With the U.S. Department of Labor predicting an 11% growth rate in construction jobs by 2026 (equaling some 760,000 new positions), the construction industry is nothing short of booming. The needs are wide ranging starting from unskilled labor through to highly specialized artisanal skills. This makes the construction industry a great place to be. And if you position yourself wisely, you can make plenty of money along the way. In fact, some of the highest paying construction jobs may already be within your reach.
Five Ways to Determine Your Pay
If high paying contract jobs sound appealing to you, it’s important to note that pay is usually determined by a combination of these five things:
- Skill level – If you need to learn a specific skill for your job – whether it’s through a technology degree, community college course, or apprenticeship program – you will likely get paid more for your work.
- Experience level – Veteran workers can usually work faster and better than novices. As such, the pay you demand is also a reflection of the number of years you’ve been working in your field. If you have proven past success, then a higher price is a fair request.
- Potential risk involved – Risk more, earn more. In addition to basically collecting a premium for doing tasks that are deemed dangerous (which is something you deserve), you also need the extra money to cover your general liability insurance and preferably contractors insurance as well, which may have higher premiums due to the risky nature of your work.
- Your investment – Your personal investment is another factor for determining if you’ll be one of the highest paid contractors around. For example, if you have to bring specialized tools and equipment to your work site, you can (and should!) factor the associated costs into the fees you charge for your services.
- Scarcity – The harder it is to find professionals like you in your area of work, the more you can charge. This is a reflection of supply and demand, where you are being rewarded for providing a skill that is harder to come by. It’s pretty much the same for any industry. So whatever construction specialty you’re considering, it may be worth doing some research to determine the local demand, including how many competitors are around, so you can fill the gap and carve yourself an excellent niche.
Eight of the Highest Paying Construction Jobs
So now that we’ve determined how to establish your professional worth, it’s time to get onto the “good” stuff. And by that we mean how to find the highest paid construction jobs around. From our research it’s safe to say that the best paying construction jobs are an interesting mix of specialties and skills. And happily they are all within reach. But before you run out and switch your area of expertise, it’s important to note that due to market fluctuations, they are also subject to change. In other words, our top paying list is simply a good guideline and not a guarantee. Still, it’s an excellent starting point for getting a basic idea of what the better paying construction jobs look like.
1. Elevator technician
The job of installing or repairing elevators (as well as escalators and moving walkways) is a great paying job, with a median salary of almost $79,000 a year and the top range brushing the $100K mark. That’s certainly an uplifting career choice!
You can find lots of work as an electrician, with very decent pay at a median rate of over $52,000 each year. This includes commercial work, residential gigs, or industrial jobs, as you prefer.
If piping and water fixtures are your thing, plumbing is another one of the highest paying construction jobs out there with median pay over $51,000 a year and a projected growth rate of 17%.
4. Iron worker
Steel yourself for this one. As an iron worker you can make $50,000 plus per year. Just keep in mind, you may need certification in rigging, welding or signaling to get hired, though on the job apprenticeship training could work as well.
5. Excavation worker
While one person builds another needs to clear the site. This is where excavation work comes in. Removing the rock or soil from a site can be a dangerous and difficult job, and pays accordingly with the potential to earn over $50,000 a year.
6. HVAC technician
The work of repairing heaters, air conditioners and refrigerators, is found in the hands of an HVAC technician, which is another one of the best paying construction jobs we found. It starts at nearly $46,000 annually. Plus, it’s a service that’s often needed, so it makes for steady work.
With an average salary of $45,000, and often reaching the $60,000 range, carpentry is another booming line of work. And with 87,000 new carpentry jobs expected by 2026, it’s one you can build your future on.
Working as a glazier involves cutting and installing glass in different types of buildings. You can do this in basic homes or on giant skyscrapers. Overall, the work is varied, but one thing is certain, with an average take of $47K per year, the potential for earning a nice living is clear.
Of course, these aren’t all of the high paying construction jobs on the market. But they are a good indication of what’s out there. Rotary drill operators, boiler makers, sheet metal workers and many other specialties make an excellent living as well.
Final Word on Finding the Best Paid Job in Construction
With the construction industry thriving across the United States, you can find plenty of jobs on the market today, with plenty more expected in the near future. This market demand together with the decent pay, makes construction work of all sorts an excellent career choice.
So if you’re looking for the highest paying construction jobs use our list for inspiration. But remember, money alone doesn’t buy job satisfaction. The key is to find the specialty that meets your skill-base, salary expectations, and probably most importantly, actual interests. This is the best way to build a solid career in the construction industry, or any industry for that matter.