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Top 10 Construction Jobs for 2018, Ranked

Skilled construction workers are needed like never before— and with the resource shortage across the globe, there is no better time to consider construction jobs. If you’ve ever wondered which construction jobs are best, we’ve outlined the top ten based on median salaries, the number of jobs available, and education or training required.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Construction and Extraction Occupations, construction occupations are expected to grow by 11 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than the average growth for all occupations, resulting in a predicted 747,600 new jobs by 2026. Much of this is due to the high demand for new buildings in response to the rapidly increasing population.

So, which construction jobs are the best?

Every year, US News ranks the top industry jobs based on median salaries, open positions, and opportunities for promotion. Different skills and levels of education are required for each, and no two jobs are exactly the same. Read on to find out which construction jobs are best, starting with number 10.

Top 10 Construction Jobs for 2018

#10 Brickmason and Blockmason

Coming in at number 10 is the Brickmason/Blockmason. They’re responsible for laying bricks and structural stone blocks for residential and/or commercial buildings. Brickmasons usually work with veneer and structural brick, while blockmasons handle the structural side of things. Masons need to follow detailed instructions, cut brick and stones to the correct sizes, mix mortar and grout, and assemble the required structures. Aspiring brickmasons and blockmasons will need on-the-job training and skills obtained from technical schools or training programs. Their median salary is $49,250, with the 75th percentile coming in at $64,000.


#9 Sheet Metal Worker

Sheet metal workers are responsible for heating and cooling systems (HVAC) and/or industrial, architectural, or sheet metal work. They can make, assemble, or service HVAC systems in buildings, and fabricate or install fans and ductwork. Skills required are critical thinking and a good understanding of algebra and trigonometry. There are apprenticeship opportunities available for those interested in on-the-job training. The median salary is $46,940, with the 75th percentile earning close to $63,000 annually.


#8 Glazier

Glaziers work on commercial or residential buildings to cut and install glass for windows, doors, etc. There is much of a physical dependency with this trade, as large pieces of glass need to be carried several stories to the proper area of a new building. A high school diploma is required, and candidates with solid mathematical capabilities are usually prefered. The median salary is $41,920, with the 75th percentile of workers making around $75,000.


#7 Painter

For those interested in the painting trade, there are plenty of jobs available. Painters are responsible for working on new infrastructure, the outside of commercial and residential buildings, and new architecture developments. A common route is working for building finishing contractors closer to the end of a project. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training are usually required, and credits achieved from the apprenticeships usually even count towards an associate’s degree. The median salary is $37,570, although the 75th percentile earns around $50,000.


#6 Construction Worker

Construction workers can fit into any three skilled trades: carpenters, glaziers, and masons, and in operations, including construction managers and surveyors who focus on administrative work for projects. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics claims that 1.2 million construction workers were required to do an exhaustive list of duties in 2016, highlighting the need for workers performing administrative tasks. The suggested educational work involves on-the-job training as a general construction worker. From here, workers can be introduced to a wide variety of construction professions. The median salary is $33,430, with the 75th percentile making upwards of $45,000.


#5 Carpenter

Carpenters work on both residential and nonresidential buildings and others work for contractors in foundation, structure, building exteriors, or building finishing. Carpenters are responsible for constructing and repairing building frameworks and structures like door frames or stairways. The profession requires an immense amount of mathematical knowledge, including trigonometry and geometry. Physical strength is also a requirement, as heavy lifting is necessary to complete jobs. The median salary for a carpenter is $43,600 while the 75th percentile makes upwards of $58,700.


#4 Solar Photovoltaic Installer

A relatively new profession, solar photovoltaic installers piece solar panels together and install them on homes and commercial buildings. They help building and homeowners generate sustainable energy captured by the sun, and the profession is expected to grow year after year. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts this profession to leap more than 105 percent, resulting in more than 11,900 new jobs by 2026. The median salary for a solar photovoltaic installer is $39,240, with the 75th percentile reaching upwards of $49,000.


#3 Electrician

Electricians are responsible for designing lighting systems, making sure electrical work is up to code, and installing lights and systems. Electricians can specialize in installing, maintaining, repairing, or designing electrical systems for residential or commercial buildings. It can be a dangerous job, so quality training programs are required. In addition to training, most workers have a high school diploma or equivalent with technical school training before an apprenticeship. The median salary is $52,720, with the 75th percentile making around $70,000 per year.


#2 Construction Manager

Coming in at number two is the construction manager. Their general duties can include gathering worker permits, being ready in case of emergencies on site, scheduling walkthroughs, and updating the clients on project progress. Construction managers work on projects from planning and budgeting, to production, and seeing a project through to completion. Although some tradespeople work their way up to construction managers, it’s becoming increasingly more common to see new managers with Bachelor’s degrees in construction management, engineering, or architecture. The median salary of a construction manager is $89,300, with the 75th percentile making almost $120,000 annually.


#1 Plumber

Plumbers make everyone’s lives easier. It seems that most people don’t really appreciate them until they’re left without water. They develop plans for pipes and fixtures and work to install and connect pipes (either alone or with pipefitters) and work to obtain water supply from the pipes to ensure showers, sinks, bathtubs, or any other appliance that needs water is functioning properly. Training and study are required to become a plumber, and many unions even mandate around 246 hours of education in the technical field. Common skills required include a solid understanding of math and applied physics. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts a 16 percent growth in plumber trades by 2026, resulting in almost 76,000 new jobs. Their median salary is $51,450 with the 75th percentile making around $69,000.


Whether you’re involved in one of these trades or you’ve been thinking of joining this rapidly growing industry, construction jobs are here to stay. What new construction jobs do you predict in the next five, ten, or twenty years?

Concerned about rapidly changing technology and how it could affect the future of construction? Download our free guide to learn more.

About the Author

Sarah is the Lead Content Strategist for Trimble Buildings, CEC (Civil Engineering & Construction), and Geospatial. She has worked on many large scale marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, helping them define their story and shape a compelling narrative. Now, she focuses on creating and sourcing valuable thought leadership content for our readers.

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