Construction Careers: Options, Job Titles, and Descriptions

construction workers
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The construction sector includes the construction of commercial, industrial, and residential buildings and engineering projects like roads, bridges, and utility systems. Construction includes both new construction and remodeling, additions, maintenance, and repairs.

Construction offers many jobs with high projections for new employment opportunities. Positions vary, ranging from unskilled laborer and helper jobs to skilled construction jobs that require extensive training and education. However, most positions are available to workers with the right talents and the willingness to train, typically through an apprenticeship program.

Job Titles With the Highest Employment

Image shows a bar graph with a shovel, a saw, a pair of pliers, a forklift, and a clipboard above. Text reads: "Construction jobs with Highest Employment: Construction laborers (849,570), Carpenters (611,070), Electricians (503,660), Equipment Operators (245,320), Construction Managers (227,460)"
Image by The Balance 2019

Overall, the construction industry employed 7,466,000 workers in March 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For 2020, the job titles with the highest number of employees included:

Jobs With the Highest Projected Growth

Construction is projected to add 296,300 new jobs by 2029. Employment is estimated to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for all construction and extraction jobs was $48,610 in May 2020. (For comparison, the median annual wage for all occupations was $41,950.)

Which jobs need the most employees? Most construction jobs are projected to grow over the next 10 years, but some have a more solid occupational outlook than others. For example, employment for solar photovoltaic installers is expected to increase 51% between 2019 and 2029.

The Most In-Demand Construction Jobs

The most in-demand construction jobs include:

Construction Laborers and Helpers

Laborers and helpers do the physical work—including digging, building, unloading, clearing, and assisting craftspeople—required on job sites. Workers in these roles typically prepare job sites and clean up after work is complete. They may also operate machinery. Training for these positions comes on the job.

  • Projected Growth: 5%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $37,080 per year

Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical systems in both residential and commercial spaces. Training is required for this role, typically through schools or apprenticeships. Depending on the state, a license may be required as well. See a sample resume and skills list for an electrician here.

  • Projected Growth: 8%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $56,900 per year

Elevator Installers and Repairmen

Elevator mechanics install, maintain, and repair elevators, escalators, and other moving walkways and stairs. Most states require these workers to be licensed, and training for the job is typically achieved through a four-year apprenticeship.

  • Projected Growth: 7%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $88,540 per year

Hazardous Materials Removers

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They also neutralize and clean up materials that are flammable, corrosive, or toxic. Many states require hazmat workers to have licenses or permits to handle specific hazardous materials.

  • Projected Growth: 8%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $45,270

Ironworkers

Ironworkers install the steel girders that support buildings, roads, and bridges. Typically, they learn their trade through an apprenticeship program that lasts at least three years, although some ironworkers may train on the job.

  • Projected Growth: 5%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $53,210 per year

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installers

Also known as PV installers, people with this job title install solar roof panels on residential and commercial buildings. PV installers learn their trade through on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or specialized coursework at a community college or technical school.

  • Projected Growth: 51%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $46,470 per year

More Construction Job Titles

See below for an extensive list of construction-related job titles and occupations. Use this list to help power your job search.

Carpenter

  • Apprentice
  • Carpenter
  • Framing Carpenter
  • Dry Wall Finisher
  • Dry Wall Installer
  • Plasterer
  • Joiner

Construction Laborers and Helpers

  • Laborer
  • General Laborer
  • Painter
  • Construction Worker
  • Ceiling Tile Installer

Electrician

  • Apprentice
  • Electrician
  • Journeyman Electrician
  • Master Electrician

Elevator Mechanic

  • Elevator Installer
  • Elevator Repairer

Engineer

  • Assistant Project Manager
  • Building Inspector
  • Civil Engineer
  • Superintendent
  • Surveyor
  • Field Engineer
  • Inspector
  • Planner
  • Construction Engineer

Equipment Operator

Exterior Installation

  • Roofer
  • Insulation Specialist
  • Siding Contractor
  • Solar Photovoltaic Installer

Masonry Worker

  • Concrete Laborers
  • Mason

Plumber

  • Master Plumber
  • Plumber
  • Boilermaker
  • Pipe Fitter

Site Management

  • Purchasing Coordinator
  • Project Assistant
  • Project Manager
  • Safety Director
  • Safety Manager
  • Scheduler
  • Site Manager
  • Construction Assistant
  • Construction Coordinator
  • Construction Foreman
  • Construction Manager
  • Construction Superintendent
  • Construction Supervisor
  • Contract Administrator
  • Contract Manager
  • Estimator

Welder

  • Welder
  • Ironworker