Construction Worker Salary: Is It Enough Money?

Can you earn as much as this worker with a saw on your construction worker salary? The answer is yes.

One of the best things about being a construction worker is the pay. If you’re wondering whether you can get by on a construction worker salary, the answer is an enthusiastic “absolutely!”

In fact, you’ll do better than just get by. You’ll probably make a great living.

Working in construction is truly an adventure. Every day is different, and each new project is a learning experience. It’s a field where you can acquire new skills quickly, hone them over time, and increase your earning potential.

Let’s take a closer look at how much construction workers make, including career trajectories and average salaries across professions.

How much do construction workers make?

Good question! It’s kind of a complicated one, though. The reason is that pay rates across construction jobs vary quite a bit.

For example, new construction workers with limited experience make less than experienced workers. Similarly, workers with specialized skills, such as heavy equipment expertise or commercial electrical knowledge, usually command a higher wage than workers who haven’t developed a specialization.

Also keep in mind that there are many different kinds of construction workers. It’s not as if every construction worker knows how to do the same types of jobs — there are specialists on every construction site!

Construction expertise is acquired via time spent on the job and exposure to different kinds of construction work and projects. It’s very common for workers to start out with an hourly wage and work their way into supervisory and senior roles throughout their years in the profession.

An experienced senior-level construction professional with 15 to 20 years of experience might make over $100,000 per year! However, that same professional probably started out at the bottom of the pay scale: anywhere from $14 to $20 per hour.

How long does it take to advance from the starter hourly wage to a six-figure salary? Well, that depends on a lot of things.

How a construction worker salary increases over time

When you start out in construction, you haven’t developed any special skills yet. You’re still learning, and that’s ok. Even though you don’t know a whole lot, you’re still a valuable participant on any construction site.

Flaggers, for example, might not have any special skills yet. However, they play a vital role in ensuring safety on the job site. Being a flagger is something you might start off doing before eventually working your way into a more specialized role, such as plumbing or HVAC.

As a flagger or other low-level worker, you’ll gain exposure to different areas of construction. Maybe the foreman needs some workers to assist with electrical work one day. Maybe there’s a need for extra help with some of the heavy equipment being used on the site that week. Or perhaps you’ll be needed as a welding assistant.

The point is that you’ll gain a lot of firsthand knowledge of different construction jobs. After you start focusing on one of them, you’ll gain experience in that particular job. With more experience comes higher pay.

It’s not uncommon for someone who started off as an hourly wage worker to earn a true construction worker salary before the end of his or her first year.

And remember that you’ll probably get great benefits from your employer. In many cases, full-time hourly workers qualify for the same health, disability, life insurance, and retirement benefits as their salaried peers.

What is the average salary of a construction worker?

There are many different types of construction workers. So many, in fact, that coming up with an average salary for all of them wouldn’t actually be that helpful.

What is helpful, however, is a list of average salaries for different types of construction work. Here are the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) figures for earnings in different professions across the construction industry:

  • Pipe Welder: $70,482
  • Commercial Electrician: $65,398
  • Heavy equipment operator: $62,910
  • Framer: $52,495
  • Sheet Metal Worker: $61,776
  • Structural Welder: $62,446
  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic: $66,284
  • HVAC Technician: $65,341
  • Plumber: $73,320
  • Electronic Systems Technician: $72,179
  • Drywall Installer: $54,473

If you’re asking yourself how much construction pays, the numbers above paint a pretty good picture of average earnings according to specializations. Since these are average figures, you can safely assume that there are workers in each specialization who make less than the average and others who make more.

Of course, these workers nearly always receive great insurance and retirement benefits from their employers. Those extra types of “compensation” aren’t even included in the figures above!

So, can you earn good money as a construction worker?


A construction worker salary is really quite impressive! Average earnings across a variety of common construction professions are higher than the average US salary of $56,310.

And with so much room to grow, these average figures are only the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to how much you can earn if you stick with construction as a career, there are few limits.

The hardest part, of course, is getting started. That’s where we can help. At Construction Ready, our 20-day construction training course helps jobseekers of all backgrounds get the training and credentials they need to begin a construction career. The training is fully funded, so participants pay nothing. Since you meet employers during the training itself, 97% of graduates secure their first construction job before the 20 days are over!

To learn more about Construction Ready or about starting a construction career, get in touch with us today!

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