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Become A Construction Worker

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Working As A Construction Worker

  • 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

  • $28,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Construction Worker 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 Worker

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 Worker Career Paths

Construction Worker
Warehouse Worker Technician Team Leader
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Technician Field Service Technician
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Worker Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Maintenance Director
11 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Foreman Superintendent
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Foreman Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Foreman Superintendent
Construction Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electrician Supervisor
Field Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Electrician Owner
Construction Superintendent
9 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Carpenter Foreman Superintendent
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Specialist Shift Supervisor
Site Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Electrician Owner/Operator
General Contractor
5 Yearsyrs
Forklift Operator Carpenter Carpenter Foreman
Lead Carpenter
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Account Executive Principal
Assistant Superintendent
5 Yearsyrs
Driver Field Service Technician Project Engineer
Quality Control Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Person Team Leader Assistant Director
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Field Service Technician Maintenance Supervisor
Project Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Carpenter Construction Foreman
Construction Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Service Technician Field Technician
Lead Installer
5 Yearsyrs
Self-Employed Lead Carpenter Assistant Superintendent
Building Superintendent
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Construction Worker?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Construction Worker?

Average Yearly Salary
$28,000
Show Salaries
$17,000
Min 10%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$28,000
Median 50%
$44,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
PENTA Building Group
Highest Paying City
Newark, NJ
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
2.5 years
How much does a Construction Worker make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Construction Worker in the United States is $28,161 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $17,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $44,000.

Real Construction Worker Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Construction Worker Test-DOL Atlanta Atlanta, GA Jun 13, 2011 $70,000
Construction and Related Workers, All Other* M V Coastal, Inc. Edgartown, MA May 07, 2013 $67,954
1St. Line Sups/Mgrs of Construction + Extraction Workers Brand Scaffold Building Inc. Long Beach, CA Mar 23, 2011 $56,975
Pipelayer/Construction Worker M.S.P. Construction Corporation Newark, NJ Dec 20, 2016 $54,617
Construction Worker I S & B Construction, LLC MO Aug 01, 2012 $53,344
Construction Worker I North Star Construction and Engineering, Inc. CA Apr 01, 2012 $48,961
Construction Worker Clyde Goodwin Construction, Inc. Del Mar, CA Jan 01, 2012 $45,914 -
$52,175
Construction and Related Worker JNS Limited Liability Limited Partnership Phoenix, AZ Dec 14, 2011 $45,914
Construction and Related Worker JNS Limited Liability Limited Partnership Phoenix, AZ Dec 20, 2011 $45,914
Construction Worker I MJB Landscaping & Construction CO Mar 15, 2011 $41,740
Construction Worker Gary's Construction Thompson, IA Jun 01, 2016 $38,589
Construction and Related Workers, All Other Company Smile LLC New Orleans, LA Feb 01, 2015 $36,147
Construction Worker 1 CDC Pools, Inc. AZ Nov 17, 2014 $29,114
Construction Worker 1 CDC Pools, Inc. AZ Jan 17, 2015 $29,114
Construction Worker On Residential Homes PW Construction TX Apr 08, 2013 $28,571
Construction Worker I Island Concrete Form, LLC MA Mar 15, 2012 $28,550
Construction Worker I EMB Construction Company LLC DBA FMB Construction VA Apr 01, 2012 $28,529
Construction Worker Masse Contracting Inc. LA Mar 01, 2015 $28,404
Construction Worker S&D Drywall and Construction, Inc. Smyrna, GA Jan 01, 2016 $27,924
Construction Worker I Romero Construction, Inc. UT Mar 01, 2012 $27,882
Construction Worker II Adcock Concrete, Inc. CO Apr 01, 2011 $24,251
Construction Worker I Wieber Steel Construction LLC SD Apr 01, 2011 $24,105
Construction Worker II Wieber Steel Construction, LLC SD Mar 15, 2012 $24,042
Construction Worker I G.E.M. Interiors Inc. OH Apr 01, 2012 $24,001
Construction Worker I JB Concrete TX Dec 10, 2011 $23,792
Construction Worker I Praedavita Corporation DBA Blue Horse Building & D TX Apr 01, 2012 $23,708
Construction Worker I G.K. Hall Construction, Inc. TX Jan 05, 2012 $23,708
Construction Worker I Double M Asphalt & Coating, Inc. CO Apr 01, 2012 $23,687

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Top Skills for A Construction Worker

  1. Construction Sites
  2. Door Installation
  3. Heavy Equipment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Conduct interior demolition of construction sites.
  • Included operating a forklift, loading and unloading supplies and equipment, window and door installation, painting, etc...
  • Concrete finisher heavy equipment operator carpentry both form and traditional
  • Have considerable knowledge of safety procedures and hazards related to construction, maintenance and equipment operation.
  • Maintained and watched over job sites to make sure that all materials were there and construction was carried out properly.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Construction Workers

  1. Illinois
  2. Alaska
  3. Hawaii
  4. New Jersey
  5. Minnesota
  6. Washington
  7. California
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Massachusetts
  10. New York
  • (223 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (430 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)

Construction Worker Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 43,804 Construction Worker 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.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Construction Worker Resume

View Resume Examples

Construction Worker Demographics

Gender

Male

82.7%

Unknown

10.6%

Female

6.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

17.4%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

5.5%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.2%

French

4.6%

Portuguese

2.9%

German

2.4%

Polish

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Russian

2.2%

Chinese

1.4%

Italian

1.3%

Greek

0.8%

Mandarin

0.6%

Japanese

0.6%

Hebrew

0.5%

Ukrainian

0.5%

Albanian

0.5%

Carrier

0.5%

Swahili

0.4%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Romanian

0.4%

Hmong

0.4%
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Construction Worker Education

Schools

The Academy

16.2%

University of Phoenix

11.6%

Universal Technical Institute

6.0%

Brigham Young University

5.9%

Utah Valley University

4.5%

Houston Community College

4.5%

Utah State University

4.5%

Mississippi State University

4.4%

Central State University

4.1%

Liberty University

3.9%

University of Alabama

3.7%

West Virginia University

3.7%

Ashford University

3.5%

Kirkwood Community College

3.5%

A-Technical College

3.5%

Iowa State University

3.5%

Miami Dade College

3.4%

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana

3.4%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%

Texas Tech University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

22.2%

Criminal Justice

9.2%

General Studies

8.6%

Automotive Technology

5.5%

Precision Metal Working

5.5%

Computer Science

4.5%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.2%

Construction Management

3.9%

Mechanical Engineering

3.6%

Psychology

3.5%

Electrical Engineering

3.4%

Kinesiology

3.3%

Accounting

3.2%

Education

3.1%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Graphic Design

2.7%

Civil Engineering

2.7%

Communication

2.7%

Biology

2.6%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.5%
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Degrees

Other

45.3%

Bachelors

27.1%

Associate

14.0%

Certificate

7.1%

Masters

2.8%

Diploma

2.7%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.3%
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What Is It Like To Work As A Construction Worker

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Construction Worker Videos

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