The Top 12 Highest Paying Construction Jobs

List of the top construction jobs organize by salary, with small cranes and illustrations. Elevator installers/repairers: $84,990, Boilermakers: $63,100, Construction/Building Inspector: $60,710, Electrician: $56,180, Plumber/Pipefitter: $55,160

 Colleen Tighe @ The Balance 

If you’re considering a job in construction, there are plenty of opportunities to get hired. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that construction will add about 296,300 new jobs between 2019 and 2029.

Which are the best positions to consider if you want to work construction? The answer depends on your skills, interests, and what you want in a job, as well as the job market. However, there are some jobs that have higher wages and more potential job openings than other occupations.

Education and Training Requirements

Jobs in construction range from lower-paying unskilled jobs to highly paid jobs that require formal training through an apprenticeship program, technical school, or community college classes.

None of the jobs listed here require a four-year college degree.

Here’s what employers are looking for, in general:

Construction Industry Salaries

Construction jobs pay well, especially if you consider the fact that you don’t need more than a high school diploma and an apprenticeship or training program to get hired for most positions. The median annual wage for all construction and extraction occupations was $47,430 in May 2019.

The Top 12 Best Construction Jobs

Review this list of some of the highest paying construction jobs based on salary and hiring prospects, with the scoop on what you need to get hired for each.

1. Elevator Installers and Repairer

Elevator installation and repair workers earn the highest pay in the construction and extraction occupations by over $20,000 a year. In addition to elevators, they install and repair escalators, moving walkways and other lifts for people and products. Most people get hired through an apprenticeship. A license is required in many states.

2019 Median Pay: $84,990 per year.
Projected Job Growth: 2019-2029: 7%

2. Boilermaker

Boilermakers assemble, install, and repair large containers that hold liquids and gases. Many boilermakers complete formal apprenticeships programs prior to being hired as a journeyman.

2019 Median Pay: $63,100 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 1%

3. Construction and Building Inspector

Construction and building inspectors inspect work sites and new construction to ensure that construction meets local and national building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.

2019 Median Pay: $60,710 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 3%

4. Electrician

Electricians work on residential, commercial, and industrial electrical construction and maintenance. They install, maintain, and repair electrical systems. Most electricians complete formal apprenticeships. Others complete a vocational training program or are trained on the job.

2019 Median Pay: $56,180 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 8%

5. Plumber and Pipefitter

Plumbers repair, install, and maintain pipes in homes and commercial buildings. Pipefitters work primarily in industrial and manufacturing sites, installing and repairing pipes that move chemicals and gases. Like electricians, many plumbers and pipefitters complete apprenticeship programs. Others may attend technical school. Plumbers are required to be licensed in most states.

2019 Median Pay: $55,160 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 4%

6. Ironworker

Ironworkers install reinforcement rods made of iron or steel in buildings, dams, and roads. They also erect the steel beams for high rise buildings and bridges. Some ironworkers complete apprenticeships, others are trained on the job. Certifications in welding, rigging, and crane signaling can help you get hired.

2019 Median Pay: $53,650 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 5%

7. Sheetmetal Worker

Sheet metal workers fabricate or install products that are made from thin metal sheets, such as ducts used in heating and air conditioning systems. Some workers also install nonmetallic materials such as fiberglass and plastic board.

2019 Median Pay: $50,400 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 1%

8. Construction Equipment Operator

Construction equipment operators drive the bulldozers and earth movers. They also operate cranes and other heavy equipment used to build roads, bridges, buildings, and construction sites. On-the-job training or vocational school are both paths to getting hired.

2019 Median Pay: $48,160 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 4%

9. Solar Photovoltaic Installer

PV installers assemble, install, and maintain solar panels on roofs or other structures. There are job opportunities for residential and commercial work with most training provided on-the-job. Some installers participate in apprenticeship programs or take online courses to get started in their career.

2019 Median Pay: $44,890 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 51%

10. Glazier

Glaziers install glass, including windows, skylights, mirrors, shower doors, window dividers, and display cases. They may work in residential or commercial settings and specialize in a particular kind of glass installation, e.g. insulated glass. Most glaziers learn their craft through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. 

2019 Median Pay: $44,630 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 4%

11. Insulation Worker

Insulation workers do exactly what it sounds like they would do. They insulate buildings (commercial and residential) to maintain the temperature. Most workers learn on the job.

2019 Median Pay: $44,180 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 3%

12. Hazardous Materials Removal Worker

Hazmat removal workers test potentially hazardous materials such as asbestos, mold, and radioactive waste. They then determine the best ways to neutralize or remove these materials. Hazardous materials removal workers are typically required to take safety training, pass an exam, and be licensed to handle, dispose of, and/or transport hazardous waste. Some workers learn on the job, while others take part in apprenticeship programs.

2019 Median Pay: $43,900 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 8%

One More High-Opportunity Job

Here's one more job that has a lot of projected openings even though the pay isn't the greatest.

For someone without a lot of qualifications or time to apprentice or go to school, a laborer or helper job can be an excellent way to get a start in the construction industry.

Construction Laborer and Helper

Most construction occupations have laborers and helpers who assist journeymen workers. These jobs are on the lower end of the wage scale because there are no formal education or training requirements.

2019 Median Pay: $36,000 per year.
Projected Job Growth 2019-2029: 5%

Find Training Programs and Jobs

  •  Google: For jobs that require training or an apprenticeship, you can often find programs in your area using Google. Search for jobs using the terms "apprentice" or "trainee" and the location where you want to work.
  •  The U.S. Department of Labor: The DOL maintains career resources that can help you start a career in many fields, including construction. One option is the CareerOneStop Certification Finder. You can search by keyword, organization, industry, or occupation to get a list of certifications with the certifying organization, education and training requirements, and exam requirements. Another option is to use the DOL’s Apprenticeship Finder at Apprenticeship.gov.
  • Indeed.com: If you're qualified to start right away, or if the job doesn't require experience, Indeed.com is one of the best sites for finding job listings from many different sources. Search by keyword and location to find jobs that are a match for your skills.

Article Sources

  1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Construction and Extraction Occupations.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Elevator Installers and Repairers.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  3. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Boilermakers.” Accessed Sept.14, 2020.

  4. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Construction and Building Inspectors.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  5. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Calendar. “Electricians.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  6. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  7. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Ironworkers.” Accessed Sept. 4, 2020.

  8. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Sheet Metal Workers.” Accessed Sept. 4, 2020.

  9. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Construction Equipment Operators.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  10. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Solar Voltaic Installers.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  11. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Glaziers.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  12. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Insulation Workers.” Accessed Sept.14, 2020.

  13. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Hazardous Materials Removal Workers.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.

  14. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. “Construction Laborers and Helpers.” Accessed Sept. 14, 2020.