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Average Salary
$28,800
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
13,168
Job Openings

Construction Labour Careers

Buildings don't just magically appear in our world. People have to build them. But it's not that simple. There's a lot of cleaning and prep work that needs to be done before any structure or building goes up. And that's all done thanks to construction laborers.

It's a tough job that is likely to leave a few bruises and blisters, here and there. A lot of times, you're out in the midst of the weather. Which can range from snow and ice to dry and hot. Sometimes, a nice day will blow through so that when you're moving materials and pouring concrete it's not so bad.

But still, this is not a job to take lightly. The best part about this job is that you really only need a high school degree and maybe some on-the-job training. Other than that, you'll just have to smile through the pain. Once you see your work, it'll all be worth it.

What Does a Construction Labour Do

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

Duties

Construction laborers and helpers typically do the following:

  • Clean and prepare construction sites by removing debris and possible hazards
  • Load or unload building materials to be used in construction
  • Build or take apart bracing, scaffolding, and temporary structures
  • Dig trenches, backfill holes, or compact earth to prepare for construction
  • Operate or tend equipment and machines used in construction
  • Follow construction plans and instructions from supervisors or more experienced workers
  • Assist craftworkers with their duties

Construction laborers and helpers work on almost all construction sites, performing a wide range of tasks varying in complexity from very easy to extremely difficult and hazardous. Although many of the tasks they perform require some training and experience, most tasks can be learned quickly. 

Construction laborers, are also referred to as construction craft laborers, perform a wide variety of construction-related activities during all phases of construction. Many laborers spend their time preparing and cleaning up construction sites, using tools such as shovels and brooms. Other workers, for example, those on road crews, may specialize and learn to control traffic patterns and operate pavement breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers, or surveying equipment.

With special training, laborers may help transport and use explosives or run hydraulic boring machines to dig out tunnels. They may learn to use lasers to place pipes and to use computers to control robotic pipe cutters. They may become certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals.

Helpers assist construction craftworkers, such as electricians and carpenters, with a variety of tasks. They may carry tools and materials or help set up equipment. For example, many helpers work with cement masons to move and set the forms that determine the shape of poured concrete. Many other helpers assist with taking apart equipment, cleaning up sites, and disposing of waste, as well as helping with any other needs of craftworkers.

Many construction trades have helpers who assist craftworkers. The following trades have associated helpers:

  • Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons, and tile and marble setters
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons
  • Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters
  • Roofers

How To Become a Construction Labour

Construction laborers and helpers learn their trade through on-the-job training (OJT). The length of training depends on the employer and the specialization. Formal education is not typically required.

Education

Although formal education is not typically required, high school classes in mathematics, blueprint reading, welding, and other vocational subjects can be helpful.

To receive further education, some workers attend a trade school or community college.

Training

Construction laborers and helpers learn through OJT after being hired by a construction contractor. Workers typically gain experience by performing tasks under the guidance of experienced workers.

Although the majority of construction laborers and helpers learn by assisting experienced workers, some construction laborers opt for apprenticeship programs. Programs generally include 2 to 4 years of technical instruction and OJT. The Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) requires a minimum of 4,000 hours of OJT, accompanied by 300 hours of related instruction in such areas as signaling, blueprint reading, using proper tools and equipment, and following health and safety procedures. The remainder of the curriculum consists of specialized training in one of these eight areas:

  • Building construction
  • Demolition and deconstruction
  • Environmental remediation
  • Road and utility construction
  • Tunneling
  • Masonry
  • Landscaping
  • Pipeline construction

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs, which usually have only a basic age qualification—age 18 or older—for entrance. Apprentices must obtain a high school diploma or equivalent before completing their apprenticeship. Some apprenticeship programs have preferred entry for veterans.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Laborers who remove hazardous materials (hazmat) must meet the federal and state requirements for hazardous materials removal workers.

Depending on the work they do, laborers may need specific certifications, which may be attained through LIUNA. Rigging and scaffold building are commonly attained certifications. Certification can help workers prove that they have the knowledge to perform more complex tasks.

Advancement

Through experience and training, construction laborers and helpers can advance into positions that involve more complex tasks. For example, laborers may earn certifications in welding, erecting scaffolding, or finishing concrete, and then spend more time performing those activities. Similarly, helpers sometimes move into construction craft occupations after gaining experience in the field. For example, experience as an electrician’s helper may lead to becoming an apprentice electrician.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Construction laborers and helpers may need to be able to distinguish colors to do their job. For example, an electrician’s helper must be able to distinguish different colors of wire to help the lead electrician.

Math skills. Construction laborers and some helpers need to perform basic math calculations while measuring on jobsites or assisting a surveying crew.

Mechanical skills. Construction laborers are frequently required to operate and maintain equipment, such as jackhammers.

Physical stamina. Construction laborers and helpers must have the endurance to perform strenuous tasks throughout the day. Highway laborers, for example, spend hours on their feet—often in hot temperatures—with few breaks.

Physical strength. Construction laborers and helpers must often lift heavy materials or equipment. For example, cement mason helpers must move cinder blocks, which typically weigh more than 40 pounds each.

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Average Salary
$28,800
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
13,168
Job Openings

Construction Labour Career Paths

Top Careers Before Construction Labour

Cashier
11.8 %

Top Careers After Construction Labour

Driver
6.9 %

Construction Labour Jobs You Might Like

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Construction Labour

Construction Labours in America make an average salary of $28,800 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $51,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $16,000 per year.
Average Salary
$28,800
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Jackson, NJ
Salary Range30k - 50k$39k$39,345
Seattle, WA
Salary Range33k - 45k$39k$38,989
New York, NY
Salary Range29k - 48k$38k$37,794
Fargo, ND
Salary Range30k - 36k$33k$33,478
Washington, DC
Salary Range25k - 37k$31k$30,896
Denver, CO
Salary Range26k - 34k$30k$30,181
$21k
$50k

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Simon Roofing
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Construction Labour Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Construction Labour. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Construction Labour Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Construction Labour resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Construction Labour Demographics

Gender

male

88.4 %

female

7.9 %

unknown

3.7 %

Ethnicity

White

65.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

17.7 %

Black or African American

11.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

79.5 %

French

4.4 %

German

2.5 %
See More Demographics

Construction Labour Education

Majors

Business
19.8 %

Degrees

High School Diploma

37.4 %

Certificate

29.0 %

Bachelors

13.1 %
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Construction Labour That You May Like

Construction Project Management
coursera

Construction Project Management introduces you to Project Initiation and Planning. Industry experts join Columbia University professor, Ibrahim Odeh, to give an overview of the construction industry. Professor Odeh teaches the fundamentals of the Project Development Cycle while guest lecturers discuss Lean Project Delivery method and Lean Design Behaviors. Technological advances, such as Building Information Modeling, will be introduced with real world examples of the uses of BIM during the Life...

Construction Management
coursera

The Construction Management specialization is curated for professionals in the construction and civil engineering industry looking to advance their careers. Through this specialization, students will gain comprehensive industry knowledge along with the latest trends and development within the industry. This 5-course specialization will cover the major facets of construction management including project initiation and planning, scheduling techniques and procedures, cost estimating and control, an...

Construction Site Electrical System Design
udemy
4.4
(364)

Learn how to design a safe, flexible and durable electrical system for any construction site...

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Top Skills For a Construction Labour

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 19.2% of construction labours listed hand tools on their resume, but soft skills such as math skills and mechanical skills are important as well.

Best States For a Construction Labour

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a construction labour. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Washington. Construction labours make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $40,138. Whereas in Massachusetts and Connecticut, they would average $39,479 and $39,092, respectively. While construction labours would only make an average of $38,847 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Construction Labour Jobs:
84
Highest 10% Earn:
$40,000
Location Quotient:
2.08
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Maine

Total Construction Labour Jobs:
92
Highest 10% Earn:
$53,000
Location Quotient:
1.59
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Construction Labour Jobs:
343
Highest 10% Earn:
$52,000
Location Quotient:
1.08
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do Construction Labour Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

FramerMay 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoFramerMay 2019

What do you like the most about working as Construction Labour?

The mobility of each different job the challenges that it brings psysin Show More

What do you NOT like?

Physical strain Show More

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Top Construction Labour Employers

1. PeopleReady
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$28,098
Construction Labours Hired: 
568+
2. Tradesmen International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$25,872
Construction Labours Hired: 
305+
3. Aerotek
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$31,326
Construction Labours Hired: 
175+
4. Labor Finders International
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$28,219
Construction Labours Hired: 
166+
5. ManpowerGroup
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$25,126
Construction Labours Hired: 
69+
6. Habitat for Humanity
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$30,369
Construction Labours Hired: 
65+
Updated October 2, 2020