Architecture & Construction


New York’s One World Trade Center took 10 years to build. Who designed and constructed it? You’re probably not surprised to learn that architects, civil engineers, construction laborers, cement masons and concrete finishers, and structural iron and steel workers participated in its development. You’ve also likely thought about the elevator installers and repairers who installed 73 elevators, or about the heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers, plumbers, and electricians who created a healthy environment inside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

Think a bit more deeply and you’ll realize that cost estimators used their mathematic and analytic skills to help make decisions about the nearly $4 billion spent to construct the building. Construction managers coordinated the work of specialty trade contractors to ensure they provided quality work in a timely manner.

While North Carolina may not build a skyscraper as tall as One World Trade Center any time soon, the state’s construction industry is expected to grow and show increases in the occupations mentioned above. These occupations require educational backgrounds that range from high school diplomas to graduate degrees. Workers may find employment with plumbing, heating and air-conditioning contractors; landscaping businesses; electrical contractors; federal, state, and local government; and commercial building companies.

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Core Skills

The following Core Skills are necessary for success in these occupations.

  • Installation - Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the right tools
  • Equipment Maintenance - Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment
  • Equipment Selection - Deciding what kind of tools and equipment are needed to do a job
  • Operation & Control - Using equipment or systems
  • Troubleshooting - Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions
  • Management of Material Resources - Managing equipment and materials


Career Pathways



Career Story

Justin Johnson

Wake Technical Community College

Diploma, Plumbing

"I wanted to make something of myself."

Justin Johnson was on track to graduate from high school when circumstances threw a wrench into his plans. He dropped out of school to go to work to help support his family. He worked odd jobs for years before deciding to get his GED at Wake Tech. “I wanted to make something of myself,” he says.

Justin earned his GED, but he wasn’t ready to stop there. He wanted to further his education and decided to enroll in the plumbing program at Wake Tech Community College. Why plumbing? “It was hands-on,” he says, “and it challenged me. I knew I didn’t want a desk job!”

While still a student, Justin got a job at Guilford Plumbing Supply Company and started learning the nuts and bolts of the industry. He says he’d like to own his own business someday, but for now, he takes great pride in being the first in his family to go to college – and satisfaction in knowing he’s building skills that can help him create a better life for himself and others. “It’s a pride thing,” Justin says. “I want to look back and say I helped people.”

Go to Career Cluster Matrix to find occupations by cluster and interest type.