The Top 11 Highest Paying Construction Jobs

FT Contributor  | 

The construction industry is growing and jobs are on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in the construction field are expected to grow by 10% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the growth rate for all other occupations. As our population grows, so does our need for new roads, buildings, and infrastructures. That’s why about 704,000 new construction jobs are expected to be available by 2028.

Construction jobs are great if you don’t have a college degree, although some of the higher-paying ones may require you to master certain technical skills such as welding or electrical work.

1. Construction Manager

Job Description

A construction manager is responsible for managing, budgeting, coordinating, and planning construction projects from start to finish. Most perform this supervisory role from an office, but may need to travel to job sites to manage teams. A bachelor’s degree is required and most construction managers complete on-the-job training to learn management techniques.

Expected Salary

An average annual salary of $93,370 is earned by construction managers. It’s the highest-paying construction job because it can be stressful. This position requires you to juggle several projects with tight deadlines and supervise many team members at once.

2. Elevator Installer/Repairs

Job Description

Elevator installers are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining elevators in commercial or residential buildings. They may need to work in tight spaces or climb into shafts, so this job can be dangerous. To become an elevator installer or repairer, you must complete an apprenticeship. You may also need to be licensed in your state.

Expected Salary

An elevator installer earns an average annual salary of $79,780 due to the dangerous nature of the work environment. This position may also require working irregular hours for emergency repairs.

3. Boilermaker

Job Description

Boilermakers maintain, install, repair, and assemble boilers and other large vats or containers that hold liquids or gases. The role may require extensive travel and work environments can be dangerous. To become a boilermaker, you must complete an apprenticeship to learn the trade.

Expected Salary

A boilermaker can earn an average annual salary of $62,150. It’s one of the best paying construction jobs because it’s physically demanding and can require extended trips away from home.

4. Electrician

Job Description

Electricians are responsible for maintaining, installing, and repairing communications, lighting, control systems, and electrical power. When involved in construction projects, electricians can expect to work long hours. An electrician may not be required to complete vocational school but may need to complete an apprenticeship and pass a test to become licensed in the state.

Expected Salary

The median annual salary for an electrician is $55,190. It’s one of the highest-paying construction jobs because it requires technical knowledge and may require extended hours, including evenings or weekends.

5. Plumber/Pipefitter

Job Description

A plumber or pipefitter installs or repairs pipes that are responsible for transporting liquids or gases. They can work from many different environments, including homes, businesses, or factories. Some plumbers attend vocational school to learn their trade while others learn through apprenticeships. In most states, plumbers must also be licensed.

Expected Salary

Plumbers earn an average salary of $53,910 annually. It’s one of the highest-paid construction trades because the role can require demanding evening or weekend work. A plumber may also be required to work in tight or uncomfortable spaces.

6. Iron/Steel Worker

Job Description

An ironworker installs structural and reinforcing iron and steel that’s used to support roads, bridges, or buildings. This job can be risky because it can require the worker to climb on these high structures. When climbing is involved, ironworkers are required to wear safety harnesses and helmets. To become an ironworker, you must complete on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.

Expected Salary

Since an ironworker faces many risks while on the job, the average salary for this role is high, at $52,770 annually.

7. Construction Equipment Operator

Job Description

Construction equipment operators are in charge of driving and navigating heavy machinery on construction sites for buildings, roads, or other structures. This job requires extensive machine operation knowledge and consistent focus to keep all workers on the site safe. Most construction equipment operators hold high school diplomas and go through on-the-job training, while some may attend vocational school or complete apprenticeships.

Expected Salary

The median annual salary for a construction equipment operator is $46,990. It’s a high-paying construction job because work conditions can be uncomfortable and may include mud, dust, dirt, or grease. Projects may need to be completed overnight, leading to long and grueling hours.

8. Carpenter

Job Description

A carpenter constructs, installs, or repairs building framework or other structures that are made from wood or other materials. Projects may include installing kitchen cabinets or helping to build highway bridges. Carpenters usually aren’t required to have secondary education but must learn their trade through apprenticeships and on-the-job training.

Expected Salary

Carpenters can earn an average salary of $46,590 per year. It’s one of the highest-paid construction trades because it can be dangerous and physically demanding.

9. Mason Worker

Job Description

A mason worker builds masonry structures using bricks, concrete, blocks, or other stones. Most mason workers are outside all day, so the weather can impact productivity and the comfort of the work environment. To become a mason worker, you must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and complete an apprenticeship or on-the-job training.

Expected Salary

Mason workers earn an average annual salary of $44,810 due to the physically demanding work that’s required of them. In this position, you may be required to stand, kneel, or bend and lift heavy objects for long periods of time.

10. Glazier

Job Description

A glazier installs the glass in windows or skylights for homes, businesses, or other buildings. Glaziers must learn how to install all glass fixtures seamlessly and without injury. They’re usually required to hold a high school diploma or equivalent and complete extensive on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.  

Expected Salary

The job of a glazier can be dangerous since heavy glass can easily fall and lead to injury. Therefore, it’s one of the highest-paying construction jobs with an average annual salary of $43,550.

11. HVAC Installer

Job Description

HVAC installers install heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in commercial or residential buildings. They may also work on these systems to improve their functionality. With the increasing complexity of heating and cooling systems, most employers only hire HVAC installers who have completed some postsecondary education or an apprenticeship. In some states, you may need to be licensed to become an HVAC installer.

Expected Salary

The average annual salary for an HVAC installer is $47,610. It’s a high-paying construction job because it may require you to work in extremely hot or cold environments or in cramped spaces. In emergency situations, an HVAC installer may also need to work irregular hours.

The Benefits of a Career in Construction

Many careers in construction don’t require a college education. Some of the best construction jobs offer on-the-job training that can teach you specialized skills and allow for advancement. If you show your willingness to work hard and learn the craft, you can excel at a construction job while earning a high salary.

How to Get a Construction Job

While formal secondary education may not be required, some of the best paying construction jobs may need you to obtain specialized training in a specific field, like electrical work or welding. Depending on the state you live in, you may also have to earn a license in your area of expertise, such as electric or plumbing.

A trade school can help you acquire specific training and obtain required licensing because many of these schools specialize in teaching construction skills. You may also be able to find an entry-level construction position that doesn’t require you to have special skills or a license. Through an entry-level position, you can learn more and work your way up to a high-paying construction job.

You may also consider becoming an apprentice to a construction worker who’s already performing the job you want. This allows you to begin learning more about the position and the duties you’ll need to perform once hired. By learning more about the job you want and striving to meet the position’s requirements, you can land a high-paying construction job and start earning top dollar in the industry.


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