Types of Construction Jobs
Construction jobs can range from architects and CAD designers to positions that require boots on the ground of a construction site. You may be surprised at the range of jobs in construction and what it takes to be successful in the field.
General Construction Worker
The construction job with the lowest barrier to entry is general construction worker, as there are no training requirements. Personal skills needed to be successful as a general construction worker include the ability to be on time at the assigned job site and being willing to do a variety of physically demanding tasks. Construction workers assist the trades in their duties, such as carpentry, drywalling, bricklaying, and roofing.
Masons: Brick, Block, Stone, Concrete
Brick, block, stone, and cement masons work with their respective medium to erect and repair structures such as buildings, fireplaces and chimneys, fences, floors, and roads. Masons need to be able to read blueprints, prepare and level surfaces, create forms, mix and maintain mediums, as well as spread and level mixtures during applications. Troweling mixtures can require extended periods of time working at various levels that can put stress on the shoulders, back, and legs, depending on the surface.
Carpenters do the small- to medium-sized jobs on construction sites. Tasks include staining and painting fresh or repaired surfaces, cutting sidings and moldings, and doing any necessary repairs. A carpenter must be comfortable using power tools. Reading blueprints is a critical skill for carpenters to be able to measure and cut materials properly.
A roofer cannot be afraid of heights and must be comfortable working on uneven and sometimes slippery surfaces. Roofers must be able to estimate materials properly, remove old roofing on older buildings and nail roofing paper. Roofers routinely work with tar, gravel, shingles, and tiles to construct and repair roofs.
Like roofers, glaziers cannot be afraid of heights as they install and remove glass in windows, skylights and commercial buildings. They repair, install and seal windows of various types. Working conditions include settings similar to window-washing.
Welders and Steel Workers
Welders and steel workers are more common in commercial construction than residential work, but they can work in both settings. There are hundreds of different welding processes that a welder can specialize in. Their main responsibilities are reading blueprints, laying out and fabricating steel and sheet metal, and working with rebar for concrete structures.
Electricians represent the first of the construction jobs that mandates extensive training. Becoming a master or journeyman electrician requires four to five years of apprenticeship, and most areas require a licensing exam to work independently. Electricians need to be familiar with safety procedures, electrical theory, electrical codes, and math. Some specialties, such as elevator repair, can require additional training.
Plumbers also undergo an extensive training process, with four or five years of apprenticeship. During training, plumbers develop an understanding of building codes and blueprints. Plumbers are responsible for installing and repairing pipes and other plumbing fixtures from faucets to septic tanks. Conditions are often dirty and smelly for repair work, so a strong stomach is a personal prerequisite.
Construction Supervisor and Manager
One of the highest-paying construction jobs is also in high demand. An associate’s degree with additional on-site construction experience is a typical requirement for the job of construction supervisor, while a bachelor’s degree in building or construction sciences is necessary for the role of construction manager. Construction managers provide direct supervision of the construction site. They need a combination of professional skills to be able to troubleshoot issues on-site, management skills to supervise staff, and personal skills such as the ability to think analytically and to communicate effectively in meetings, proposals, and reports.
The field of construction provides ample opportunity to start at any level and work up the professional ranks for increased compensation. While the average general construction worker makes the same as a bank teller, electricians and plumbers average the same income as family therapists. Construction managers, in fact, can earn more money than many computer systems analysts and civil engineers.