The Top 10 Highest Paying Careers in Building and Construction

best paying construction jobs

Are you interested in a career where you can see the results of your labor, literally? This list of top 10 highest paying careers in building and construction includes opportunities for people who want to manage projects, as well as those individuals who are interested in hands-on work.

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#1 Senior Project Manager

Job Description

A senior project manager is responsible for overseeing and managing a construction project from start to finish. Job duties include developing schedule which includes a plan for using resources effectively, recruiting and coordinating the work performed by subcontractors and obtaining all permits and licenses required for the project.

Salary

The median salary for a senior level project manager in the construction industry is $109,431.

Special Skills and Training

Four-year degree holders in construction management or construction science would be considered for this role. Along with a university degree, the senior project manager would have at least five years of experience working on increasingly complex construction projects in a supervisory capacity.

#2 Corporate Construction Manager

Job Description

A corporate construction manager is responsible for planning and coordinating a variety of projects, including roads, bridges, industrial plants, commercial buildings and homes. The work involves hiring subcontractors and scheduling their work to ensure the project is completed on time and on budget.

Salary

People working as construction managers earn a median rate of pay of $101,333 per year.

Special Skills and Training

Most employers want to hire candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in construction management, construction science or civil engineering who have several years of field experience. Managers working on large projects will likely have a Masters degree in construction management.

#3 Bricklayer

Job Description

Bricklayers mix and apply mortar to bricks and scrape off the excess. They are responsible for laying and stocking the bricks to build walls, partitions, fireplaces, and other types of structures.

Salary

The median salary for senior bricklayer is $57,366 per annum.

Special Skills and Training

Some bricklayers learn their trade on the job, while others are trained in a three or four-year apprenticeship program. Masonry courses may also be offered at technical and trade schools.

#4 Pipefitter

Job Description

Pipefitters install and make repairs to high pressure and low pressure pipe systems used for heating and cooling systems, electricity generation and in manufacturing facilities. They are also responsible for installing the automatic controls which regulate them.

Salary

The median salary for an experienced pipefitter is $55,895 per annum.

Special Skills and Training

Community colleges and technical schools offer training programs in pipefitting. Some pipefitters get their training through a four or five-year apprenticeship program.

#5 Electrician

Job Description

Electricians are responsible for installing, testing, and maintaining electrical wiring and equipment. They connect wires to transformers, circuit breakers and other components using hand and power tools.

Salary

The median annual salary for electrician is $52,735.

Special Skills and Training

Most electricians have completed a four-year apprenticeship program which combines classroom instruction with on-the-job training. Electricians are required to be licensed in most states.

#6 Plumber

Job Description

A plumber maintains and repairs the pipes which bring water to homes, commercial buildings, institutions and recreational areas. Their work includes checking for and repairing leaks in pipes, and inspecting blueprints before laying out and installing pipes from the kitchen and bathroom areas to the drainage system.

Salary

The median salary level for plumbers is $50,927.

Special Skills and Training

Plumbers learn their trade by completing a four-year apprenticeship program. They are required to complete a certain number of hours of classroom instruction each year, as well as their practical training. In most states, plumbers must be licensed.

#7 Ceiling Tile Installer

Job Description

Salary

Ceiling tile installers measure, cut and apply drywall, acoustical tiles or sheets of shock-absorbing materials to ceilings of buildings.

A ceiling tile installer can expect to earn a median salary of $50,656 a year.

Special Skills and Training

A high school diploma or GED is required for this job. Ceiling tile installers receive on-the-job training and work under supervision of a more experienced crew member.

#8 Building Inspector

Job Description

A building inspector examines plans for new construction to ensure that they meet local zoning requirements. They also visit the job site to check to see that appropriate structural quality and safety standards are being met. The building inspector examines the foundation, framing, stairways, chimneys, as well as electrical and cooling systems of a project.

Salary

A building inspector makes median rate of pay of $47,685 annually.

Special Skills and Training

A high school diploma and a number of years of experience in one of the construction trades will qualify someone to become a building inspector. Some inspectors have taken college-level courses in engineering or architecture.

#9 Carpenter

Job Description

Carpenters work with wood and other materials for home, commercial building and furniture construction. They examine, measure and cut wood and other materials, install windows and doors, and frame buildings of all sizes. Carpenters also install ceiling, floor and wall panels. Some carpenters specialize in making custom or standard furniture items.

Salary

The median annual salary for a carpenter is $43,712 per year.

Special Skills and Training

High school students can start preparing for a career as a carpenter by taking classes in algebra, geometry, physics, blueprint reading and English. After graduation, a future carpenter can get training from a vocational school or community college, or find a job as a carpenter’s helper. Completing an apprenticeship is another option, although there are limited spots available.

#10 Crane Operator

Job Description

Crane operators spend their work days sitting in the cab of their machine, which may be high above the ground, or in a remote control center on the job site. The crane operator controls machinery using levers, petals, switches and dials.

Salary

A crane operator can expect to earn a median salary of $42,448 per annum.

Special Skills and Training

The best way to learn how to become a crane operator is by completing an apprenticeship program. Along with a minimum of 144 hours spent in class each year, apprentices complete a minimum of three years of on-the-job training.

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