Construction - Career Information

Construction picture    Construction image

Construction: Schools and Careers Goods and services provided by professionals in the construction industry are incredibly vast and diverse. Goods include office buildings, schools, hospitals, apartment and condominium buildings, houses, bridges, and roads. Services range from site preparation and inspection to building new structures and additions. Because of the many jobs that the field of construction encompasses, the career outlook for construction careers remains relatively bright. Specifically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment opportunities for all construction trade workers will increase by as much as 22 percent from 2012 to 2022.

The construction industry is segmented into three major areas:

  • Construction of Buildings: Mainly includes general contractors who are responsible for the coordination and complete construction of industrial, commercial, residential, and other buildings (except for items excluded from a general contract).

  • Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction Contractors: Individuals in this segment build roadways, highways, tunnels, bridges, sewers, and more.

  • Specialty Trade Contractors: Individuals in this segment specialize in areas related to construction projects (e.g., electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, painting, flooring).

Some of the most common traits required for all careers in the construction industry include:

  • Ability to work outdoors and indoors; often times in strenuous conditions
  • Good physical condition
  • Ability to work a minimum of 40 hours/week or more (very common)
  • Ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines
  • Strong mechanical aptitude

Some of the most popular careers in this field are as follows:

  • Carpenters
  • Construction and Building Inspectors
  • Construction Equipment Operators
  • Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
  • Supervisors Of Construction and Extraction Workers
  • Boilermakers
  • Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons
  • Cement Masons and Terrazzo Workers
  • Construction Laborers and Helpers
  • Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers
  • Glaziers
  • Hazardous Materials Removal Workers
  • Insulation Workers
  • Painters, Construction and Maintenance
  • Roofers
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Structural Iron and Steel Workers
  • Tile and Marble Setters

Top Careers in Construction (BLS, 2013)

CareerNumber of Workers Nationally in 2013Job DescriptionDegree Requirements
Carpenters580,570Carpenters measure, cut, and shape wood in order to build frameworks for buildings. They also use wood and other materials to create interior products for homes and buildings, such as staircases, wooden railings, wood trim, and moldings.According to the BLS, some carpenters learn the skills on the job and others complete an apprenticeship.
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters351,380Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install pipes in a way that meets local and state building codes. They also replace worn parts and troubleshoot problems that arise within simple and complex plumbing systems.Some plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters learn their skills on the job. However, many learn their trade by completing a program at a trade or technical school.
Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons69,150These professionals use their expertise with bricks, blocks, and stone to build foundations and create attractive features on buildings and homes. They work with various tools and materials and typically follow blueprints or plans in order to present the desired outcome for each job.According to the BLS, many professionals in this field complete a 1-2 year program at a trade or technical school.
Construction Managers213,720Construction managers prepare estimates and budgets for a variety of construction jobs and projects. They supervise workers and ensure that all work is being completed to code.The BLS notes that most employers prefer to hire construction managers who have a Bachelor's degree and experience in a construction or building-related field.
Boilermakers15,950These workers build and install boilers and other containers that hold liquids and gases. They may also use welding equipment to replace broken parts or valves associated these vessels.Boilermakers usually need a high school diploma and some experience with welding equipment to get started.

Construction Career Education

Many construction careers begin with on-the-job training or an apprenticeship, but others get started with postsecondary education at a trade or technical school. The following table uses BLS data to outline the different degree and certificate options in this field and what kind of career they may help you qualify for:

Education TypeTimeline for CompletionPossible Careers
Certificate or ApprenticeshipAlthough timelines vary considerably depending on the program you choose, many certificate programs can be completed in one year or less. Meanwhile, apprenticeships can last anywhere from 1-5 years.Carpenters, Construction and Building Inspectors, Construction Equipment Operators, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, Boilermakers, Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons, Cement Masons and Terrazzo Workers, Construction Laborers and Helpers, Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers, Glaziers, Hazardous Materials Removal Workers, Insulation Workers, Painters, Construction and Maintenance, Roofers, Sheet Metal Workers, Structural Iron and Steel Workers
AssociateAssociate degrees can typically be completed with two years of full-time study. However, programs completed on a part-time basis may take longer.Supervisors Of Construction and Extraction Workers, Structural Iron and Steel Workers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Bachelor'sBachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.Construction Manager


"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Carpenters,

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters,

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Steonemasons,

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Construction Managers,

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Boilermakers,

Schools for Construction are listed in the column to the left.

Careers and Salary Data

This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.

Click each Occupation title for more details.

Construction and Extraction

Median Pay
% Growth
Boilermakers15,820    $63,100    5.9%
Brickmasons, Blockmasons, and Stonemasons23,480    $35,410    10.8%
Carpenters734,170    $48,330    8.0%
Cement Masons and Terrazzo Workers196,120    $44,810    11.1%
Construction and Building Inspectors110,420    $60,710    6.6%
Construction Equipment Operators405,750    $48,980    9.6%
Construction Laborers and Helpers1,020,350    $36,860    10.5%
Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers, and Tapers102,850    $45,700    2.3%
Glaziers52,400    $44,630    10.7%
Hazardous Materials Removal Workers44,240    $43,900    10.6%
Insulation Workers33,550    $40,380    2.8%
Painters, Construction and Maintenance232,760    $40,280    6.0%
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters442,870    $55,160    13.6%
Roofers129,690    $42,100    11.8%
Sheet Metal Workers131,300    $50,400    8.0%
Structural Iron and Steel Workers76,570    $55,040    11.5%
Supervisors Of Construction and Extraction Workers626,180    $66,210    10.4%
Tile and Marble Setters40,470    $43,050    17.6%
Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Selected Schools for Construction (including any online schools)

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab.
Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school.