Construction is one of America’s most productive sectors, employing more than seven million workers and building over $1.3 trillion worth of structures annually according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
In this article, we’ll take a look at 12 of the highest-paid construction jobs to give you an idea of the promising opportunities available in this rapidly-growing sector.
12 highest-paid construction jobs
Elevator technicians install and maintain the systems that keep people moving in commercial and residential buildings.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, elevator technicians earn an impressive median salary of $89,990 per year. The employment of elevator technicians is also projected to grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is much greater than the national average of 4%.
The path towards becoming an elevator technician typically begins with a four-year apprenticeship, followed by ongoing training as an assistant.
Many states also require that elevator technicians receive licensing.
Still, this is undoubtedly one of the highest-paying construction jobs one can obtain without a university degree.
Boilermakers construct the large containers that secure liquids and gases in buildings and ships. While automation has simplified the role somewhat, boilermakers still do much of their work building and maintaining the finished product by hand.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a boilermaker’s median annual salary at $63,100. Employment growth is a bit lower than average at just 1% but the role offers reliable work.
A boilermaker typically begins their career much like an elevator technician; with a four-year apprenticeship followed by on-the-job training. Some states will also require boilermakers to pass an exam and become licensed.
Building inspectors also enjoy some of the highest-paying construction jobs in America – and deservedly so. They work alongside construction managers and oversee inspection workflows that ensure safety for job site workers as well as future inhabitants of the structure.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction inspectors earn a median annual salary of $60,710. Employment growth through to 2029 is also pegged at 3%, which is just slightly lower than the national average for all occupations.
Construction inspectors typically receive training on the job alongside a more experienced worker. However, they must also establish an understanding of building codes and regulations, either through formal education or on their own.
Electricians also enjoy some of the highest-paying construction jobs in America, earning a median salary of $56,180 per year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As with many of the other high-paying construction jobs on this list, electricians are projected to see faster-than-average employment growth (8% through to the end of the decade, in their case).
While electricians do enjoy some of the best construction jobs in terms of pay, their work can be perilous. In addition to the risk of electrocution, electricians are often exposed to hazards like lead and solvents.
Thankfully, electricians typically undergo rigorous training via technical school, where they learn about electrical theory and interpreting blueprints, among other things.
Plumbers in the construction industry install the piping and other equipment necessary for a building’s proper functioning.
While their role may not be glamorous, it still is one of the highest-paid construction jobs out there, with workers earning a median annual salary of $55,160 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Plumbers typically obtain training via an apprenticeship or trade school. Most states also require that plumbers receive regional licensing.
Employment for plumbers is projected to grow at a respectable rate of 4%.
Next on our list of high-paying construction jobs, we have ironworkers. These professionals assemble the structural framework for buildings and earn a median pay of $53,650 per year. Job growth projections are also pegged slightly higher than the national average at 5%.
Ironworkers usually get their start via a four-year apprenticeship in which they learn the art of handling, measuring, and cutting iron to build frameworks for structures.
Looking for work in construction? Check out our best places to look for construction work.
Sheet metal workers
Sheetmetal workers enjoy another metal-related, high-paying construction job in America. With a median annual salary of $50,400, sheet metal workers earn more than the median pay for all occupations in the United States, which is $48,672.
As with other high-paying construction jobs on this list, training for sheet metal workers typically comes in the form of an apprenticeship. While workers enjoy stable employment, growth is pegged at a lower-than-average 1%.
Construction equipment operators use heavy machinery on the job site. They may work with one type of machinery or several depending on their expertise and certification.
Equipment operators receive a median yearly wage of $48,160, which easily ranks this among the best construction jobs in terms of pay.
Training requirements can vary depending on the type of equipment a worker intends to operate. Some positions prioritize those with vocational training or certification in a particular brand of equipment.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers
This job entails installing and maintaining rooftop solar panels for residential and commercial clients. In the United States, it pays a median annual salary of $44,890.
In terms of growth, this is easily among the best construction jobs out there; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects growth over the next decade to top out at a whopping 51%.
Many solar panel installers attend a technical school then receive on-the-job training for roughly a year. Electricians are also increasingly receiving training in the installation of these systems as well.
Glaziers are responsible for installing glass on commercial and residential projects. This can include interior glass such as shower dividers but also the exterior windows of skyscrapers and other large structures.
The median glazier earns an annual salary of $44,630. Employment growth for glaziers is projected to be 4% through to the end of the decade, which is on pace with average employment growth in all sectors.
Glaziers, as with most of the other jobs on this list, typically begin their journey with a four-year apprenticeship followed by on-the-job training.
In addition to expertise regarding things like safety and installation techniques, glaziers need to be comfortable with heights given the nature of many installations.
Insulation technicians, as you can probably guess, install materials that help keep buildings at the appropriate temperature.
Insulation workers enjoy some of the best construction jobs when it comes to ease of entry. Workers need to complete Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) training for handling hazardous materials but gain other skills via on-the-job training.
Mechanical insulators, however, typically need to complete a four or five-year apprenticeship.
Still, this isn’t bad when you consider the median annual pay of $44,180 and a reasonable expected growth rate of 3% that insulation workers enjoy.
Hazardous materials removal worker
Last on our list of the highest-paid construction jobs, we have hazardous material removers.
Hazardous material disposal is a major concern on just about any job site. Workers in this role enjoy a faster-than-average employment growth rate of 8% and earn a respectable $43,900 annually.
As you might expect, the job requires quite a bit of technical training in regards to various chemicals and their proper disposal methods. The length of this training varies depending on what materials the worker will be handling and the local regulations governing hazardous waste.
Construction is a booming industry in constant need of workers to fill these and other in-demand roles. We hope this article has been useful in showing you the highest-paying construction jobs out there.
If you’re an employer in the construction industry, check out this article about using data to reduce skill gaps that can keep vital positions like these unfilled. Then, click here to read more about how Bridgit helps construction companies manage personnel efficiently.
Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.