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Pathways to becoming a registered Builder

by Emily Gorsky
Posted: October 26, 2020

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**This is an updated post**

Currently, there are more than 1.15 million employed in the building and construction industry. This equates to around 9% of all jobs in Australia! By 2023, it’s predicted there’ll be a further 118,880 jobs added.  

 As the industry continues to grow, so does the demand for qualified professionals to work on construction projects. There’s never been a better time to join this booming industry. 

If you’re considering working in the building and construction industry, there are several pathways you can take.

Read on to find out what the day-to-day looks like for someone employed in construction, and what key steps you can take to get started in a rewarding, stable career.  

registered builder

What does working in building and construction actually involve?

Working in building and construction means you’ll be up at the crack of dawn to start work early on the jobsite. It can be a physically demanding role, but there are also quite a lot of perks.   

The physical demands of working in construction mean that Builders are required to be reasonably fit. Most jobs require heavy lifting, climbing, as well as handling tools and machinery.  

As a Builder, you might work for someone else or for yourself. With enough experience, you could see yourself overseeing the work of a jobsite and organizing a team of people to get the job completed on time. 

Some of the tasks involved in a Builder’s day-to-day include:  

  • Reading technical material and interpreting plans and building codes. 
  • Using machinery and assisting with equipment. 
  • Maintaining and repairing tools and machinery. 
  • Erecting and dismantling structures such as scaffolding. 
  • Assembling and installing fixtures. 
  • Excavation work. 
  • Communicating with clients and preparing quotes.  

A Construction Manager has some of the same duties as a Builder. But as their role involves overseeing and supervising the progress of a worksite, they can also delegate work when necessary. Some parts of their job can be highly technical. 

Some of the most common activities Builders and construction managers are required to carry out include: 

  • Interpreting and explaining building plans to staff, as well as troubleshooting and problem solving. 
  • Budgeting and managing financial resources. 
  • Promoting compliance with environmental protection standards. 
  • Sourcing and supervising the use of building materials. 
  • Hiring and managing contractors. 
  • Ensuring that building codes, standards, and structural principles are applied correctly. 

3 steps to starting your career as a builder

1. Become a qualified builder 

Firstly, to become a Builder in Australia, you need to obtain a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in building and construction. Open Colleges offers several building and construction courses that can help you start your career in this thriving industry:

  • CPC50210 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) – This is a nationally recognised Diploma, which will help you fast-track your career. Delivered online, the course will develop your building and construction knowledge and enable you to plan, manage and supervise the complete construction of medium rise buildings.
  • CPC40110 Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) – By taking this course, you'll develop the skills and knowledge you need to move up the career ladder and become a Builder or Construction Manager. It’s a nationally recognised qualification that you can use across Australia. It even meets the education requirements for registration as a licensed builder in QLD, ACT, TAS and NT. As licensing varies from state to state, there may be extra requirements necessary to register though. In NSW, you will at the very least require this qualification, as well as 2 years' relevant industry experience.

registered construction worker

2. Complete necessary safety training and obtain your white card

In Australia, anyone who works on a construction site must have a white card. This is obtained only after completing a ‘General Construction Induction’ course.

The training covers best practices in the construction site, with the aim of reducing or eliminating risks, including basic health and safety. You can now get a white card online and it is recognised in all states and territories.

You'll need a white card if you become one of the following:

  • Site Manager, Supervisor, Surveyor, Labourer and Tradesperson
  • A person with access to operational construction zones (unaccompanied or not directly supervised by an inducted person)
  • A worker who is required to routinely enter operational construction zones

The white card can be obtained online or face-to-face through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). More information and a list of white card trainers can be found on the ‘Safe Work Australia’ website.

3. Gain the right experience

Now you have a solid educational foundation, it’s important to get some hands-on experience for the best chances of finding the job that’s right for you. Most states in Australia require at least 2 years’ experience and sometimes more, so you may need to work as an apprentice alongside an experienced Builder. Upon completing your studies, you can approach construction companies to gain work experience, or search online to find opportunities in construction.

Study building and construction online 

If you’re looking to become a Builder or Construction Manager in Australia, Open Colleges’ online building and  construction courses can give you the right foundation to get qualified and start your new career in this growing industry.  

You might be wondering how to study a hands-on course like this online. You can read more about how we make that happen by reading our blog: How to study a practical course online

If you’re ready to take the next step towards an exciting and rewarding career, enrol with OC today.  


Emily Gorsky

Emily is a freelance Writer focusing on career, education and personal finance. She strongly believes in living a balanced life. Her mission is to inspire others to engage in self-motivated learning and build their own path to success.

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