What Are the Different Types of Construction Jobs?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 5, 2021 | Published April 3, 2020

Updated October 5, 2021

Published April 3, 2020

With a projected growth rate of 10%, the construction industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS expects occupations within this sector to add about 704,000 new jobs between the years 2018 and 2028. A career in the construction industry may be very rewarding for hard-working people who thrive in fast-paced environments and enjoy working as part of a team to build, repair and maintain new and existing buildings and structures.

When considering a career in construction, it is helpful to know what type of jobs are available and what each job does. In this article, we discuss the primary duties and salary insights for 20 different career paths in the construction industry to help you determine which construction job type is right for you.

What does the construction industry do?

The construction industry focuses on the ideation, creation and maintenance of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They also work on creating and maintaining structures such as roads, bridges and utility systems. While many people may think of the construction industry only as it relates to new construction, professionals within this industry may also work on projects involving additions, remodels, repairs and maintenance of existing buildings and structures.

List of jobs in construction

The following list discusses the primary job duties and salary insights for 20 different career paths within the construction industry:

1. Construction worker

National average salary: $15.53 per hour

Primary duties: Construction workers perform the primary physical work most people associate with construction such as clearing, digging and building. Their duties include manual labor such as transporting supplies and materials to the job site, preparing the job site, testing and operating machinery and equipment, measuring and cutting building materials to exact specifications and using various hand tools and mechanical tools. They also read blueprints to understand project requirements and ensure they follow all health and safety policies and procedures on the job site.

Related: Learn About Being a Construction Worker

2. Construction inspector

National average salary: $34,168 per year

Primary duties: A construction inspector is an employee of the local government who visits job sites and inspects the work being performed to ensure all buildings and structures comply with contract specifications, zoning regulations, building codes and ordinances and safety regulations.

3. Flooring installer

National average salary: $16.79 per hour

Primary duties: Flooring installers lay and finish the floors inside buildings according to project specifications. They work with various flooring types including wood, carpet, tile, laminate, linoleum and vinyl.

4. Surveyor

National average salary: $16.79 per hour

Primary duties: A surveyor visits potential job sites before construction begins to inspect the site and measure and record data about the site's location, elevation and contour. They then use this information to compare their data to existing records, draw and update boundary lines, determine locations for buildings and structures and outline the project's foundation requirements. Surveyors also present their findings to government agencies and other clients.

Related: Learn About Being a Surveyor

5. Glazier

National average salary: $19.36 per hour

Primary duties: A glazier cuts and installs glass for windows, skylights, storefronts and display cases. They use project specifications to cut the glass to the required size, shape and thickness. Glaziers also remove old or broken glass before installing the new glass and add weather seal around the edges of the glass after installation.

6. Tile setter

National average salary: $20.56 per hour

Primary duties: Tile setters cut and install tiles on floors, walls and ceilings in residential and commercial buildings. They also prepare the surfaces they work with and use care to lay each tile evenly before applying grout and sealing the tile.

7. Brick mason

National average salary: $20.69 per hour

Primary duties: Brick masons create and build walls, fireplaces, patios, walkways, fences, decorative trims and other structures using bricks, concrete blocks and man-made stones. They also cut or break each brick or stone to the correct size and shape and mix and apply the grout to finish the structure.

8. Roofer

National average salary: $43,816 per year

Primary duties: Roofers install and repair roofs on residential and commercial buildings. They also inspect and maintain roofs on buildings to maximize the durability of the roof.

9. Concrete finisher

National average salary: $45,268 per year

Primary duties: Concrete finishers follow the trucks that pour cement to ensure the cement is smooth and level. They correct high spots, fill depressions, finish the corners and wash away the excess cement.

10. Ironworker

National average salary: $47,717 per year

Primary duties: Ironworkers use iron and steel to help build commercial, industrial and public structures such as roads, bridges and large buildings. They work with crane operators by moving the iron or steel into the right space by hand and then signal the crane operators to lift and position it into the right placement. Ironworkers need to know how to read blueprints and sketches to ensure they follow the correct project specifications.

11. Crane operator

National average salary: $49,421 per year

Primary duties: Crane operators use various types of crane machinery to move heavy or large materials from one place to another and to position the materials in very high or low spaces. They work alongside other construction professionals who guide their work from the ground by using hand signals and radios for voice commands. Crane operators also inspect cranes and their hydraulic systems before operating them, make minor repairs when needed and record the materials they move in logs.

Related: Learn About Being a Crane Operator

12. Plumber

National average salary: $52,087 per year

Primary duties: Plumbers install, maintain and repair the pipes and fixtures that make up the plumbing systems in residential and commercial buildings. They inspect fixtures such as sinks, showers, toilets, garbage disposals and sewage lines to ensure they work properly and make repairs and recommendations when needed.

Related: Learn About Being a Plumber

13. Carpenter

National average salary: $55,678 per year

Primary duties: Carpenters use a variety of materials such as drywall, wood and fiberglass to build, remodel, install and repair frameworks and structures such as doorframes, counters, cabinetry, rafters, partitions, molding and stairways in residential, commercial or industrial buildings.

They need to know how to read blueprints and building plans, prepare drawings and drafts of their plans for their client to review and how to correctly measure, cut and shape the materials they work with. Carpenters may also use cranes or rigging hardware to install or level framework.

Related: Learn About Being a Carpenter

14. Painter

National average salary: $56,124 per year

Primary duties: Painters prepare surfaces in residential and commercial buildings that need paint and then mix and apply the paint to the surface. Preparing surfaces for paint involves cleaning, repairing holes, removing chipped or cracked paint already on the surface and taping off areas as needed. They also cover and protect objects such as flooring, furniture, lighting fixtures, electronics, windows and doors near the painting area before they paint and uncover, remove tape and clean their work area when they finish painting.

Related: Learn About Being a Painter

15. Electrician

National average salary: $58,409 per year

Primary duties: Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems and wiring in residential and commercial buildings. They also make sure all electrical systems and wiring works correctly and finds and repairs the source of an issue in broken electrical systems.

Related: Learn About Being an Electrician

16. Pipefitter

National average salary: $70,221 per year

Primary duties: Pipefitters manipulate metals into the correct shape and form, transport pipes to the correct location and install them in residential and commercial buildings. They use a variety of techniques such as welding, cutting, soldering, grinding, rigging, bending and threading.

17. Cost estimator

National average salary: $70,284 per year

Primary duties: Cost estimators determine the cost of a potential construction project and communicate expectations for costs and project timelines to their customers. They find the estimated cost of a project by visiting the potential job site and gathering and analyzing data about the costs of material, labor and time needed to complete the project. Cost estimators also make recommendations for how to reduce costs and maintain detailed records comparing actual costs to estimated costs throughout the project.

Related: Learn About Being an Estimator

18. Safety manager

National average salary: $75,248 per year

Primary duties: Safety managers create and implement safety rules, regulations and procedures to minimize the risk of accidents or injuries occurring on the job site. They inspect the worksite each day to ensure the site is safe to enter and work in, conduct routine safety audits to ensure all personnel, materials and equipment are in compliance with government safety regulations, provide safety training sessions, analyze and investigate accident reports and incident inquiries and keep track of incident metrics.

Related: Learn About Being a Safety Manager

19. Construction manager

National average salary: $81,894 per year

Primary duties: Construction managers, sometimes also called project managers, plan, coordinate and oversee all aspects relating to a construction project. The duties of a construction manager vary based on the size of the project and whether they are working alongside other managers but can include hiring and training all workers and subcontractors, creating project timelines and worker schedules, coordinating daily activities for all workers, negotiating project costs, communicating project progress updates to clients, ensuring everyone on the job site works together as a team and supervising all workers to ensure the project remains compliant, on schedule and within the budget.

Related: Learn About Being a Construction Manager

20. Civil engineer

National average salary: $83,722 per year

Primary duties: Civil engineers design construction projects and ensure the project's goals are both achievable and feasible. They do this by analyzing budget requirements, reviewing design practicality, evaluating the project's environmental impact and sustainability and ensuring the project meets all health and safety regulations and legal requirements. Civil engineers are also responsible for identifying and resolving any issues that occur during the design and development phase.

Related: Learn About Being a Civil Engineer


Discover Indeed’s top resources for construction talent including career advice, sample resumes, job search quick links and more.

Explore more articles