How to Become a

Construction Worker

The complete career guide to be a Construction Worker: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $36,550
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 12.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Construction workers are specialists in building and repair work. They use a variety of tools and equipment to conduct their work, including both hand-held tools and major equipment like backhoes. They may work on a variety of projects, building homes, repairing roadways, or renovating skyscrapers.

Recommended Schools

What is a Construction Worker?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in construction worker roles:

  • Build and repair structures and components of infrastructure
  • Use a variety of tools and equipment, both large and small
  • Follow established safety protocols to ensure personal safety, coworker safety, and job site safety
  • Follow the direction of a foreman or manager to build and repair to specifications
  • Load and unload job materials, and ensure job site is cleaned before and after shifts

A Day in the Life

Construction workers build and repair structures and components of infrastructure. Depending on the type of construction company they work for, they may build/repair residential homes, skyscraper buildings, or bridges, or they may build/repair roadways, water-delivery systems, or ditches and other drainage systems. The job of a construction worker can be dangerous and requires strict adherence to safety protocols—often construction workers conduct their work on a fast-moving highway, from the tops of large structures, and around heavy equipment.

Construction workers use a variety of tools to perform their roles. They will be required to use small hand tools like hammers, drills, and circular saws, as well as powerful heavy equipment like backhoes, jackhammers, and bulldozers. In some cases, specialized training and certification is required to operate the machinery used in construction work, and in other cases, training is simply conducted on the job.

Construction workers also use a variety of materials to perform their duties. They may work with wood, steel, concrete, drywall, and other materials. The job of a construction worker is an active one that requires a lot of moving, climbing, and lifting. Additionally, construction workers often work outdoors and may need to conduct their job in extreme temperatures and varying weather events.

Typical Work Schedule

Most construction worker jobs are full-time and are completed on weekday, first-shift schedules. Overtime may be required on occasion when projects are nearing their deadline or for expedited projects. Additionally, construction workers may be sometimes required to travel to job sites that are an hour or more away from their city of residence, though they generally get paid more hourly for jobs that require more travel than normal.

Career Progression

  • Early Career: Construction Helper, Construction Worker
  • Mid-Career: Construction Foreman, Construction Manager
  • Late Career: General Contractor, Assessor, Estimator

Typical Employers

The majority of construction workers work for construction companies—steel erectors, real estate development companies, carpentry companies, etc. A small number of construction workers are self-employed and perform handyman duties for local clients.

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How To Become a Construction Worker

No formal higher education is required to work as a construction worker. Most of the training for construction workers is conducted on the job by experienced construction workers or construction foremen, and many aspiring construction workers learn about their roles by starting off as construction helpers or apprentices.

However, some aspects of construction work require formal licensing or certification. For example, construction workers who will be handling hazardous materials may need to become licensed by the state, depending on state regulations. Construction workers may also need to secure licenses to operate certain types of heavy equipment. Some of these licenses and certifications can be earned through on-the-job training, and others will require formal education and testing.

Some construction workers pursue certificates and licenses in construction-related fields from trade or vocational schools prior to entering the field as construction workers. This allows them to bypass having to work as helpers or apprentices and increases their starting pay because they do not require as much training as other entry-level employees. Additionally, some aspiring construction workers may be able to take courses in high school to learn certain techniques used on the job, such as welding.

Construction Worker Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Construction Worker salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Construction Worker's can make an average annual salary of $36,550, or $18 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $25,380 or $12 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #596 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Construction Workers

  • 0.3%   Doctorate
  • 0.7%   Masters
  • 5%   Bachelors
  • 4.5%   Associates
  • 17.2%   College
  • 41%   High School
  • 31.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Construction Worker job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 147,400 jobs for a total of 1,306,500 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 12.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #137 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Construction Workers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 298,100 14,200 14%
Other specialty trade contractors 136,800 12,500 13%
Nonresidential building construction 105,600 18,700 19%

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