Inside Construction Careers

Insider tips you need to know to choose and succeed in the right career

Construction Careers

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CareerReported Satisfaction
Construction Manager
Equipment Operator

Career Background

  Construction Salaries

Career Video

Surprising and Helpful Information

Detailed info from people on the job

Examples of likes and dislikes:


"seeing the progress of a job and the results of our hard work and problem solving. Building a new road and seeing how the traffic (and public sentiment) improves is a source of satisfaction."


"the problems that come up which slow our progress, cost extra and cause the architect and owner dismay."

Career Overview

Construction is the building of new structures such as houses, schools, factories, roads and bridges, as well as the maintenance, repairs and additions to existing structures. Career opportunities in construction exist for individuals with a wide range of skills and educational levels, from unskilled and skilled laborers that require physical work such as bricklayers, crane operators, carpenters and plumbers, to professional management jobs including project managers, superintendents, and building inspectors. While some careers in construction can be learned on the job, many require specialized education and training.

Career Skills

Individuals interested in a career as a construction laborer should be physically able to handle the demands of the job and may be required to pass a physical test. Other skills that are important to possess are good balance, hand-eye coordination, and manual dexterity. In addition, one must have sufficient reading and comprehension skills in order to carry out plans and instructions on the construction site. For individuals advancing to careers beyond laborer, individuals also benefit from mathematics skills in order to perform tasks such as estimating materials and project completion times. Computer skills are becoming increasingly important as construction work becomes more and more computerized.

Career Options

Construction offers many different kinds of careers that an individual can pursue, with most consisting of trade occupations with employees in skilled jobs such as electricians, masons, roofers, iron and steel workers, and carpenters, to name a few. There are also managerial occupations responsible for overseeing the trade workers and the overall project. The following are a few examples of construction career choices:

  • Carpenters repair, build, erect, and install many different kinds of structures out of wood or other materials, from the building of cabinets and doors, to the building of highways and bridges. Some carpenters work outdoors doing rough carpentry, where projects begin such as the framing of buildings, to finish carpentry which includes interior work such as installing cabinets and floors.
  • Cement masons work with concrete, the foundation for many building surfaces from floors to roads. They handle the entire process, from preparing the site and pouring the concrete, to leveling and finishing. Cement masons must also be able to monitor how certain weather conditions affect the curing of the concrete.
  • Construction managers may supervise one part or the entire building project, such as the construction of residential and commercial structures, roads, and bridges, to name a few. Some of the responsibilities included with supervising a building project may include planning and coordinating, budgeting, and the hiring of contractors.
  • Iron and metal workers are an important part of construction projects, with the job of structural and reinforcement of skyscrapers, buildings, highways, and bridges, as well as other structures. Iron and metal workers also maintain and repair old buildings and structures.


Educational requirements vary depending on the construction job. Many individuals begin a construction career directly from high school, starting out as laborers or helpers. However, workers may also choose to enroll in apprenticeship programs at trade or technical schools, with applicants generally required to be 18 years of age. In addition, some states and local jurisdictions require a license or certification including the passing of an examination in that specialty. Generally, the more education an individual receives, the more skilled a worker becomes, achieving more career advancement. Those interested in a management position usually have a college degree or significant experience.