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13 Different Types of Construction Jobs

A photo collage of different types of construction jobs.

According to statistics, the US construction industry is expected to experience substantial employment growth in the next few years.

Between 2016 and 2026, construction and extraction jobs are expected to boost by 11% which is higher than the average growth projection of 7% for all other industries. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor, there would be about 758,400 new jobs in construction and extraction by 2026.

The major concern in the construction industry is the shortage of skilled experts that may hinder growth prospects. Construction jobs encompass a variety of roles related to different disciplines. Workers are hired by three types of employers: consultants, contractors, and subcontractors.

Consultants are the planners and designers of construction projects who translate the project into a workable plan.

Contractors work on construction sites to implement the plan. They interpret the outlined plan and execute construction until the project has been completed. Contractors cover a variety of roles such as equipment operators, masonry, and so on.

Subcontractors are hired by contractors to carry out specialized work that requires a high level of technical training and experience.

Let’s compare the different types of construction jobs, their requirements, and compensation:

1. Construction Management

Construction Manager

Construction management essentially entails supervising and directing operations within a construction project. A construction manager is required to ensure that the project at hand is completed safely within the planned timeframe and allocated budget. Since the job demands a lot of pre-planning, a construction manager joins the project pretty early.

The types of construction projects a construction manager works on range from minor renovations to entirely new constructions of structures like tall buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, etc. Besides commercial structures, they also supervise residential, institutional, industrial, and civil projects.

Residential projects could include the construction of houses and apartments, whereas institutional projects generally entail building government schools, hospitals, military bases, and so on.

While industrial projects generally refer to those associated with manufacturing plants, factories, refineries, and warehouses, civil projects cover the construction of bridges, roads, railways, and other infrastructure.

To take up the role of a construction manager, you typically require a degree in a related field such as construction management or construction project management. The average salary of a construction management job is around $89,300.

Source: The Telegraph

2. Civil Engineering

 Civil Engineer

When it comes to civil engineering, the role covers two crucial aspects: consulting engineering and contracting to engineer. Consulting engineering involves planning and designing a construction project, whereas contracting engineering has to do with engineering associated with physical construction and translation of the proposed design into architecture.

To be more specific, a civil engineer would first analyze the feasibility and investigate the site location as well as the surrounding area.

Then, a construction plan outlining the key variables would be designed and any changes, if required, will be made in this plan. Based on the client’s requirements, a detailed design layout is then developed and submitted to the supervisor for review and approval.

As the actual construction phase commences, the civil engineer is responsible to monitor the on-site staff. He/she works with architects, contractors, and others and resolves any issues as they arise.

Scheduling tasks, hiring skilled workers, and ensuring the availability of other resources like raw materials are other main duties of a civil engineer. Hence, civil engineering jobs are crucial for the execution of construction projects.

A civil engineering role requires an engineering degree recognized by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as well as a professional engineering license (PE).

A comprehensive understanding of calculus and geometry and their applications to construction is a must for a civil engineering role. Not surprisingly, civil engineers are highly compensated. The average salary of a civil engineer is $80,147 per year.

Source: SB Civil Engineering

3. Electrician Job


In a construction project, an electrician is responsible for installing electrical connections or systems in the building. Installation of wires in buildings and managing their functionality are critical aspects of the electrician role.

Much of the role has to do with identifying and resolving issues, therefore, a fine electrician would certainly be a troubleshooting expert. He/she must possess critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Since safety is always a top priority for electrician roles, extensive protection training is required in this area. The programs cover safety pertaining to protection from electric systems, working at heights, working in confined spaces, using scaffolding, etc.

The role often involves working with high-voltage systems and oversized appliances. Hence, proper apprenticeships are normally required of those looking to take up the job. On average, an electrician earns about $52, 720 per year.

Source: Herzing College

4. Construction Laboring

 Construction worker

Construction laboring is the most popular role related to construction. This is the first job that comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘construction.’

Construction workers or laborers are the driving force behind building projects. They’re the ones who make the project a reality by carrying out a wide range of tasks at the construction site. The role doesn’t really require formal training or specialized skills. Rather, it mostly involves on-job training.

The job description of a construction worker may include loading and unloading materials, digging trenches, clearing and preparing a site before and after the construction, and so on. Laborers may decide to specialize in certain construction types, for instance, digging tunnels, building construction, infrastructure construction, digging mine shafts, and others.

The average salary of a construction worker in the US is $34,530 per year.

5. Plumbing Plumber

At a construction site, everything that involves pipework requires the expertise of a plumber. Among the most common responsibilities include the installation of hot and cold water systems, sanitation, central heating systems, rainwater harvesters, and sheet lead systems. Installation of fuel-burning appliances such as those for oil or gas may also be handled by plumbers.

The best plumbers typically possess strong problem-solving skills and can meet the mechanical and physical demands of the job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected employment growth for plumbers between 2016 and 2026 is estimated at 15.6%, fostering the creation of over 75,200 jobs.

Salaries depend on the location (state), the employer, and any overtime you choose to work. The median salary of plumbers in the US reported for 2019 is $52,590 per year.

The most common pathway to becoming a plumber is through apprenticeship. Many businesses and unions mandate 246 hours of technical education and up to 2000 hours of practical training under the supervision of an expert plumber.

On the other hand, someone who wishes to work as an independent plumber must hold a license as well as pass an assessment that tests the technical knowledge and understanding of plumbing codes. To earn a license, 2 to 5 years of plumbing experience is generally required.

Source: Go Construct

6. Masonry Masonry

Block or brick masonry involves constructing and polishing commercial and residential walls, interior structures, patios, and decorative trim work.

Masons often work for union and nonunion contractors and are generally expected to follow detailed instructions. While residential projects generally do not require too much time for completion, large commercial projects often take at least 2 years to complete.

Specific duties in masonry include breaking or cutting stone and bricks into specified sizes, mixing and applying grout and mortar, and finishing the construction. Those skilled in all forms of construction material including block, brick, glass, stone, and synthetics are generally regarded as expert masons.

To assume a masonry role, you should possess a high school education. However, once you start working, there’s extensive on-the-job training as well as employer-sponsored apprenticeship programs that typically last 3 or 4 years, requiring 144 hours of education and 2000 hours of practical experience. The apprentice’s practical experience determines the success of your masonry career.

On average, masons in the US earn $49,770 per year.

Greetings, Johnny Johnson here. I’m part of the Tenant Rep team here at Superstition Commercial Phoenix AZ., and today we’re going to talk a little bit about the TI allowance; The Tenant Improvement allowance. It’s one of the most important economic parts of a commercial lease.

And we’re going to discuss what it includes, what it doesn’t include, and why it’s so important. So, a tenant improvement allowance, or as we call it a T.I. allowance, is probably one of the top three most important economic factors in a deal, other than the rent that you’re paying or the term length that you’ve got.

The T.I. allowance is really the third economic component that goes into it. And what it is, is a sum of money that the landlord pays to the tenant, in order to help them build out their space the way they want to.

7. GlazingGlazier

The glazing job involves the installation of glass in windows, storefronts, skylights, and display cases. It’s a risky job as glaziers are exposed to continuous threats of falling from scaffolding or ladders and getting cuts from glass and other tools.

A glazier follows the given specifications for glass type, size, color, and thickness to cut the glass that has to be installed. Before the glass can be installed, the glazier removes any old or broken glass and installs sashes for the placement of glass. The glass is then installed using clips and other types of fasteners and finally, a weather seal is added around the edges to seal joints.

Again, apprenticeship programs are the main sources of training for glazing. The programs train the apprentices on the procedure to handle, cut, measure and install glass as well as the use of equipment and tools. To assume the role of a glazier in Connecticut or Florida though, you need to hold a state license.

In the US, the average salary of glaziers is around $38, 342 per year.

8. Operating Construction EquipmentEquipment operator

Construction equipment operators are responsible to operate heavy construction equipment and machinery at construction sites. Bulldozers, trench excavators, and road graders are some common equipment they handle.

Most equipment operators learn the skills through on-the-job training. Employers and unions often sponsor apprenticeship programs that last for 3 to 4 years but the apprentices should be no less than 18 years old. The apprenticeship programs normally comprise 144 hours of technical classroom training and 2000 hours of on-the-job training.

The average median salary of equipment operators in the US is $47,040 per year.

9. CarpentryCarpentry

Carpentry is about constructing and repairing building structures and frameworks such as doorframes, stairways, rafters, and partitions made of wood and other materials. It’s a versatile job that includes many different tasks.

In the construction context, it usually involves the installation of wooden concrete for the construction of pillars and cement footings and the erection of scaffolding and shoring for buildings.

While some carpenters start working as a helper and learn on the job, most learn the skills through apprenticeships sponsored by unions and contractor associations. To enter an apprenticeship program, the applicant must be at least 18 years old, a legal US resident, possess a high school education, have no physical disability, and pass substance abuse screening.

The median annual pay of a carpenter in the US is $45,170.

Source: Truity

10. Painting Painters

A construction painting role generally entails the painting of walls, buildings, equipment, bridges, and other structural surfaces. Commonly used painting tools include brushes, spray guns, and rollers.

A construction painter may have to prepare the surface by removing old paint before applying a new coat of paint. To obtain the desired color or uniformity, different colors may be mixed with each other or with oil. The job also involves the application of primers or sealers on bare wood and metals for finishing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay of a construction painter is $38,940 per year. There aren’t any specific education requirements for becoming a construction painter. Yet, a high school education is generally expected for entry. Additionally, unions and contractors sponsor 2-year apprenticeships.

11. Ironwork Ironworkers

Ironworkers are primarily responsible for installing iron elements into structures. The role requires them to erect steel frameworks for bridges, buildings, and other structural constructions.

Ironworkers often read blueprints to determine where a structural piece of iron would fit in an edifice under construction. They use bolts and wires to attach iron to the structures and direct equipment operators for the purpose.

The apprenticeship programs for ironworkers last 3 to 4 years and to become an ironworker, you should be physically fit, possess a good sense of balance, and be aware of the strict safety precautions associated with the job. The median pay for a US ironworker is $52,770 per year.

12. Elevator InstallationElevator Repairing

As the name suggests, elevator installation entails installing and repairing elevators, moving walkways, escalators, and other types of lifts. More specifically, elevator installers install and repair elevator cables, control systems, doors, and motors. They link the wiring to motors and control panels as well as identify and fix any malfunctioning in switches, brake motors, and control systems.

Currently, 35 US states mandate installers to hold a state license. Almost all elevator operators learn the skill through apprenticeship programs. For entry into apprenticeship programs, a high school diploma or equivalent is generally required. The annual median salary of an elevator installer or repairer is $79,480.

13. Solar Photovoltaic InstallationSolar Photovoltaic Installer

Solar photovoltaic installation role is associated with solar energy. The installers assemble, maintain, and manage solar panels placed on commercial and residential rooftops for solar energy creation. A number of safety laws and standards need to be followed for these jobs.

Installers also determine whether any additional equipment or support structures are required for the proper installation of panels. They need to ensure complete protection of panels from the weather.

It is the fastest-growing job among the different construction jobs in the US with a projected growth rate of 104.9% for 2016-2016.

The median annual salary of solar photovoltaic installers is $39,490. To fit the role, all you need is a high school diploma and the willingness to learn the skill. Certain technical programs and courses prepare students on the safety measures and the installation of panels. These programs last no more than a few months.

Source: Alison

To sum it up, the employment prospects in the construction industry appear incredibly attractive, featuring a variety of roles. Many apprenticeships and degree programs are available to train workers in different roles. Whatever the role, construction workers should generally hold troubleshooting and problem-solving skills to remain competitive.