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Working As a Construction Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Repetitive

  • $69,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Construction Specialist 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

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How To Become A Construction Specialist

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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Construction Specialist Career Paths

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Average Yearly Salary
$69,000
Show Salaries
$45,000
Min 10%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Median 50%
$106,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Chevron
Highest Paying City
Boston, MA
Highest Paying State
Massachusetts
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Construction Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Construction Specialist in the United States is $69,708 per year or $34 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $106,000.

Real Construction Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Construction Specialist Worleyparsons Group, Inc. Arcadia, CA Oct 01, 2010 $139,360
Offshore Construction Specialist Aker Subsea Inc. Houston, TX Jan 04, 2010 $125,000
Senior Construction Specialist II J.P. Kenny, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 05, 2013 $115,000
Senior Construction Specialist III J.P. Kenny, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 26, 2013 $115,000
Construction Specialist I Michael Baker, Jr., Inc. Philadelphia, PA Apr 02, 2013 $94,040
Construction Specialist Parsons Government Services Inc. Boston, MA Mar 25, 2015 $87,506
Construction Specialist Parsons Government Services Inc. Boston, MA Mar 24, 2015 $87,506
Construction Specialist Parsons Government Services Inc. Boston, MA Aug 10, 2015 $87,506
Construction Specialist I Michael Baker Jr., Inc. Philadelphia, PA Apr 02, 2010 $81,952
Construction Specialist Worleyparsons Group, Inc. Bellaire, TX Sep 02, 2014 $75,000
Virtual Design and Construction Specialist Durotech Inc. Houston, TX Jul 09, 2016 $68,932
Virtual Design and Construction Specialist Durotech, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 15, 2016 $68,932
Virtual Design & Construction Specialist Rogers-O'Brien Construction Dallas, TX Jun 21, 2016 $65,000
Virtual Design & Construction Specialist Rogers-O'Brien Construction Dallas, TX Jul 09, 2016 $65,000
Construction Specialist URS Corporation Austin, TX May 27, 2014 $64,697
Construction Specialist 1 CDM Constructors Inc. New Orleans, LA May 12, 2016 $62,962
Construction Specialist I CDM Constructors Inc. Dallas, TX Jul 09, 2016 $62,213
Construction Specialist 1 CDM Constructors Inc. El Dorado, AR Aug 09, 2016 $60,008
Construction Specialist I CDM Constructors Inc. Maitland, FL Aug 24, 2015 $59,509
Construction Specialist 1 CDM Constructors Inc. Hays, KS Jul 09, 2016 $57,512

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Top Skills for A Construction Specialist

  1. General Contractors
  2. Safety Meetings
  3. Project Management
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Participated in recruitment, screening, and interviewing of all general contractors and subcontractors.
  • Conducted monthly safety meetings with our project superintendent to insure proper protocol was taken and conducted within these meetings.
  • Conducted weekly project management meetings to maintain client/contractor notification and cooperation in a $500,000 construction project.
  • Work included both exterior and interior projects such as masonry, tile, painting and drywall repair.
  • Contract administration* Customer service representative* Job cost reconciliation/purchase orders* Subcontractor contractor/invoice/insurance* Accounts payable/accounts receivable* Payroll processing/expense report* Construction permitting and liens

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Construction Specialists

  1. Delaware
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Minnesota
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Hawaii
  6. Ohio
  7. Maine
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Vermont
  10. North Dakota
  • (57 jobs)
  • (392 jobs)
  • (323 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (61 jobs)
  • (568 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (57 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)

Construction Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

73.4%

Female

16.7%

Unknown

10.0%
Ethnicity

White

63.6%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Persian

5.6%

Russian

5.6%

Arabic

5.6%

Chinese

2.8%

Telugu

2.8%

German

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

French

2.8%

Malayalam

2.8%

Dari

2.8%

Hindi

2.8%

Urdu

2.8%

Tamil

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%

Italian

2.8%
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Construction Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.7%

Ashford University

6.0%

San Diego State University

6.0%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.8%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

4.8%

Texas A&M University

4.8%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.8%

Purdue University

4.8%

Western Washington University

4.8%

Western Michigan University

4.8%

University of Alabama

3.6%

West Virginia University Institute of Technology

3.6%

Eastern Kentucky University

3.6%

Villanova University

3.6%

University of Nebraska at Omaha

3.6%

University of North Florida

3.6%

Everest Institute

3.6%

Del Mar College

3.6%
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Majors

Business

27.0%

Construction Management

11.0%

Civil Engineering

5.2%

General Studies

4.9%

Accounting

4.7%

Architecture

4.5%

Project Management

3.8%

Criminal Justice

3.8%

Management

3.6%

Marketing

3.6%

Engineering

3.4%

Mechanical Engineering

3.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.1%

Education

2.9%

Finance

2.9%

Industrial Technology

2.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.7%

Drafting And Design

2.2%

Electrical Engineering

2.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.1%

Other

31.1%

Associate

15.4%

Masters

9.0%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

1.3%

License

1.0%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Jobs From Top Construction Specialist Employers

Construction Specialist Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Health and Safety Manager by Hamish B (Full Version)

Career Advice on becoming a Quality/Health & Safety by Mark O (Full Version)

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Updated May 19, 2020