Construction Trades List for Aspiring Professionals

Evelyn Long

Aug 14, 2020


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Thinking of the construction industry may conjure images of hard hats and hammers for the general public, but there is so much more to it than that. Here is a construction trades list that may be an option for aspiring professionals in the field. Unless otherwise indicated, all salary information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Carpentry — $43,600 Per Year

Carpenter is a broad term for a trade professional who works primarily with wood. It typically includes everything from cabinet-making to framing, joining pieces of wood together, and creating cladding for buildings. The easiest way to take up this trade from our construction trades list is to seek an apprenticeship with a master carpenter or attend a trade school. Anyone can work with wood in their garage in their spare time. But it takes a skilled professional to earn the title of carpenter. 

Construction Labor — $35,800 Per Year

Construction labor is the backbone of the industry. This position can include anything from cleaning up construction sites to handling tasks delegated by other professionals. It is often a “jack-of-all-trades, master of none” kind of position. While laborers are essential, they don’t tend to specialize in a specific trade. That makes this a perfect entry-level construction job that anyone can obtain without any experience. 

Electricians — $52,720 Per Year

Electricians specialize in the installation of electrical wiring and equipment. Everything in a home or building that runs on electricity is easily attributed to an electrician’s skill. These professionals work on both new and existing projects. They may also be responsible for installing telecommunications devices or air conditioning. Though both of those also fall under other trade options. Apprenticeship or trade school are going to be the best options for becoming an electrician. 

Heavy Equipment Operation — $45,040 Per Year

Heavy equipment operator is an extremely broad title that encompasses anyone with the skills and training to safely work machinery on a construction site. In many cases, training for this particular specialty happens on the jobsite, so no experience or training is necessary. Check with construction site supervisors to see what their requirements are. 

HVAC and Refrigeration — $50,000 Per Year

HVAC technicians install air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems in new buildings and can also upgrade or repair those on existing properties. Their skills are often tested during the construction of hospitals, laboratories and other facilities that require precise air patterns and ventilation. Apprenticeship or trade school will be the best option for anyone interested in working in HVAC and refrigeration. 

Masonry — $41,230 Per Year

Masons work with bricks, stone and concrete for construction purposes. They build walls, design walkways, and create stunning floors with natural and manufactured stone. This is a field that can be learned on the job. However, those wanting to jumpstart their career might wish to attend a trade school or seek an apprenticeship with a master mason. 

Painting — $37,570 Per Year

Painting gets broken down into two categories — residential and commercial. Some choose to focus on creating the perfect look for homes while others will only work on businesses, storefronts and other commercial properties. Either way, painting is not a career that requires a lot of experience or additional schooling. Aspiring painters can start in entry-level positions and work their way up without the need for an apprenticeship. 

Plumbing, Pipefitting and Steamfitting — $51,450 Per Year

Plumbers primarily install and maintain pipes and plumbing systems, including potable water, waste, and oxygen and gas piping. It is a trade constantly in demand, making it an incredibly popular choice for aspiring construction specialists. This very specialized skillset, so seeking an apprenticeship or attending trade school is going to be the best option. There may be some cases where entry-level applicants can work their way up and on the job, but an apprenticeship is preferred. 

Roofing — $37,760 Per Year

Roofers spend their time high off the ground, covering homes and buildings with waterproof and weatherproof materials. In some cases, roofers will need some prior training or experience. However, there are plenty of opportunities for entry-level roofers, as long as they’re willing to show up, do the work and learn the necessary skills. 

Sheet Metal — $46,940 Per Year

Roofs, HVAC ducts and many other components in the construction industry require a skilled installer to work with this often sharp material. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sheet metal workers will need a high school diploma and may benefit from taking vocational courses in things like blueprinting and welding. Beyond that, new sheet metal workers can learn many of the skills they need on the job. 

Welding — $39,390 Per Year

Welders use torches and other specialized equipment to permanently join multiple pieces of similar or dissimilar metals in a variety of applications. There are numerous steps necessary to become a welder, including taking applicable courses, earning a welding certificate and working in the field to gain enough experience to become certified. 

A Comprehensive Construction Trade List

This construction trades list just scratches the surface of the potential construction trades for aspiring professionals. Some of these are obtainable without any education, while others require additional schooling or apprenticeship. Either way, these are some of the highest-demand trades in the world, and now is the perfect time for new graduates or individuals looking for a career change to get their foot in the door.

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