If you like working with your hands, one of these careers in construction might be a good option for you. Whether you prefer residential or commercial construction, there are plenty of career paths to choose from.
If you’re considering a career in construction, it’s a good idea to know what types of jobs are available. Let’s look at some of the options for construction workers.
5 Most Popular Careers in Construction
1. Construction Laborer
As a construction laborer, you will handle many of the physical duties on a job site. You will work directly under the construction manager or foreman. It’s possible to be a construction laborer and specialize with a skill such as a carpentry helper, roofing helper, pipefitting helper, or another type of helper.
When you take on a career in construction as a laborer, you are responsible for the following:
- Clearing debris out from a structure being torn down
- Unloading any building materials for the construction site
- Securing materials and positioning them within the structures
- Operating light and heavy equipment
- Pouring foundations
If you’re a helper with a specific skill set, your job may revolve around that skill.
Construction laborers make an average salary of about $35K per year. If you’re in the top 10% of this career in construction, you can make more than $62K.
If you want to become a construction laborer, you won’t need any academic training. Most of these jobs are entry-level, but you can gain additional skills to advance. An apprenticeship or an associate degree can help you earn more money as a construction laborer.
One of the most in-demand careers in construction, carpenters are skilled workers. As a carpenter, you will likely work on new homes, but you may also work on factories, power plants, and other types of structures.
A carpenter will repair, construct, and install the framework in buildings. This may include building walls, door frames, floors, and other structures made of wood. The job responsibilities of a carpenter include:
- Understanding and following the building plans
- Installing fixtures and structures
- Measuring, cutting, and shaping materials, such as wood or plastic
- Creating the building framework
- Repairing any damaged structure or fixture
If you want to become a carpenter, you will likely need some formal training. It’s unnecessary to get a college degree, but an associate degree in carpentry can be very helpful. Carpenters need to have good communication and math skills. An apprenticeship is one of the common ways to become a carpenter.
As a carpenter, you’ll be able to earn an annual salary of around $46K. The highest earners in the field can make more than $82K per year. This career in construction is expected to grow over the next few years.
Another very popular career in construction is as an electrician. This type of position is a skilled job working with the power system of the home. As an electrician, you may handle wiring homes, businesses, and other structures on construction sites. The wiring may be for lighting, appliances, communications, and other powered devices throughout the structure.
An electrician will handle the following duties:
- Diagnose electrical issues and read electrical diagrams
- Installing new electrical systems
- Repairing damaged electrical systems
- Figuring out issues when testing devices
- Planning and laying out electrical wiring and fixtures for installation
- Supervising and training others to install and repair electrical systems
- Complying with safety standards and the National Electrical Code regulations
You won’t need a college degree to become an election, but you will need extensive training. You will need to be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED. An apprenticeship to become an electrician can last four or five years with at least 576 hours of classroom instruction. You will also need 8,000 hours of on-the-job training.
Once you’ve completed your apprenticeship, you will need to get your license. This requires passing the correct exams put forth by the National Electrical Code.
As an electrician, you can earn an average salary of about $55K. Top electricians may earn more than $100K per year.
4. Equipment Operator
As an equipment operator, you’ll be entering into a skilled career in construction. This may include operating forklifts, backhoes, dump trucks, bulldozers, hydraulic truck cranes, and cargo trucks.
Equipment operators assist on many types of construction sites, including roads, bridges, and buildings. It’s common for those entering this career in construction will specialize in one of the following areas:
- Loading and excavation machines – This construction career uses machines to dig and lift the earth, sand, and gravel.
- Paving and surface equipment operators – These operators will work with machines to spread asphalt and concrete on roadways.
- Pile-driver operators – This job in construction includes controlling equipment to hammer concrete, steel, or heavy wood beams.
Apprenticeships are the most common requirement to become an equipment operator. You may need the proper license, depending on the state requirements and the equipment. This construction career has an average salary of about $47K, with the top 10% earning closer to $83K.
5. Construction Manager
A very popular career in construction, construction managers are in charge of many things. They work to negotiate contracts with clients, hire subcontractors, and even inspect the installation of plumbing.
Construction managers will handle planning, scheduling, directing, controlling, and organizing the projects for a construction firm. They will likely be in charge of hiring and firing decisions, along with preparing budgets.
This is an excellent career in construction for early birds. If you like to get up early, you’ll fit in well as a construction manager. Expect to spend time in meetings, working with documents, and on the construction site.
It’s common for construction managers to have a bachelor’s degree and some experience in the construction industry. Communication skills are vital for this position, along with competence and understanding of construction details.
Construction managers make about $50K per year, but the top 10% can make closer to $140K per year.
5 Highest-Paying Construction Careers
1. Construction Superintendent
If you want to oversee the operation of a construction site, you want a career as a construction superintendent. This position requires you to handle duties such as planning, daily scheduling, and ensuring the job site’s safety.
This career in construction has a salary range of about $38K to $120K.
2. Construction Estimator
With a high-paying career in construction, as a construction estimator, you’ll have interesting duties. You will evaluate projects and estimate the labor and material costs for the job. This type of position requires good math skills and attention to detail.
As a construction estimator, you can earn an average salary from about $31K to $113K.
3. Project Engineer
This a job perfect for those with engineering skills; as a project engineer, you’ll become a part of management. This position will oversee the technical and engineering aspects of the project. You will likely handle duties such as scheduling, coordinating, preparing, and monitoring engineering projects assigned to you.
When you become a project engineer, your salary range will go from about $37K to $114K.
4. Construction Inspector
Most construction inspectors will work for local governments. When a building or construction project has been completed, their job is to inspect the work and make sure it’s up to code. Most of the time, as a construction inspector, you’ll spend most of your time visiting construction sites.
It’s necessary to have proper training and work experience to enter this career in construction. Your salary range will be from $25K to $91K per year as a construction inspector.
When you become a plumber, you will be trained to install pipes and fixtures in existing and new buildings. You may work on things such as toilets, garbage disposals, sink drains, showers, and even sewage lines. As a plumber, you will need to identify any plumbing issues and repair them.
This challenging career in construction will require special training. Typically, an apprenticeship and passing the right licensing tests will be necessary. Your salary will range from $23K to $78K.
Projected Growth for Careers in Construction
These popular and high-paying careers in construction are all expected to grow. The construction industry expects to add nearly 300K new jobs by 2029, with about 4% growth. Most construction careers have seen wages go up over the past decade. Salaries have also grown over the past several years.
Some careers in construction are in higher demand than others. There’s also plenty of opportunity for promotion within the industry. When you want to enter a growing field, work with your hands, and see the results of your work, a job in the construction industry might be just right for you.
Related Learning Opportunities
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