Careers in construction

Careers in Construction: Trades that pay

Careers in Construction: Trades that pay

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With the cost of traditional 4-year colleges and no guarantee of a stable, well-paying job after graduating, those entering the workforce are faced with a big decision: What are my options? That same question is asked by professionals looking to change industries or learn something new but who lack the desire, funds, or time to go back to college. So what’s out there on the job market?

The construction industry has your answer. After taking a hit from the restraints of the pandemic, there’s a shortage in the workforce centered around laborers in skilled trades, and construction companies are paying top-notch to fill the void.

So, why not get your hands dirty and make some great money doing it? Here are some trades in construction that require high school level education or equivalent and pay a salary worth checking out:

Construction Trade: Electrician

Electrician: The one with all the power

From blueprints to maintenance, electricians design, install, inspect, repair, and maintain electrical systems within homes, businesses, and other buildings.

Being an electrician can be dangerous, especially when dealing with old wiring, working at dangerous heights, or tight spaces. Because of this, protective gear and a heightened awareness of one’s surroundings are essential tools in this field. 

You can begin a career as an electrician through an apprenticeship program or by attending a technical school. Whichever path you choose, you’ll need to keep up with not only the basics in electrical information but primary safety practices, updated electrical codes, and specific manufacturer products. 

Though different states have different requirements, you’ll most likely need to perform well on an exam or two related to the field and a license upon completing training. Reaching even that point will help you land one of the 62,200 jobs projected to open in that field.

So what’s the salary price tag on all this hard work and dedication? A whopping 56k a year on average, and that’s without a degree. With the intensity and physical demand of the job, a career in this trade is bound to be stressful, but with the right skill and good training, it may just be worth the price.

Construction Trade: Plumber

Plumber: The one with good pipes

Troubleshooting pipework is no easy feat. Installing, inspecting, and repairing pipes takes unbelievable problem solving and precision.

Similar to the career of an electrician, a plumber’s job can be pretty dangerous. Water causes slippery surfaces and can lead to the occasional on-site injury. Still, a plumber’s domain is more than just water. 

Piping systems are responsible for gas, air, and any other liquids necessary for the houses, businesses, and other buildings they service. This particular line of work plays a heavy hand in sanitation, water preservation, as well as heating and cooling systems.

Following your high school education, it may be best to train as an apprentice if you want to get into the plumbing business. Staying up to date with safety regulations and getting the much-needed hands-on experience and training will set you up for a job with a union or independent work. Again, each state will have its own required licenses.

Though this isn’t the type of employment most job seekers are scouring job boards for, plumbers are paid a pretty penny and are ranked #4 in U.S. News’ Best Construction Jobs list. That’s because plumbers, on average, could earn between 52 and 55k a year, again, without a degree.

Construction Trade: Equipment Operator

Equipment Operator: The one with all the toys

All those large and heavy pieces of machinery have to be handled by somebody, and construction equipment operators are just who the job calls for.

Operating large equipment can be highly stressful because of the conditions or location of construction sites. Equipment operators need to know the safety rules and regulations on every job site because their work and the tools they work with effect the safety of everyone around them.

Excavating, paving, moving materials, and even maintenance of the tools and machinery they use, equipment operators are responsible for ensuring they’re doing their job as safely and efficiently as possible so that everyone else on the job site can do theirs also.

Networking and on-the-job training are the beginning steps for those looking to join this field of work. There are also apprenticeship programs available where construction workers may find themselves sponsored by a union or contractor. State licensing and certifications may vary.

With great responsibility comes great reward. Especially when it comes to equipment operators. So, what’s the average salary for this position, you might ask? About 49k, and the best paid have made 64k as of 2019. With the burden of job-site safety and proper machine use, it’s a relief that the pay reflects the challenge of the role.

Pick up a hard hat and give it a try.

Skilled laborers are an essential asset to the construction workforce and the entire industry. Day-in and day-out, their intellectual strength and technical know-how are put to the test in some of the most challenging and dangerous environments.

Suppose you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of trades in construction. In that case, it may be beneficial to do some research on local construction companies or contractor associations. Search for trade schools or formal apprenticeship programs nearby with the resources and training necessary for your newfound professional goals. Better yet, find a mentor that can help guide and mold you into the next MVP of construction. 

A recruiter could also be an excellent resource for getting into the construction industry. As the eyes and ears of the industry, gpac is a recruiting agency that places individuals in the construction industry daily across the nation. Check out the Job Board or reach out to a recruiter here.

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