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Construction is one of the biggest industries in the world, and it’s not going away anytime soon. As long as the world needs infrastructure, it’ll need people who can build and maintain it. There are plenty of careers in construction you can choose from, but how do you pick the right one?
There are more than seven million construction jobs in the U.S. alone. That’s a lot of opportunities, but it’s also a lot of choices for you to consider. To help you narrow it down or just get started, here are 10 of the best types of careers in construction.
1. Project Manager
Project managers are some of the best-paid construction workers, earning a median salary of $93,370 in 2018. The job involves overseeing construction projects from start to finish. To do that, you’ll need exceptional planning, organization and problem-solving skills.
This job comes with a lot of responsibility, so be sure you can handle that before pursuing it. Most companies require project managers to have a bachelor’s degree and experience in the field. If you want this position, be prepared to work towards it for a few years.
2. Civil Engineer
If you want something more akin to an office job, you may consider being a civil engineer. Civil engineers design and oversee infrastructure like bridges, roads and tunnels. It involves a lot of math and problem-solving, so if that suits you, it can be an excellent career.
Civil engineers typically have a related bachelor’s degree. Many higher-ranking engineers have a graduate degree too. All of that school can pay off, though, as civil engineers earn a respectable salary.
3. Solar Photovoltaic Installer
As renewable energy grows more popular, solar photovoltaic installers are becoming more in-demand. These are workers that assemble, install and maintain solar panels on homes or other buildings. As a photovoltaic installer, you’ll work with electricity and help people become more sustainable.
You probably don’t need a bachelor’s degree to do this, but an associate degree or apprenticeship might be helpful. This is hands-on work, so be prepared to work outside, often at heights and in the sun. If that doesn’t bother you, this can be a rewarding and well-paying career choice.
If you’ve ever had to hire a plumber, you’ll know how it can be a lucrative occupation. It’s one of the highest-paid jobs that doesn’t require a college degree. You will, however, need a certification, a license and often an apprenticeship.
Plumbers don’t just work on toilets, but also pipes and water lines in all sorts of situations. You’ll need excellent problem-solving skills as well as an aptitude for mechanics and customer service.
The world is becoming more reliant on technology, so being an electrician comes with job security. Like plumbers, electricians don’t need a college degree but do need to be certified and licensed. It’s highly technical work, so you’ll have to gain some knowledge and experience before you can work as an electrician.
Electricians install electrical systems, but much of their work involves repairing or maintaining them. Being safety-minded is crucial, as a mistake in some electrical systems could spell disaster. If you’re not confident in your technical and problem-solving abilities, you may find this job stressful.
6. Wind Turbine Technician
Wind turbine technicians are similar to electricians, but with a more specific focus. If you take this career path, you’ll install and repair wind turbines, which generate electricity from the wind. Like being a solar photovoltaic installer, it involves a lot of outside work.
Wind turbines are massive structures, so if heights bother you, this may not be a great fit. You’ll be working with electricity and mechanical systems, so you need an aptitude for that kind of thing. Most wind turbine technicians have a certification or associate degree in wind energy technology.
Glaziers are construction workers who work with glass. They cut and install glass to fit windows, skylights, displays and more. It’s precise and physically demanding work, but it’s also in the top 20 highest-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.
You don’t need any certifications to become a glazier, but you’ll likely need an apprenticeship. On top of the physical demands of the job, it also requires a lot of math. You may also be at higher risk of injury than some other workers, so keep that in mind.
8. Sheet Metal Worker
As you’ve probably guessed, sheet metal workers work with sheets of metal. In construction, that usually means working on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. These tasks involve a lot of cutting and welding, so you’ll need to be precise and have a lot of technical knowledge.
Some sheet metal workers get a welding certificate, but you can get by with an apprenticeship. If you’re on the artistic side or want something unique, this could be a good fit for you. You’ll also need steady hands, exceptional coordination and math skills.
Carpentry may sound outdated, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’ll grow faster than average in the next decade. Carpenters work with wood, which in construction often involves working on structures like floors, walls and doorways. This job is physically demanding, but it also involves a lot of math and problem-solving.
You don’t need a degree to become a carpenter, but you do need a training program. Apprenticeships or trade schools can give you the skills you need for the job. If you like working with your hands and critical thinking, this could be the occupation for you.
The last entry in this list of careers in construction is mason. Masonry is a broad category that covers work involving concrete, bricks and stones. This can be one of the most physically demanding jobs in construction, but it also requires a keen attention to detail.
As a mason, you’ll plan and build things like fences, walkways and walls. If you want hands-on, high-precision work, then this is the job for you.
Find the Best Construction Career Path for You
These 10 jobs are just a small sample of all the careers in construction you could pursue. It’s one of the world’s oldest industries, but it’s always evolving and becoming more diverse. No matter what your skills or interests are, chances are good there’s a construction job that suits you.