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If you have many years of experience as a tradesperson, you might be thinking about advancing your career by becoming a foreman. Foremen and forewomen are experienced workers who lead and supervise crews of skilled and unskilled workers to complete a variety of projects. Foreman jobs exist wherever there are workers in construction, machine shops, the trades and industrial settings. There are also a variety of specialties: For example, you could become a carpentry, electrical, landscape or construction foreman, to name a few.
Being promoted to a foreman might seem like a big step and a huge challenge. But when you’re ready to use all the skills and knowledge you’ve accumulated in your field, it’s sure to be a rewarding job with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.
Average foreman salaries in the U.S. vary depending on your location, the type of work you do and whether or not you’re a licensed tradesperson. Average foreman salaries currently range from $47,000 to $74,000 annually.
In any trade or industry, when you first take a leadership position, your salary will be at the lower end of the range. More experienced foremen can earn excellent wages and benefits. Notably, too, skilled foremen in the trades tend to earn higher wages than those without a trade.
As a foreman, you’ll be acting as your employer’s representative on the job. You’ll be responsible for training and supervising workers, apprentices, journeymen and others in your trade. The skills and experience you’ve built up are valuable, and passing that knowledge on to others will be a key part of your job.
When overseeing your crew, you’ll still take part in the physical labor, so you’ll need to stay physically fit and strong. You’ll also need leadership, communication and interpersonal skills in order to motivate your team to complete projects properly, safely and on schedule. You’ll assess workers’ skills before assigning tasks, ensuring they use appropriate safety equipment and follow all safety procedures.
As for your hours of work, you’ll need to be flexible. A foreman’s job is a highly responsible position that varies according to the demands of each project or industry. You could have regular daytime hours, or you might work during the night and weekends. Normally, you’ll work around 40 hours each week, with the possibility of overtime. You’ll likely report directly to a general contractor, project manager, owner or other stakeholder.
Workers look up to you as their foreman, which means your own conduct on the job should be exemplary. Whether you’re planning the work, doing quality control checks or providing praise for a job well done, your crew will learn from you by example. You’ll need to do a consistently excellent job at the highest standard to expect the same quality from others. As a foreman, you’ll be involved in:
As a foreman or forewoman, you can work almost anywhere in the U.S. right now. And while opportunities abound from coast to coast at the moment, California, Florida and Texas lead the way in terms of the number of foreman jobs currently available.
Although a foreman leads and supervises other workers, you’ll sometimes need to roll up your sleeves and do some of the work yourself. You’ll often need to show your crew how to perform tasks. Once you’ve become a foreman, you’ll have additional duties and will need the following:
The education needed to be a foreman depends on the type of position you are interested in. For some jobs as a foreman, you’ll need at least a high school graduation diploma followed by an apprenticeship in a trade. Most trades require courses in math as well as technical training related to your field. You’ll also need experience working as a fully qualified journeyperson. Only after several years of work in your field will you be considered for a position as a foreman.
Construction foremen may not need to have a specific education, but rely heavily on the knowledge and experience they’ve built up in their chosen field. Many employers prefer a candidate who has thorough knowledge of equipment and tools, combined with an ability to lead and train staff. In some jobs, you’ll need to obtain specific certification for your industry.
As a foreman with many years of supervisory and project experience, you’ll be an expert in many aspects of management, positioning you as a candidate for higher-level jobs in your industry. With your knowledge and experience, you could be promoted to construction manager, project manager or superintendent. Connect with Randstad if you’re ready to start exploring career opportunities.