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Top 10 Jobs In Construction

We’re Building America

Construction is hard, but meaningful, work! Whether you are pouring concrete for a foundation, maneuvering a crane dozens of stories high, or every job in between, it is a noble endeavor to be involved in the building of America. Construction workers build the homes, offices, buildings, factories, roads, and infrastructure that we all use every day. And with the skyrocketing cost of college and our constant need to expand and build, the construction industry, now more than ever, can offer a secure career path with a bright future.

The Top 10 Jobs In Construction

Now, where to start? Which jobs pay the best? How do you find a trade that suits you? Below we offer insight into some of the best construction jobs. This information may help you make a decision about what you want to invest your time and effort into.


Construction Manager

As the title implies, construction managers (also called project managers) are essentially in charge of managing or overseeing a construction project. On any given project they are responsible for planning, coordinating equipment and resources, budgeting, and supervising workers and foremen. This job is a soup to nuts kind of position and requires organization skills, problem solving skills, as well as time management and collaboration skills. It might keep you up at night thinking about all there is to do, but you’ll be compensated for your experience an effort. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction manager duties include:

  • Preparing cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpreting and explaining contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Reporting work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborating with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Selecting subcontractors, then scheduling and coordinating their activities
  • Responding to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Complying with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

At a Glance: Construction Manager

Median income $93,370
Job Outlook 2018-2028 10% growth
How to Become One Bachelor’s degree preferred

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Plumber, Pipefitter, Steamfitter

The plumbing profession is much broader in scope than fixing leaky sinks and snaking toilets. It is really about working with all types of pipe. Sure, there is the residential aspect of plumbing that involves being on call for emergencies and visiting homes and businesses to clear plumbing. However, pipefitters and steamfitters are also responsible for the installation, connection, and repair of pipe that carry vital liquids and gases to homes, businesses, offices, etc. The BLS lists plumbing, pipefitting, and steamfitting duties as:

  • Preparing cost estimates for clients
  • Reading blueprints and following state and local building codes
  • Determining the appropriate material and equipment needed for a job
  • Installing pipes and fixtures
  • Inspecting and testing installed pipe systems and pipelines
  • Troubleshooting malfunctioning systems
  • Repairing and replacing worn parts

At a Glance: Plumber, Pipefitter, Steamfitter

Median income $53,910
Job Outlook 2018-2028 14% growth
How to Become One High school or equivalent

Apprenticeship on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Electrician

If being an electrician interests you, there is a lot of opportunity out there. The world runs on electrical power, which means the need to install, maintain, and repair is limitless. Every jobsite starts with an electrician running temp power for all the other trades to use in the initial phases of construction. There is the servicing and maintenance of existing electrical equipment and systems, and there is installation of electrical systems in new construction. Working as an electrician requires someone who is detail-oriented with high standards for safety. When first starting out, students must learn the trade through at least four years of apprenticeship with experienced electricians. According to the BLS, electricians must typically be adept at:

  • Reading blueprints or technical diagrams
  • Installing and maintaining wiring, control, and lighting systems
  • Inspecting electrical components, such as transformers and circuit breakers
  • Identifying electrical problems using a variety of testing devices
  • Repairing or replacing wiring, equipment, or fixtures using hand tools and power tools
  • Following state and local building regulations based on the National Electrical Code
  • Directing and training workers to install, maintain, or repair electrical wiring or equipment

At a Glance: Electrician

Median income $55,190
Job Outlook 2018-2028 10% growth
How to Become One High school or equivalent

Apprenticeship on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Solar Photovoltaic Installer

As the presence of solar and other renewable energy sources has increased, solar photovoltaic (PV) installation has become one of the fastest growing construction industry careers. Atop the roofs of homes, buildings, and stand-alone solar structures, PV installers carefully build-in, assemble, and maintain solar panel systems. This wildly growing field is expected to keep growing—as much as 63% in the next nine years—and provide ample opportunity for those who want it. BLS indicates that PV installers typically need to know about:

  • Planning PV system configurations based on customer needs and site conditions
  • Measuring, cutting, and assembling the support structure for solar PV panels
  • Installing solar modules, panels, and support structures in accordance with building codes and standards
  • Connecting PV panels to the electrical system
  • Applying weather sealant to equipment being installed
  • Activating and test PV systems
  • Performing routine PV system maintenance

At a Glance: Solar Photovoltaic Installer

Median income $42,680
Job Outlook 2018-2028 63% growth
How to Become One High school, technical school or community college; on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Sheet Metal Worker

Once you notice what in our built world is made from sheet metal, you’ll realize how important this trade is. Sheet metal workers fabricate and install air conditioning and duct heating systems, as well as gutters, signage, and building siding. A lot of the finished products need to be fabricated in shops or onsite. In addition to being required to use shop machinery and equipment, workers can also use computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) to design products. The BLS indicate that sheet metal workers do a range of activities, including:

  • Selecting types of sheet metal according to plans
  • Measuring and marking dimensions and reference lines on metal sheets
  • Drilling holes in metal for screws, bolts, and rivets
  • Installing metal sheets with supportive frameworks
  • Fabricating or altering parts at construction sites
  • Maneuvering and anchoring large sheet metal parts
  • Fastening seams or joints by welding, bolting, riveting, or soldering

At a Glance: Sheet Metal Worker

Median income $48,460
Job Outlook 2018-2028 8% growth
How to Become One High school or equivalent

Apprenticeship on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Glazier

Glaziers may not get as much attention as some of the other trades, but this profession offers steady work with future growth potential. Glaziers install all types of glass on residential and commercial projects. Anything from  windows, skylights, or fixtures in buildings – up to securing large glass panels on skyscrapers. They also install mirrors, shower doors, and interior glass. Since glaziers often work with breakable materials, sometimes at great heights, this trade requires precision and attention to detail. The BLS lists glazier requirements as:

  • Following blueprints and specifications
  • Removing any old or broken glass before installing replacement glass
  • Cutting glass to the specified size and shape
  • Using measuring tapes, plumb lines, and levels to ensure proper fitting installation
  • Making or installing sashes and moldings for glass installation
  • Fastening glass into sashes or frames with clips, moldings, or other types of fasteners
  • Adding weather seal or putty around pane edges to seal joints
  • Working with high-end adhesives on commercial projects

At a Glance: Glazier

Median income $43,550
Job Outlook 2018-2028 11%
How to Become One High school or equivalent

Apprenticeship on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Construction Equipment Operator

If driving construction equipment around the jobsite is how you want to spend the day, then equipment operator is the profession to check out. Operators move materials, dirt, or other machinery around the site. Heavy equipment operators are important on jobsites and once you learn to drive, operate, and maneuver the heavy equipment and machinery you will become a valuable asset. BLS lists typical tasks for an equipment operator as:

  • Cleaning and maintaining equipment, making basic repairs as necessary
  • Implementing Lockout/Tagout protocols during equipment repairs
  • Reporting malfunctioning equipment to supervisors
  • Moving levers, push pedals, or turn valves to control equipment
  • Driving and maneuvering equipment
  • Coordinating machine actions with crew members using hand or audio signals
  • Following safety standards

At a Glance: Construction Equipment Operator

Median income $46,990
Job Outlook 2018-2028 10% growth
How to Become One High school or equivalent, vocational school

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Masonry Worker

Masonry encompasses working with bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, and stone. It’s one of the oldest construction jobs out there and requires strength and stamina to get the job done. Masons work mainly outside and must do a great deal of lifting, bending, or kneeling for long periods of time. Despite its old school techniques, it has a bright future with strong job growth forecasted. According to BLS, masons must be proficient in:

  • Reading blueprints or drawings to calculate materials needed
  • Laying out patterns, forms, or foundations according to plans
  • Breaking or cutting materials to required size
  • Mixing mortar or grout and spread it onto a slab or foundation
  • Cleaning excess mortar with trowels and other hand tools
  • Constructing corners with a corner pole or by building a corner pyramid
  • Aligning structures vertically and horizontally, using levels and plumbs
  • Cleaning and polishing surfaces with hand or power tools
  • Filling expansion joints with the appropriate caulking materials

At a Glance: Masonry Worker

Median income $44,810
Job Outlook 2018-2028 11% growth
How to Become One High school or equivalent

Apprenticeship on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Concrete Finisher/Cement Mason

These trades literally set the foundation for all other construction work. Concrete finishers work with poured concrete and cement masons work with finished concrete. They ensure the concrete forms and sets correctly and is finished properly, depending on the surface’s ultimate use. Working with concrete is physically hard labor that requires working while crouching, bending, and stretching. While some work is inside, the majority of concrete work is outside. According to US News and World Report, the main skills needed in concrete finishing and masonry are:

  • Knowing the properties of cement, including how weather affects conditions
  • Understanding the leveling, setting, and finishing processes
  • Following detailed directions
  • Working quickly and efficiently to pour and shape concrete

 At a Glance: Concrete Finisher/Cement Mason

Median income $47,350
Job Outlook 2018-2028 n/a
How to Become One High school or equivalent

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Structural Iron and Steelworker

Steel workers eating their lunch out on the girder of a skyscraper is how many people view construction work. Today’s iron and steel workers may have more safety precautions in place, but the job is the same: installing iron and steel beams that support buildings, bridges, and roads. The work is physically demanding and a typical day is spent working at great heights. This is dangerous work that engages highly skilled and trained workers. The BLS indicates that steel and iron workers must be adept at:

  • Reading and following blueprints, sketches, and other instructions
  • Unloading and stacking prefabricated iron and steel so that it can be lifted with slings
  • Signaling crane operators who lift and position structural and reinforcing iron and steel
  • Using shears, rod-bending machines, and welding equipment to cut, bend, and weld the structural and reinforcing iron and steel
  • Aligning structural and reinforcing iron and steel vertically and horizontally, using tag lines, plumb bobs, lasers, and levels
  • Connecting iron and steel with bolts, wire, or welds

At a Glance: Structural Iron and Steelworker

Median income $52,770
Job Outlook 2018-2028 11% growth
How to Become One High school or equivalent

Apprenticeship on-the-job training

*BLS statistics as of May 2018


Red, White and Blue-Collar Jobs

In today’s environment, white-collar jobs are not the only option for young people emerging on the job scene. The construction industry is constantly growing and evolving. There are many roads to take within the industry from swinging hammers, to management, sales, inspection, drone pilots, and on and on. Many industries invest in apprenticeship programs, where you can go to school and learn your trade from the ground up.

So, while at the end of your shift you might be beat, you will also feel great knowing you contributed to something tangible and real. Something that makes a difference in people’s lives. Working in the construction industry means you are part of the building of America and are contributing to our future.

Choose Your Path With Confidence

We live in a digital era with more white-collar and tech-related jobs than ever before. As those industries expand and grow, so does the thirst for new construction. The construction industry is a key partner to most other industries as they need a built infrastructure to expand. There is an overwhelming demand for skilled workers to build offices, campuses, and factories that house the Teslas, Googles, Apples and Walmarts of the world; not to mention the surrounding communities for those who work there. Building America is not only critically important, but highly rewarding, no matter which path you choose.

Check out these links for more info on job opportunities in the construction industry:

https://www.enr.com/articles/40732-craft-competitions-skillsusa-is-the-olympics-for-construction-trades

https://www.supplyht.com/articles/102112-construction-employment-increases-in-38-states-from-march-2018-to-march-2019

https://abc.org/News-Media/News-Releases/entryid/16569/construction-job-growth-steady-in-june-says-abc

2 Comments
  1. Justin says

    Super informative. Great article.

    1. Randy Hall says

      Thanks compadre!

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