If you’re looking for a new job or thinking about switching careers, you might have heard that there are many opportunities in construction. But how much does construction pay? And how does someone get started in construction?
These are important questions, and the answers depend on your level of experience and how you plan to move into the field. Let’s take a closer look at compensation across the construction industry.
Earnings for construction workers depend on the level of experience. When you’re just starting out with no previous construction experience, you’ll probably earn an hourly wage.
Later, as you gain experience and develop areas of greater expertise, you’ll earn more. The higher pay might come as an increase in your hourly wage, but experienced construction professionals often transition from hourly pay to salaried positions after several months to a year with the same company.
For example, a worker who starts out cleaning up job sites might start installing simple pieces of equipment after a month or so on the job. Later, that same worker might get started performing simple drywall or plumbing tasks. Or maybe she’s interested in electrical work and helps a licensed electrician run new wiring.
Whatever the area of specialization, she’ll have developed expertise in a certain niche within just a few months. At a typical construction firm, her pay will increase as she gains these skills. After a year or more on the job, it would be common for this worker to start earning a comfortable salary.
Ok. That all sounds good. But what’s a specific hourly wage that someone can expect to earn when working in construction?
At the time of writing (2022), new construction workers with no experience can expect to earn $14 to $20 per hour in their first construction job. Within 3 to 6 months, most of these workers should enjoy an increase in their hourly wage.
Keep in mind that these are starting wages. In construction, there’s a lot of upward mobility, which means you work your way up and earn more money as you gain skills and take on new responsibilities. That’s what makes construction work so much different from, say, working in retail or fast food. There’s no dead end in construction — your earning potential is practically limitless!
Unless you’re coming straight from college to a managerial or administrative role, nearly everyone in construction starts at the lowest level of responsibility. After that, you work your way into levels of higher responsibility. It’s how nearly all construction professionals make construction their career.
After 6 to 9 months on the job, it’s common to move from an hourly wage job into a salaried position at your construction company. Salaries vary quite a bit, but can be anywhere from $30,000 at the low end to over $90,000 at the high end. It depends on the company, your role, and your years of experience.
Experienced construction professionals earn an excellent living. While salaries vary according to geographic area, here’s a sample of average compensation for different construction jobs according to the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER):
One of the big perks of starting a career in construction — and it’s one you usually don’t get in low-wage jobs — is that you usually qualify for benefits. Many construction employers offer benefits packages to all full-time employees, even those with no experience and who earn the least!
Benefits like health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, and paid time off are a big part of your pay in addition to your wage or salary. In the case of health insurance, it’s like getting paid an extra $6,000 to $10,000 every year and not having to worry you’ll go lose your savings in the event of an expensive health issue.
If your current job doesn’t offer these kinds of benefits, working in construction can provide a massive pay increase (and extra peace of mind) over what you’re earning today — even if your current wage is the same as the starting wage in construction.
There are two primary ways to get started in construction. The first is to enroll in a community or technical college program or an associates degree or a certificate in a construction-related field. The downside of these programs is that they’re time-consuming and could be expensive, depending on where you live and current tuition rates.
Another option is a dedicated construction training program, such as Construction Ready. At Construction Ready, our rigorous 20-day program for people ages 18 and older delivers the training and credentials you need to land your first construction job and begin a fulfilling career. We also include employer introductions as part of the training, and 97% of our graduates receive job offers before completing the program!
To learn more about Construction Ready and get more info about how much construction pays, get in touch with our team today! We look forward to answering your questions and helping you begin your construction career.