Should a contractor pursue a construction management degree?

Posted on November 09, 2010

While experience on the job in construction is helpful, it rarely prepares someone to become a good contractor. Because construction is a business it deals with costing, buying, cash flow, financing, ect. In order to become a good contractor you need to strike a balance between the construction expertise needed to get the job done with good business sense to manage your workers and cash flow.

Construction management is incredibly helpful for aspiring contractors because it teaches the kinds of things that you can’t learn on the job as a construction worker. The degree will prepare you to do good project control and development as well as teach you the basics of value analysis and financial management. Learning these types of things will often make the difference between a profitable contracting company and a contractor just making ends meet. Nowadays construction management degrees include coursework on computers so that a contractor can use them as tools for estimating, planning, scheduling, and communicating effectively with customers and potential customers.

If you get your construction management degree it also looks good if you choose to target mid-sized to large companies. Mid-sized companies especially are looking for professionally trained contractors that can deliver within budget and on time because they typically don’t have a lot of extra money to spare. As a contractor if you share with your client that you are formally educated in building codes and standards, inspection procedures, and accounting they are far more likely to trust your advice, and believe your estimate.

Ultimately there is no real disadvantage for a contractor to learn more about management and business. And if for some reason you need to shut down your contracting business the degree will make you much more attractive to possible future employers.

Top reasons to become a Licensed Professional Engineer

Posted on November 08, 2010

1. It is required for anyone who wants to become a consulting engineer. All Consulting engineers must hold a P.E.

2. If you want to to sign and seal official engineering paperwork to a public authority you will need to hold your P.E. Note that this applies when submitting documents for a private client to the public authority.

3. The P.E license makes a significant difference when looking for employment and keeping employment. Because the license allows you to do so much more employers are more willing to retain their P.Es, and hire P.Es that have otherwise similar credentials as another engineer.

4. In most states engineers are required to continue their education, this applies to P.Es and this is especially valuable because companies who have P.Es will often pay for continuing education which allows P.Es to progress in their knowledge and skills at the expense of the employer.

5. Often time P.Es get a higher pay rate and occasionally get hiring bonuses just for holding their P.E. In addition to that if you get your P.E many companies will pay you a bonus just for getting it.

6. If you ever want to become a professor or teacher most educational institutions, especially the better ones are starting to require their faculty to get their P.E.

7. If you want to get promoted or hold certain positions in Utility, Industry and government jobs a P.E is required. This also allows you to take advantage of promotions earlier on in your career to get the experience you need to make it to the top.

8. Due to the movement of in the economy to a more globally integrated one, the P.E may become an internationally recognized license if you do work for international firms. Getting it now will prepare you to handle the shifting nature of engineering jobs and international collaboration.

The types of jobs available for people holding labor relations degrees

Posted on November 06, 2010

The labor relations degree track is relatively new to colleges but the job it prepares students for has been around for a long time. Since the middle ages when traders guilds started, people ranging from factory managers to merchants to kings have needed to interact with their labor forces and negotiate. Labor relations itself, as a part of human resources in general helps prepare you for the following jobs: Employment and recruiting specialist, Compensations manager, Employee assistance manager, and director of industrial relations.

As an employment and recruiting specialist you will be in charge of finding and placing new employees for your company, or possibly for a recruiting firm. You will get to read resumes do interviews and evaluate potential applicants. This can be done both with your existing employees or brand new applicants depending on the position.

If you get a job as a compensation manager you can expect you will be expected to create or evaluate the company pay system and be responsible for making sure employees are paid fairly. You will also get opportunities to develop other non-pay reward systems for the firm’s employees. Similar to a compensation manager you could become a benefits manager and be responsible for the health insurance, pensions, and other benefits that the company provides to its employees.

If you become an employee assistance manager you will get to develop and implement programs designed to promote healthy living, workplace safety, and career counseling for employees. IN addition you will also get to help ensure that employees get their physical fitness and medical fitness evaluated properly and fairly.

If you succeed in your career you may even get an opportunity to become the director of industrial relations. IN many cases a person will have experience already in human resources or working at that company and go back to school to get to their labor relations degree to help them be competitive for this position. As the director of labor relations you will negotiate with unions, resolve disputes, and implement grievance policies company wide.

Is marketing as glamorous as it seems to be on the television show Mad Men?

Posted on November 06, 2010

With the rise in popularity of the AMC television show Mad Men, many people are interested in what an actual marketing career will look like. Specifically, is it as glamorous and free-spirited as the employees of “Sterling Cooper” make it look? Can you still make tons of cash, live the high life, all the while shaping the American mind with your clever ads and marketing campaigns? There of course is no easy answer to this question. Marketing still has a very large impact on the American psyche and with the advent of the internet, mobile devices, smart phones, and almost non-stop advertising there is very little chance that this will change any time soon. However, the nature of American life has changed quite a bit from the time period when the show is based.

It probably goes without saying, but there are many things that have changed since the 1960’s that will no longer be true of a marketing professional. First, the abundance of smoking and drinking on the job has most certainly stopped. While you may be able to drink alcohol in limited quantities depending on your employer’s preference, it most certainly will not be at your personal leisure and drunkenness will most certainly not be tolerated. Smoking of course has been largely outlawed indoors in most states and it is probably not a wise health decision. Interoffice relationships have also changed drastically. No longer is the sexism, racism and flagrant disregard for proper professional relationships tolerated. In fact, most companies have long held that two co-workers and especially supervisor and employee romantic relationships are forbidden.

That being said, there is still a lot of room for those who wish to create marketing campaigns for companies small or large. Due to the large amount of companies in our country and the world there will always be a need for marketing.

Those who become successful in marketing will probably not be a specialist in one particular area. Instead they will be a student of everything around them: culture, art, language, people, and psychology. These things all play a role in marketing. If this sounds interesting to you consider pursuing a bachelors of marketing through one of the variety of online degree programs.

The differences and similarities between Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Posted on November 05, 2010

To start off, the terms paralegal and legal assistant actually mean different things depending on what part of the country you live in. But from a legal standpoint the courts view them as synonymous. Interestingly enough the same is not true of NALA (The National Association of Legal Assistants) they offer separate certifications and credentialing programs for paralegals and legal assistants respectively. According to the June 2006 issue of Legal Assistant Today 94% of those surveys preferred the title paralegal because it sounded more professional.

Practically, paralegals often assist lawyers when it comes to preparing court filings, researching cases, and even drafting some documents under the lawyer’s supervision. In many cases a paralegal will have some kind of legal background already. A legal assistant can legally do all of the same things a paralegal can, however, many have come out of secretarial or clerical backgrounds and unless they have been working in law they don’t have the knowledge to do much legal work independently. As both gain experience working and assisting lawyers practically, the difference begins to make less and less of a difference. And if someone has the legal aptitude the lawyers are well within their legal rights to have legal assistants and paralegals help on many facets of various cases.

Which is best for you? There really isn’t a best option, and with current statistics available the average income for both is about the same; somewhere between $30-50k a year. If your goal is to become lawyer in the future you may want to go to school first to become a paralegal because generally it will mean that you get to start working on legal writing which will no doubt help you in law school. In any case getting a certification is highly beneficial for both legal assistants and paralegals.