What Are Some Popular Careers in the Construction Field?

Get the facts about some popular construction careers, including common job duties, training requirements and professional certification. Learn about potential salaries, the job outlook and typical work environments for these occupations. Schools offering Construction Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Construction management, cost estimation and carpentry are among the more popular construction careers. While some jobs in the construction field require little more than a high school diploma or its equivalent and on-the-job training, other positions - like those in management or cost estimation - often require at least a bachelor's degree. Apprenticeships are another common path to many construction careers.

Important Facts About Careers in Construction

Construction Managers Cost Estimators Carpenters
Professional Certification Voluntary; certifications available from the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors Voluntary, but may be required by employer Voluntary; certification available through the Home Builders Institute
Key Skills Business acumen; analytical and critical thinking; leadership; good judgment and decision making Attention to detail; analytical thinking; clear communication; time management Manual dexterity; physical strength and endurance; problem solving; strong mathematical foundation
Work Environment Specialty trade contractors; nonresidential building construction; residential building construction Building construction; building equipment contractors; manufacturing Residential building construction; nonresidential building construction; building finishing contractors
Similar Occupations Architects; civil engineers; architectural and engineering managers Industrial production managers; financial analysts; budget analysts Drywall and ceiling tile installers, and tapers; insulation workers; flooring installers and tile and marble setters

Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, coordinate and supervise construction projects from start to finish, while ensuring their completion within client and/or blueprint specifications. This career typically requires a bachelor's degree in construction management or a related field; however, less education coupled with experience also could suffice.

Construction managers earned a median annual salary of $85,630 in 2014, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additionally, this career had a projected job increase of 5%, which was average, for the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov).

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators provide an estimate of costs that will be involved in a construction project. These estimates are used by businesses or managers who bid on construction projects. Cost estimators typically hold a bachelor's degree in a field like construction management or engineering and have a strong background in math.

In 2014, cost estimators earned a median annual salary of $60,050, per BLS figures. This career was expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate, with a 9% increase projected from 2014-2024, according to the BLS.


Carpenters build a variety of structures and items, including kitchen cabinets and wooden furniture. They install, repair, erect and construct objects made primarily from wood. Carpenters typically need a high school diploma, and many complete a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship program to learn this trade.

Carpenters also could see an average rise in job opportunities from 2014-2024. According to the BLS, this increase could total 6%. Carpenters had a median annual salary of $40,820 in 2014, based on BLS figures.

Other Construction Careers

Additional careers in the construction field include the following:

  • Cement masons and concrete finishers: Cement masons and concrete finishers work with concrete materials. They use concrete finishing on surfaces such as sidewalks, walls and columns.
  • Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters: These professionals fix, maintain and install a variety of pipe systems that transport water from a water treatment plant to a residential or public building. They also handle pipe systems that provide heating and cooling, gas and waste disposal.
  • Roofers: Roofers fix, replace and install roofs on houses and buildings. This involves the use of tar, asphalt, shingles, rubber and/or metal.
  • Construction laborers: Construction laborers perform a variety of tasks, such as clearing debris, installing and maintaining traffic control devices, setting up scaffolding, tending machines and pumps, handing out building materials and mixing concrete.
  • Glaziers: These construction professionals install, select, replace, cut and remove wide sections of glass. They work with shower doors, glass mirrors, windows, glass display cases and glass tabletops.
  • Welding, soldering and brazing workers: These workers apply heat to metal to shape, fuse and bond it to other metal applications in buildings, bridges, ships and other structures.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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