6 Different Jobs in the Construction Industry: Which Pays the Best?

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Jan 21, 2021

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The construction industry offers many lucrative positions, each unique in terms of responsibilities, skill requirements, and potential earnings. As you embark on finding the right construction-related career path, it's essential to consider factors like job satisfaction and long-term growth and ensure the job aligns with your interests with your strengths. 

But if you are not sure what to choose, this article explores six diverse roles within the sector you may want to consider. 

1. Construction Managers

As the name suggests, construction management entails supervising projects and managing teams of workers. The primary responsibility of these individuals lies in supervising every aspect of a construction project from start to finish. Their duties include managing budgets, scheduling tasks, procuring materials, and coordinating with subcontractors and clients. They may also be responsible for enforcing safety guidelines and quality standards throughout each phase of the project – all while meeting specific deadlines. 

To excel as a construction manager, one must possess excellent communication skills for interacting with diverse teams consisting of architects, engineers, laborers, and other stakeholders. One should also demonstrate strong organizational skills to manage resources effectively while addressing any potential conflicts or delays that may arise.

Formal education requirements for this role often include a degree in engineering or construction management – though some construction managers work their way up through years of experience on job sites. Certifications such as the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) or Project Management Professional (PMP) can further enhance employability by showcasing industry expertise.

As a construction manager, you can expect to earn an impressive salary, given the level of responsibility and expertise required. The average salary for a construction manager in the United States is around $98,890 per year. However, with experience and strong skills, some construction managers earn upwards of $150,000. One factor that contributes to this high pay is the need for excellent organizational abilities and decision-making skills. 

2. Structural Engineers

Structural engineers play a critical role in ensuring the integrity of buildings and infrastructure projects. They analyze structures made from steel, concrete, or wood to determine whether they can withstand various forces like stress, strain, or vibrations. With expertise in mathematics and engineering principles, structural engineers collaborate with architects to design solid yet functional buildings.

The average salary for a structural engineer is approximately $88,050 annually. Earning potential increases with experience and professional certification such as Professional Engineer (PE) or Structural Engineer (SE). Job opportunities in this field are diverse, spanning industries like residential construction, commercial building projects, and transportation infrastructure. 

3. Architects 

Architects hold a vital and distinctive place in the construction industry, blending creativity with functionality to create inspiring designs. They are responsible for conceptualizing aesthetically pleasing buildings that meet clients' requirements while adhering to safety regulations, structural limitations, and sustainability practices. 

The role of an architect goes beyond mere design, encompassing all stages of a project – from conceptual drawings and detailed plans to coordinating with various professionals like engineers or contractors. They also play a role in securing permits, creating cost estimates for clients, and supervising the construction process to ensure quality standards.

To pursue a career as an architect, one must undertake rigorous formal education that includes obtaining a professional architecture degree, followed by completing an internship and passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). Licensure requirements include both academic accomplishments and practical experience. 

The average salary for an architect in the United States is around $80,180 per year. Of course, the more experience you have and the more prominent your projects, the higher your earnings may be. Additionally, architects who own their own firms can potentially make more money.

4. Electricians 

Electricians are responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. They work with power supplies, lighting systems, and various electrical components. To become a licensed electrician requires completion of an apprenticeship program followed by passing relevant state or national licensing exams.

The average salary for an electrician in the United States is around $60,040 per year. Experienced electricians who specialize in specific fields or own their businesses have the potential to earn higher incomes. The demand for skilled electricians remains strong due to new construction projects and the need to update older electrical systems.

5. Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Plumbers play an indispensable, yet often underappreciated, role in the construction industry by ensuring that various plumbing systems function correctly and efficiently. They install, repair, and maintain pipes and fittings in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Their work covers water supply lines, waste disposal systems, and even gas connections that power appliances.

To become a licensed plumber requires vocational training and hands-on experience through apprenticeships or trade schools, followed by passing relevant examinations. The best bit about this career is that the average salary for a plumber in the United States is approximately $59,880 per year. 

As with other positions in the construction industry, experience can lead to increased earnings. For instance, master plumbers with years of expertise can command salaries over $70,000 annually. 

6. Roofers

Roofing is another vital job within the construction industry. Roofers are responsible for repairing, replacing, and installing various types of roofs on commercial and residential buildings. In addition to these tasks, roofers design roofing estimates and invoices to help clients understand the cost breakdown for a roofing project.

The average salary for a roofer in the United States is around $47,110 per year. However, as with other jobs in the construction sector, experience can significantly influence earnings. Skilled roofers with expertise in various roofing systems and materials may expect higher salaries.

It's worth mentioning that many roofing projects are seasonal or dependent on weather conditions. Consequently, some roofers might experience fluctuating income throughout the year. Nevertheless, owning a successful roofing business or specializing in high-demand areas can potentially lead to increased earnings. 


The construction industry is quite expansive, offering a multitude of career paths. Each role comes with unique responsibilities that require specific skill sets but also provide rewarding experiences that contribute fundamentally to building a better world. 

Remember that personal interests and skills should weigh into your decision when choosing a construction-related career path. And for a more fulfilling work experience, be sure to strike a balance between financial prospects and job satisfaction.

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June 17, 2023
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