Are you thinking about pursuing a career in the construction industry, or are you an independent contractor looking to increase your earning potential? If so, there are plenty of jobs to choose from, with opportunities ranging from unskilled labor to highly specialized artisanal skills.
Employment opportunities in the construction industry are expected to grow by 4% by 2029, equaling 296,300 new jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for construction workers is nearly 20% higher than the median salary for all jobs. 1
We’ve put together a list of the eight best paying construction jobs based on salary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to help you identify opportunities that might be a good fit.
Interested in learning more about construction job opportunities? Check out special report on best U.S. cities for construction work.
Top paying construction jobs
It’s important to remember the amount you can earn may be higher or lower than what is listed with the professions in this article. Construction worker salaries for any job vary based on various factors, including your skill level, how much experience you have and your area’s job market.
All of the jobs included in this list require a high school diploma or equivalent. No jobs require a college degree. But you need to complete an apprenticeship to work in every profession except construction and building inspector.
1. Elevator installers and repairers ($84,990)
With a median salary of nearly $85,000, elevator installers and repairers top our list of high paying contract jobs. By 2029, opportunities in this field are expected to grow by 7% — well above the average of 4% expected for overall job growth.
But if you’re not comfortable in small spaces, this profession might not be your best bet. Elevator installers and repairs often work in small, enclosed areas, such as crawl spaces, machine rooms and elevator shafts.
It’s also important to consider that job opportunities can be limited in smaller communities that don’t have many multi-story buildings. But if you live within commuting distance of a major metro area, you’ll likely find more opportunities.
This job title is a little misleading because professionals in this field don’t just install, repair and perform routine maintenance on elevators. They also work on escalators, moving walkways and chair lifts. They’re responsible for ensuring the equipment is safe, working correctly and up to code.
Many states require elevator installers and repairers to have a license.
2. Boilermaker ($63,100)
Boilermakers install and repair boilers, vats and other large containers that hold liquid or gas. They test and inspect the machines to ensure they’re working correctly, clean the equipment, and repair and replace components.
Boilermakers often work at construction sites and may travel away from home for extended periods. While boilermakers earn a decent living, opportunities in this field may be limited. Job growth is expected to be only 1%, which is much lower than average.
3. Construction and building inspector ($60,710)
Construction workers and building inspectors are some of the highest paid contractors in the construction industry, with a median salary of just under $61,000.
If you’re just getting started, this isn’t the job for you because it typically requires several years of related work experience. But if you’ve worked in the industry for a while, it could be a good opportunity for you to boost your earning potential.
Many state and local authorities require construction and building inspectors to have a license or other certification. Professionals in these jobs monitor construction projects to ensure that buildings, streets, bridges, sewer systems, and other structures are up to code, adhere to zoning regulations and meet the contract’s requirements.
They typically must submit their findings to project stakeholders and regulatory agencies when the project is complete.
4. Electrician ($56,180)
If you’ve ever needed to install a new overhead light or replace old wiring in your home, you’re probably familiar with the type of work electricians do. They are typically responsible for installing and maintaining the electrical, communications, lighting and control systems in residential and commercial buildings. Getting an electrician license is required in most states, and together with electrician insurance these are the first steps to a successful career.
If you’re looking for a high paying contract job with plenty of opportunities, this might be a good fit. From 2019-2029, the expected job growth for electricians is expected to be 8% — twice the expected growth rate for all occupations.
5. Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters ($55,160)
These professionals install and repair pipes, fixtures and related systems that transport water, gas and additional materials through houses and other buildings. They also clean out drains to prevent back-ups and other issues.
6. Ironworkers ($53,650)
Ironworkers install iron and steel components during the construction of new buildings, roads, bridges and other structures. They also reinforce existing structures and assist with the demolition of older buildings.
7. Sheet metal workers ($50,400)
Sheet metal workers make or install products constructed from thin sheets of metal, including steel, aluminum and alloyed metals.
They’re responsible for choosing the right type of sheet to use, based on each job’s requirements of each job. Projects they work on include heating and cooling ducts, outdoor pipes, gutters and flashing.
There won’t be as many opportunities for sheet metal workers compared to other jobs on this list. Job growth in this profession is only projected to be about 1% over the next nine years. However, almost every building requires sheet metal for ducts and other structural systems, so you might be able to find a niche in your community.
8. Carpenters ($48,330)
Carpenters round out our list of top paying construction jobs. They cut, shape, install and repair walls, floors, door frames and other structures made of wood, plastic, fiberglass and drywall. They’re an integral part of a wide range of construction projects, including bridges, commercial buildings, residential properties and more. They are often required to have carpenter insurance due to the risk of injury and property damage.
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