is nobody else can do your job. Three years ago I bid three large jobs, an entire school and two hospitals, hoping to get one. As luck would have it I got all three in addition to the normal work and I was swamped. You saw the numbers for California and with 2,881 certified Level III's and IV's in the US and Canada (NICET has reciprosity with Canada) that comes out to an average of only 57 certificate holders per state. Take the Canadians out and it's less than 55. That isn't a big number and when you consider half own interest in the company they are working for, this is common practice especially in smaller companies to keep the designers around, the already small number becomes even smaller. The downside was I worked an unreal number of hours over an eight month period. I had to because nobody else could do it and I knew it. As much as the company wanted to hire someone to help I knew it probably wouldn't happen because everyone is working and companies work pretty hard to keep their design technicians happy campers. What do you do, put an ad in the paper? Bwahhhh!

That's the biggest downside but with that comes a rather unique postion where you will always be the first hired and last fired wherever you go.

With a small company once you are fully certified you are already at the top. In most states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennesee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska to name a few I am directly familiar with) your name appears on their license so what else do you want?

If you want to own a company this is the surest route. For over half my life I owned part of a company and it was great but I stopped that a few years ago in preparation for retirement.

I suppose to you can be "design manager" if working for a large company or, if working for a large company, you can be a salesman but I always thought a salesman's job was a step down. I don't think much of salesman in this business.

SimplexGrinnell is a company that is owned by Tyco who owns a lot of other companies. They are always looking for people. Constantly.

Quote:
SimplexGrinnell is a global leader in the design, manufacture, installation, and service of a comprehensive array of networked and integrated fire alarm and suppression, security, and communications systems. Our continued success and growth has produced a need for a Fire Sprinkler Designer position in our Mobile AL location. Job Description:Receive project assignments from design supervisors, prepare fire sprinkler design drawings and layout of fire protection systems, hydraulically calculate fire sprinkler protection systems, and prepare fire protection submittals. Work closely with Sprinkler Design and Sales Managers to ensure timely and accurate project turn around. Must be able to work independently, with minimal supervision.Qualifications: 5 years experience in Fire Protection Design Comprehensive knowledge of NFPA 13 Working knowledge of hydraulic calculations, stock listing, project design/management Familiarity with general construction practices and terminology Excellent communication and organizational skills Proficient in AutoCAD, SprinkCAD, AutoSprink or similar sprinkler design software NICET III Certification preferred Valid driverýý s license with a good driving record High School Diploma or Equivalent Only applicants that possess the minimum qualifications will be considered. Candidates must successfully complete an employment background investigation and drug screening. SimplexGrinnell offers excellent compensation and benefits program, including educational assistance, employee stock plan and matching 401(k) plan. For more information on SimplexGrinnell, please review our home page at: www.simplexgrinnell.com SimplexGrinnell is an EEO Employer M/F/D/V
Job Benefits

Dental Insurance
Health Insurance
Holidays
Life Insurance
401K / Retirement Plan
Vacation
Vision Insurance

Employee Discounts, Employee Assistance Program, Tuition reimbursement, Computer Purchase Program, Employee Stock Purchase Program, Healthcare and Dependant Care Savings Plans; Long-Term Care Insurance; Disability Insurance
Don't kid yourself, what they want more than anything is that NICET III and everything else is fluff.

The only down side to Tyco is pay. They have some world class benefits but you'll be stuck making $55,000 when you should be making $70,000. But the plus side of that is they do not overwork their people. You'll basically work 8 to 5 and be paid overtime when you work. But the plus side would be after 10 years you could easily be a district manager with someone like Grinnell.
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