15 of the Highest-Paying Jobs in Construction

MAKE MONEY - JOBS & CAREERS
Discover the construction roles where hard hats meet high earnings.
Updated Dec. 14, 2023
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architects working on construction site

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Construction jobs have become more in demand in recent years with the increase in infrastructure projects.

The Association of Builders and Contractors estimates a need for more than 500,000 additional construction workers than what’s available in the market today.

Could you be one of these construction workers? Check out these high-paying positions to see if one might be right for you and to help you get ahead financially.

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Elevator and escalator installer

Tomasz Zajda/Adobe engineer inspecting new elevator

Elevator and escalator installers and repairers deal with the inner workings of elevators and escalators. The specialization of the position can lead to an impressive salary and the opportunity to build wealth.

Elevator and escalator installers can earn an estimated $99,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many positions only need a high school diploma to start an apprenticeship. Most states will also require you to be licensed to work in the position.

Architect

Freedomz/Adobe architects and engineers mapping blueprints

Some projects start with a unique design from an architect for a building or home. You may plan the exterior of a building or design interior space as part of the design. Architects usually require a bachelor’s degree as well as passing an exam.

Architects can expect to earn a median annual wage of $82,840.

Construction manager

Halfpoint/Adobe male engineer inspecting site holding blueprints

A construction manager is responsible for overseeing a project to make sure everything is running correctly. 

Construction managers can be responsible for the project from start to finish by coordinating contractors, overseeing construction progress, and making sure the project’s budget is covered properly.

Expect to earn a median annual wage of $101,480 as a construction manager.

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Constructor or building inspector

godshutter/Adonbe male worker inspecting site with checklist

Construction and building inspectors are responsible for reviewing a structure during construction to ensure everything is being built properly and within regulations. 

You usually need at least a high school diploma for the position, but it’s also important to have previous experience in the construction field.

A construction or building inspector makes a median annual wage of $64,480, according to the BLS.

Ironworker

cihan/Adobe engineer molding iron rods on site

Ironworkers install the structural and reinforcing iron and steel for buildings, roads, and bridges. 

You can get a job as an ironworker with a high school diploma followed by an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training.

Ironworkers can expect to make a median annual wage of $58,330.

Civil engineer

I Believe I Can Fly/Adobe engineers building blueprints together

Civil engineers are responsible for planning and designing the structures being built. You may have to analyze plans, understand construction regulations, or get permit approvals for work.

Civil engineers make $89,940 in median annual wages for a position expected to see 5% job growth by 2032.

Plumber

Kurhan/Adobe male plumber fixing sink hose

Plumbers and pipefitters put together piping throughout a construction project. You may be responsible for planning plumbing fixtures and pipe systems throughout a building or home, or you might have to repair issues as part of a reconstruction project.

Plumbers can expect to earn $60,090 in median annual wage, according to the BLS.

Carpenter

sculpies/Adobe male carpenter fixing roof

A carpenter uses wood and other materials to construct and install a building’s framework. You also may be responsible for interior cabinetry, like kitchen cabinets, molding, and other wood-based additions.

The BLS estimates that carpenters make a median annual salary of $51,390.

Construction equipment operator

perfectlab/Adobe female crane operator in cabin

Construction projects may need heavy equipment to help build or repair structures as part of the process. These heavy machines need specialized workers to operate and maintain the on-site equipment.

Construction equipment operators can make $51,050 in median annual income.

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Boilermaker

John Casey/Adobe male worker grinding industrial steel

Boilermakers are responsible for boilers and other closed vats you may need as part of the construction process. You may have to install and repair boilers, inspect systems, or clean boiler vats.

As a boilermaker, you can expect to make $66,920 in median annual wages.

Electrician

puhimec/Adobe male electrician connecting cables in switchboard

Electricians are responsible for installing and repairing electrical power, communications, and control system equipment. 

Electricians usually need additional education or an apprenticeship. You’ll also need to check if your state requires electricians to have a license to work.

Electricians earn a median annual wage of $60,240, with positions for electricians expected to increase by 6% over the next decade.

Drywall installer

Tomasz Zajda/Adobe male contractor using drill machine

Drywall installers connect drywall to a framework and tape it up to seal any cracks between the pieces. Drywall installers can work in residential construction, like homes, or commercial construction, such as new office buildings.

The BLS estimates that drywall installers earn a median annual wage of $51,160.

Cost estimator

auremar/Aadobe new contractor consulting site supervisor

A cost estimator is responsible for reviewing a construction plan and estimating the costs involved in a project. You may need to know how to source materials, budget for projects, and work on the financial aspects of pricing out a project.

Cost estimators can earn a median annual wage of $71,200.

Surveyor

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe female surveyor using radio set outdoors

Surveyors are essential to the construction process as they find the precise measurements for property boundaries to direct construction projects.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surveyors earn a median annual wage of $63,080.

Pile driver operator

mavoimages/Adobe african female operating forklift at warehouse

A pile driver operator runs the machines to drive pilings in for things like retaining walls and foundations for buildings and bridges.

You’ll need an apprenticeship or vocational school; employers could also require certification to be a pile driver operator.

Pile driver operators earn a median annual wage of $64,310.

Bottom line

visoot/Adobe engineers discussing blueprints at construction site

Construction work may be a good option if you want to make a career change or you’re trying to save money for your financial goals. The right career path can help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

You should also budget for any continuing education you might need to get a job in construction, such as a commercial driver’s license. Or a potential employer may cover the cost.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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