The Best-Paying Construction Jobs
It’s already been a busy year for construction, thanks to surges in new housing development and renovations, as well as changes to businesses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors will likely accelerate already strong growth projections for the industry made prior to 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction employment was projected to grow at a faster pace than average between 2019 and 2029—adding 4% more jobs, compared to 3.7% for other industries. Among the jobs anticipated to be most in demand are solar photovoltaic installers (up 50.5%), tile and stone workers (up 8.6%), and electricians (up 8.4%).
Those and other construction occupations tend to be financially rewarding relative to the level of education required for entry. The vast majority of construction jobs require no formal education or a high school diploma, yet they pay $906 per week—nearly as much as the $938 median weekly earnings of someone with an associate’s degree from college. The median earnings for high school graduates is $781 a week, while those without a diploma make $619.
While construction workers are generally paid well, their paychecks vary widely depending on where they work. The West Coast (including Alaska and Hawaii), pockets in the Midwest, and several Northeast states all pay construction workers higher hourly wages than the rest of the country. Hawaii and Illinois, for example, have a median hourly wage above $34, while Alaska and Massachusetts are around $30 per hour. Meanwhile, several states across the South pay as low as $18 per hour for construction work.
The type of construction work is also a major factor in how well employees are paid. Many of the higher rates fall to areas of specialization, like elevator installers, boilermakers, and pile-driver operators. However, general construction supervisors, inspectors, and more common tradespeople like electricians can also earn higher pay rates.
To find the best-paying construction jobs, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data from the BLS. Occupations were ranked according to their median hourly wage. Researchers also included median annual wages, total and projected 10-year employment numbers, and the percentage of workers that are self-employed for each occupation.
Here are the best-paying construction jobs in the United States.
|Occupation||Rank||Median hourly wage||Median annual wage||Total employed nationally||Projected 10-year employment growth||Percentage of workers that are self-employed
|Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers||1||$42.57||$88,540||24,730||+6.6%||N/A|
|First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers||2||$32.61||$67,840||614,080||+4.8%||8.0%|
|Pile Driver Operators||4||$30.47||$63,370||3,820||+4.4%||2.2%|
|Construction and Building Inspectors||5||$30.22||$62,860||113,770||+3.2%||6.8%|
|Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators||8||$27.10||$56,370||17,590||+3.4%||N/A|
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters||9||$27.08||$56,330||417,440||+4.3%||8.3%|
|Brickmasons and Blockmasons||10||$26.48||$55,080||59,940||-6.4%||26.8%|
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.