A Guide to Trades, Salaries, & More


The Complete Guide to Construction Jobs

We’ve provided an extensive construction jobs list, so you can explore the various types of construction careers that are available to you. This list is part 1 of our Construction Career Guide series. If you like this, you’ll probably like the rest of the information in this series, which provide a ton of information on getting started with a career in the trades.

In this section, we’ll cover the various construction jobs you can attain, the average pay for each job, how to get a job in construction (even with no experience), construction job title hierarchy, and making a career in construction. So whether you’re a high school graduate looking to bypass college and enter the trades, or someone a bit older who’s looking to change career paths, we’re glad you’re here and hope this guide will be helpful.

One thing before you dive in…

Keep in mind that this list is designed to be exactly that, a list of various construction jobs available. We aimed to keep it rather short and concise, providing just the basic information. If you’re looking for more detail on any specific career path, check out our career-specific pages where we’ll dive much deeper.

Alright, ready to get into it?

We’ll start with a listing of the construction jobs or career paths available in the construction industry. Because there are just so many various niche titles under each main title, we have not listed every single title possible. Rather, this list of construction jobs covers a large base of what’s available in the industry.

Types of Construction Jobs: A list of construction trades

Keep in mind that when we list the various salaries here – they are only median averages, as reported in the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means that depending on where you live, your skill level, and the type of work you’re doing, you could potentially earn less, or much more than what’s listed. For example, BLS lists the average salary for carpentry at $43,000 per year. But on the east coast (where we’re from), a skilled carpenter doing higher end work could earn $30 – $40/hour, maybe more depending on the job. Also, keep in mind that if you’re a business owner, you might be able to do substantially better for yourself. There’s a difference between owning and running a successful landscaping company, and working at one.

Oh, and one other pay (or salary) consideration. If you’re an hourly employee (which you most likely will be), then you’ll be going up to time and a half once you’re over 40 hours. So even if you’re only earning $20/hr, 10 hours of overtime per week would get you an additional $15,600 in the year.

Click on the title link to jump to that job.


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A boilermaker is someone who works in nuclear and fossil power plants, shipyards, refineries and chemical plants, on boilers, pressure vessels, and similar equipment. They are responsible for putting together, installing, and fixing boilers as well as other containers that hold liquids and gases. The work is both dangerous, and physically hard.

Avg. Salary: $62,000/year or $29.84/hr.

Sources: Sonaku, Building 


A carpenter is a trades person who builds primarily with wood. When it comes to being a carpenter, there’s a lot of avenues you can take with your craft. Here’s a few of the professions you can take on as a carpenter:

  • Cabinet Making – designing and creating cabinetry for clients or other contractors.
  • Cladder – installing layers of thermal insulation and weather resistant materials on buildings.
  • Framer – framing houses, buildings, and other structures with wood.
  • Joiner – joining things together by using pieces of wood.
  • Mill Worker
  • Joiner
  • General Contracting: performing remodels, new home construction, flooring, etc.

Avg. Salary: $43,600/year or $20.96/hr.

Again, each of these positions are trades in their own respect, and some might argue about whether or not they fall under carpentry. But for the sake of keeping this list concise and organized, we’re including them all under carpentry/woodworking.


Carpet Installer

Just like it sounds, a carpet layer (or carpet installer) is a specialist in installing carpet. It’s fairly straight forward on this one. They also install padding and trim flooring materials.


Low – $20,810/year or $10.00/hr.

Average – $38,280/year or $18.40/hr.

High – $80,440/year or $38.67/hr.

Cement and Concrete Finisher

Cement and concrete finishers are responsible to pour, smooth, and finish surfaces such as walkways, roads, curbs, walls, etc. They accomplish this by using an assortment of hand tools and power tools.


Low – $28,000/year or $12.00/hr.

Average – $44,899/year or $17.56/hr.

High – $61,000/year or $26/hr.

Source: Payscale 


Check out this free course on concrete consolidation to learn more about the type of skills needed as a finisher.

Dredge Operator

Dredging is the process of removing debris and sediment from the bottom of water bodies (lakes, rivers, etc.). As time progresses, sand, silt, and debris tend to watch downstream in channels of water, and needs to be removed.

Here’s a few of the professions that can be included here:

  • Lead Dredgeman
  • Operator
  • Leverman
  • Licensed Tug Operator
  • Derrick Operator
  • Spider/Spill Barge Operator
  • Engineer
  • Electrician
  • Chief Welder
  • Chief Mate
  • Fill Placer
  • Operator II
  • Maintenance Engineer
  • Licensed Boat Operator
  • Certified Welder
  • Mate
  • Drag Barge Operator
  • Steward
  • Assistant Fill Placer
  • Welder
  • Boat Operator
  • Shoreman
  • Deckhand
  • Rodman
  • Scowman
  • Cook
  • Messman
  • Porter/Janitor
  • Oiler


Low – $28,230/year or $13.57/hr.

Average – $44,310/year or $21.30/hr.

High – $70,510/year or $33.90/hr.


EIFS Installer

EIFS Installers, sometimes referred to as “craftsmen,” “mechanics” or “applicators” are trained individuals who develop a variety of skill sets including but not limited to plastering or troweling, weather proofing, scaffold erection and dismantle, blueprint reading, safety requirements, carpentry, etc. Unless you have previous experience installing EIFS, craftsmen begin as laborers, working as an assistant to the craftsman and learning the EIFS systems.

Avg. Salary: $46,000/year or $22.11/hr. 

Source: EIMA EIFS Industry Members Association


An electrician specializes in electrical wiring in buildings and equipment. They work on everything from new construction projects (new homes, commercial projects, etc.) to existing buildings. Additionally they can install air conditioning and often telecommunications systems. Here’s some of the specific positions that fall under this career path:

    • Contractor or subcontractor (working residentia/construction projects) doing electrical work in homes and buildings.
    • Linemen.
    • High voltage line and substation construction and maintenance.

    Avg. Salary: $52,720/year or $25.35/hr. 


    Equipment Operator

    This title covers a lot of various positions. Essentially, an equipment operator will drive, operate, and manage construction equipment that’s often used to construct roads, buildings, and other infrastructures. Another more specific trade would be that of “heavy equipment operator” where the person is specifically operating any equipment classified as “heavy equipment”. That said, here’s just a few specific titles that are under “equipment operator”:

    • Bargeman
    • Brakeman
    • Compressor operator
    • Elevator operator
    • Engineer Oiler
    • Forklift operator
    • Generator, pump or compressor plant operator
    • Signalman
    • Switchman
    • Conveyor operator
    • Fireman
    • Skiploader operator
    • Helicopter radioman
    • Boring machine operator
    • Boxman or mixerman
    • Asphalt plant engineer
    • Batch plant operator
    • Bit sharpener
    • Micro tunnel system operator
    • Pavement breaker operator
    • Drill Doctor
    • Drilling machine operator
    • Rotary drill operator
    • Canal liner operator
    • Canal trimmer operator
    • Concrete boom pump operator
    • And more

    Avg. Salary: $45,040/year or $21.65/hr (*this entirely depends on the region you’re working in, the equipment you’re operating, and more.)


    Elevator Mechanic

    An elevator mechanic is responsible for installing and repairing vertical lift and transporting equipment, along with moving walkways and escalators.

    Avg. Salary: $78,890/year or $37.93/hr.


    Construction Estimator

    Construction estimators determine the estimated costs for a construction company to complete a project for a client. The company uses these cost estimates to establish their pricing or bids for the projects that they are competing for.

    Avg. Salary: $61,790/year or $29.70/hr.

    Are you looking to start your career in construction estimating?

    Construction Estimating 101 provides a foundation for those interested in learning more about this important function.

    Fencer/Fence Erector

    A fence erector is responsible for erecting and repairing fences and gates.


    Low – $21,800/year or $10.48/hr.

    Average – $33,150/year or $15.94/hr.

    High – $58,080/year or $27.92/hr.


    Flooring Installer

    A Flooring Installer or Flooring Contractor installs different types of flooring and floor covering in both residential and commercial buildings. They work with different product types including carpeting, vinyl and tile. They may also work with unique specialty products including ceramic tile, concrete or wood flooring.


    Low – $25,000/year or $11/hr.

    Average – $47,000/year or $16/hr.

    High – $81,000/year or $26/hr.

    Construction Foreman

    A construction foreman is responsible to lead a team or crew in completing a construction project.


    Low – $38,000/year or $16/hr.

    Average – $57,000/year or $22/hr.

    High – $83,000/year or $35/hr.

    Sources: Payscale


    Glaziers install glass in windows. They’ll work on everything from storefronts, to commercial buildings, and more.

    Avg. Salary: $41,920/year or $20.16/hr.

    HVAC Tech

    HVAC (Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers) are responsible to repair, install, and maintain heating, cooling, and ventilation systems used in buildings to control air temperature and quality.

    Avg. Salary: $50,000/year or $24.03/hr.

    Insulation Worker

    Insulation workers (or, insulation installers) install and replace insulation materials used in buildings to control and manage the temperature. It can be an indoor and outdoor job, depending on the project. They apply all insulating materials, protective coverings, coatings and finishes to all types of mechanical systems.

    Avg. Salary: $39,280/year or $18.89/hr. 



    An iron-worker (or steel erector, or structural iron worker) are responsible for building or tearing down structural iron and steel frames. This metal is often used in various kinds of buildings, as well as bridges and roads.

    Avg. Salary: $53,650/year or $25.79/hr.



    A laborer is someone who performs physical labor and various tasks to assist other trades positions. Laborers can help clean up job site debris, carry equipment, etc.

    Avg. Salary: $32,230/year or $15.49/hr.



    A landscaper works with various tools and equipment to cut grass, mulch garden beds, clean up yard/garden debris, etc. A similar but separate position is that of Landscape Architects – responsible for designing parks, and other outside spaces. A landscape architect may require a bachelors degree.


    Low – $19,160/year or $9.21/hr.

    Average – $26,320/year or $12.65/hr.

    High – $41,070/year or $19.74/hr.


    A mason is someone who is skilled in using brick, block, stone, concrete, and natural stone to form walls, walkways, patios, surfaces, and more. Other titles or positions would include:

    • Stonemason
    • Marble Setter and Polisher

    Avg. Salary: $41,230/year or $19.82/hr.


    Millwrights are responsible for installing, tearing down, or moving heavy machinery and equipment as specified on blueprints or various drawings.


    Low – $32,680/year or $15.71/hr.

    Average – $52,440/year or $25.21/hr.

    High – $78,390/year or $37.69/hr.



    A painter can be either commercial, or residential. That means some focus on painting on a large-scale (office buildings, store-fronts, managed properties, etc.) and some focus on residential work (people’s homes, etc.).

    Avg. Salary:  $37,570/year or $18.06/hr.


    Pile Driver Operator

    A pile driver is a machine used for driving piles (poles) into the ground. This position requires operation of that machine, usually while the machine is mounted on anything from skids to barges, and more.


    Low – $31,740/year or $15.26/hr.

    Average – $55,070/year or $26.48/hr.

    High – $98,840/year or $47.52/hr.



    A plasterer is someone who layers plaster on walls, moldings, or ceilings. They may also apply cement, stucco, or ornamental plaster.


    Low – $26,820/year or $12.89/hr.

    Average – $38,890/year or $18.70/hr.

    High – $71,290/year or $34.27/hr.


    Plumber, Pipefitter, Steamfitter

    A plumber is someone who installs, maintains, and repairs systems used for plumbing and draining. A pipefitter specifically assembles, maintains and repairs piping systems.

    Avg. Salary:  $51,450/year or $24.74/hr.


    Safety Manager

    Construction can be a physically challenging profession. Contractors work in situations which may expose them to different hazards. These hazards may include working at heights, working around sources of potential electrical shock or working with chemicals that may be toxic. Construction safety managers work with contractors to identify specific hazards on project sites and to develop solutions to eliminate or minimize the exposure to those hazards.

    A safety manager is responsible to monitor the job site and workers to ensure that everyone is working according to proper safety standards. They’re responsible to know OSHA safety standards, as well as various other healthy and safety practices, and to enforce them on the job site.

    Avg. Salary:  $60,555/year or $29.11/hr.

    Source: Payscale

    Sheet Metal Worker

    Sheet metal workers focus on fabricating or installing products out of metal sheets, for example, HVAC ducts.

    Avg. Salary:  $46,940/year or $22.57/hr.

    Construction Manager

    There are various kinds of managers on the job site. Construction management job titles may vary, but generally speaking, construction managers are responsible to oversee various aspects of the project, and ensure that it gets completed correctly, safely, and efficiently. They focus on planning, coordinating, budgeting, and supervising the construction project from the beginning to the end.

    Avg. Salary: $89,300/year or $42.93/hr.

    Roofing Mechanic

    The position of a Roofing Mechanic is a technical position. To be successful as a Roofing Mechanic it is important to understand the fundamentals of roofing installation and maintenance. Roofing mechanics should be able to identify specific types of roofing materials and know how to install and repair those materials.

    Avg. Salary:  $39,715/year or $17.30 per hr.


    Roofing Foreman

    The position of roofing foreman requires experience in the roofing industry. This experience includes both technical experience installing products as well as providing leadership to the crew members who are working on the project.

    Avg. Salary:  $48,980/year or $20.75 per hr.



    Welders join together or cut pieces of metal using special equipment. They use these tools to fill holes, repair damages, and create new structures.

    Avg. Salary:  $39,390/year or $18.94/hr.

    Big thanks to this Wiki article for providing this list. 

    Hopefully you found that construction trades list helpful. As you can see, there’s a lot of construction worker positions available. And while this list is very large, and covers a large amount titles, it’s not comprehensive.

    It’s fairly easy to find companies and construction jobs in each of these industries that would be happy to higher you on, if you’re dedicated, work hard, and want to advance. In most of them, you’ll be starting at the bottom as a laborer or an apprentice. But with hard work, a desire to learn, and communicating to your employer that you want to advance, all of these trades allow advancement in position and salary – and in many of them you can start with no experience at all.

    How To Get a Construction Job

    Here we’re going to talk about how to actually get a job in construction, or how to become a construction worker. Now, it’s important to understand that the exact approach you use is going to depend on which career you’re looking to get into. For example, one trade might not require any schooling or credentials, while another requires a bachelors degree or technical education certification. So the approaches you’ll take, will differ.

    How to get a “no experience necessary” construction job:

    This is an outline for the jobs listed above, that don’t require a degree or formal training.

    01. Do your research and determine which trade and which construction jobs you might want to enter in to.

    We recommend watching videos, talking to others in the trade, doing research, and learning all you can. Determine what trade you think you’ll be skilled in, which is a good fit for your life goals, and which you can make money in.

    02. Google companies near you, and make a list of all of them.

    For example, if you want to become a contractor – search for something like, “residential builders near me” or “contractors near me” or “re-modelers near me”. Start a Google Sheet (or pencil and paper list) and record: a) company name, b) owner of the company (search their website for this info), c) phone number, d) email, if you can find it. Take a look into each company, and take notice of the work they do. If you love their work, and if they seem like a good company to work for at first glance, list them in your sheet.

    03. Call each company to see if they’re hiring and learn if they’re a good employer to work for.

    Remember, you can be somewhat choosey. Right now, many companies are looking for help, so don’t get desperate and go working for a terrible one just because they’re the first company that comes along. When you call, don’t expect to talk to the owner (unless it’s a smaller company, in which case the owner might pick up). When you get someone, be short and to the point. Communicate to them that 1) who you are, 2) express your eagerness to learn the trade, 3) convey that you want to work hard, and bring value to that company (make it about them, and what they’ll get out of you), and 4) ask if they’re looking to hire anyone. Other questions you can ask are, “is there any room for advancement if I work hard and put in the time?” or “I want to ultimately be a ______ (for example, a “foreman”), if I work hard enough and long enough, can I get to that position with you?”

    04. Show up, work hard, and learn all you can.

    When things get tough, remember that you’re learning a career path on someone else’s dime. And it’s a give/take relationship, because you’re (hopefully!) bringing them a lot of value.

    How to get a construction job with requirements:

    If the position you want requires certain technical training or certification, here’s the steps we recommend.

    01. Find out what technical requirements there are.

    For example, you might need to enter a formal apprenticeship, or you might need a bachelors degree in a certain field.

    02. Go attain those requirements.

    If you need a formal apprenticeship, find out what businesses or unions around you offer one – and call them.

    03. After you’ve attained the requirements, compile a list of all companies in your area that you’d like to work for.

    We recommend creating a list of company names, phone numbers, contact names, and emails.

    04. Call those companies (or show up in person) and apply for a job,

    indicating that you have the technical requirements.


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