Table of Contents
- What kind of education is needed to be a construction worker?
- Roles and responsibilities of a construction worker
- The average construction worker salary in the US
- Location plays a role in the average pay
- How much do construction workers make depend on experience
As one of the most important jobs for a rising economy, construction workers are paid quite fairly when needed. There is a general question about “how much do construction workers make?”.
Well, a whole heap of factors comes into play to find out how much do construction workers make. And things like average construction worker salary and construction worker salary per hour can mean quite different things depending on where you work.
Here we’ll cover how much construction workers make, how location plays a role in compensation, what is to be expected of a construction worker, and what you can do directly to affect how much you earn as a construction worker.
What kind of education is needed to be a construction worker?
The baseline is that you need to be at least a high school graduate. This is in part because you’re going to be using that high school level math pretty much at every job you’ll get as a construction worker.
One of the factors that affect how much do construction workers make is additional courses besides high school graduation. You may want to either take a short course or two or pick a vocational class in high school.
Two of the most useful skills you can have are welding and carpentry as both skills are utilized heavily with the construction of almost anything.
Your level of education plays a role in how much money do construction workers make. Naturally, it’ll take about 3 years if you take these vocational courses in high school but if you take it later in life you can expect it to take at least 7 months.
After this, doing further courses in your field throughout your career as a construction worker can impact how much do construction workers make. To develop a career as a construction worker will take time and you might have to go through several tests or evaluations to excel.
No matter your skill level or education level, you will be placed under an expert team mentor at the start as they guide you on safety at the worksite and help you develop general skills which you may not already have.
How much do construction workers make depends on specialized skills too? You can start your career by being an apprentice to a more experienced construction worker and get the much-needed skills to excel.
If you’re an active person, Depending on what kind of person you are, you may find the job training interesting since there are a lot of things to learn as you go along.
There are also several certifications to help you understand the ins and outs and increase the confidence of employers in your skills. There’s the National Association of Safety Professionals Certifications (NASPC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Construction Certificate, and Silica Construction Certificate (SCC) that you can consider.
To start, the NASPC provides several training courses that complement your career path as a construction worker highlighting both safeties as well as policies that keep the workplace more professional.
The OSHA Construction Certificate is a certification hosted by the OSHA, a national health and safety organization for hazards. With a 10 hour and 30-hour course that goes over how to spot hazards, deal with hazards, prevent hazards, and more.
And finally, SCC is a simple online course about how to keep workers safe from silica. Providing resources to know how to safely operate around the particles generated by power tools.
General skills required for construction work
To better determine how much do construction workers make, skills play an important role. Here are several skills that don’t directly contribute to the question of how much do construction workers make but still help on the job.
Communication skills are pivotal as a construction worker because there is a lot of coordination required during construction projects. Bare minimum communication skills can help deliver the project according to the specifications but stellar communication skills can ensure that the project is completed efficiently and much quicker. Since everyone is working in teams, communication will have a big impact on the project.
Next is endurance. Not every day you’ll do something incredibly demanding but being able to keep up with the shifts as they come will test you. So being able to pace out your stamina to make it through a project is quite important to make sure you don’t injure yourself or are forced to take a day off.
Mathematical skills are essential. Although you can ask for help on this or take your time, being able to do measurements and possibly more complicated math yourself will bring about a faster result.
Taking the initiative to do things without being constantly monitored is a trait highly desired in this industry. Most teams in construction are fairly lax when it comes to instruction. This is both to make sure workers don’t push themselves as well as to allow the work to be done well.
But this does mean you need to know how to get started and when to get started.
So beyond knowing how to do the work, you also need to understand yourself and how to get yourself to do the work.
Working at a construction site at a junior level can sometimes feel mundane as you’re asked to do the same task over and over again, day in and day out. You should be able to cope up with that as this is a requirement at a construction site.
Roles and responsibilities of a construction worker
The most obvious part of the job of a construction worker is to erect buildings of course. Naturally, you’d need to know how to measure and put together the parts to make these buildings. Beyond that, there are other things that you need to be familiar with.
One such thing is to understand how to use and test any equipment on site. This is not only so you can do the necessary work but also ensure the safety of yourself and your colleagues.
Besides general caution around power tools and heavy materials, following safety protocol will both decrease the likelihood of injury and maintain the team’s integrity.
Bringing both the tools and materials needed from the supplier to the site is also part of the responsibilities.
Finally, if you have the skills and qualifications for welding that is a bonus because plumbing or electrical work is important in this sector. These qualifications will eventually determine the answer to the question “how much do construction workers make?”.
The average construction worker salary in the US
To answer how much do construction workers make or how much money do construction workers make, it’s best to look at the average construction worker salary.
According to 2020 statistics, the average construction worker salary per hour remained at $17, however, this varies too as there are different categories of work in this sector. The range of salary for “how much do construction workers make” or “how much money do construction workers make” is between $7 – $33 per hour.
Naturally pay beyond the average construction worker salary depends on seniority, skills, and certification. Beyond these, the pay can still vary according to the location or region. Let’s specifically look at how much construction workers make in California and how much construction workers make in NYC.
Location plays a role in the average pay
As with all things, legal and social differences create incentives that change from place to place. How much do construction workers make is also one of them. The most reliable and easily usable information is the demand for construction work in the area. So looking for states with a lot of development is the easiest to go to.
Next are the laws for that state, this can change the construction worker salary per hour in a different way as there might be laws for working hour restrictions. This specifically affects the average construction worker salary in these types of work. Since they are dangerous or strenuous, it gives the local government more incentive to prioritize the safety of workers, which is good but may affect the average numbers. If you are okay with more lax laws however then you can take the risk of working in a state that may protect you less.
Finally although not directly affecting your pay, the cost of living in the local area plays a pivotal role. This can severely affect your decisions. For example, you may make more in one state but the living cost can bite into that extra you’re making compared to another state.
How much do construction workers make in California?
To start, we’ll look at how much do construction workers make in California. Per year the average is $30,000 which isn’t that good considering that some of the lowest-paying construction work is around $27,000. California’s current average rent is around $1,400 a month which can be a huge expense. But going with smaller one-room apartments you’ll find a good number of offerings under $800. Plus you at least get to experience the beaches on your day off.
How much do construction workers make in NYC?
Now although the last one wasn’t that high, depending on the person they may prefer it as other factors like great weather and low one-room rental costs outweigh the wages.
Wondering how much do construction workers make in NYC? Let’s give you a hint, it’s a good amount higher than California. Construction workers can expect to make $40,000 annually in NYC.
So already being on the higher end what’s the trade-off? Well as much as it is a stereotype, NYC does have quite abysmal traffic, on the upside though the weather is quite mild most of the year.
The average rent in New York is the same at around $1400, so all the more reason to go here over California right? Depending on the projects you’re working on sometimes yes sometimes no.
This is because within NYC itself the lowest rents are around $1700 so the little bit extra might be too much depending on how much you want to keep for yourself. Outside of the city, however, you can find rent as low as California at around $850. Keep in mind that the commute from outside the city to a project within won’t be a pleasant one.
Now that we’ve gone over how much do construction workers make in NYC and how much do construction workers make in California, let’s look at the wages according to the level of experience.
How much do construction workers make depend on experience
This is one of the last factors that only really start to come into play once you’ve invested yourself in construction work.
Seniority, the most direct way to improve your salary assuming you’re not in a dead-end job. And construction work does have a lot of opportunities to improve your position. Naturally, the different levels of earnings can more easily be achieved with more certifications and skills for the most part.
Depending on your company though, just proving yourself and having the bare minimum certifications can already be enough to get you to the top. Starting you can expect to earn about $10 an hour, pretty far from the $17 hour that average provides. But with enough experience, you should easily make it up to a junior-level position bringing it up to $13 an hour. And you’ll reach the average next as you get to the bog-standard mid-level construction worker earning $16 an hour.
At this point, you will be properly trusted and would’ve already made a spot for yourself in your team. Being able to work efficiently with colleagues will take you far in this sector. If you either have been working for a long time or show signs of leadership, you can get a senior position that pays about $20 an hour. Here you will also be on direct supervision of the new hires guiding them through what you’ve done hundreds or thousands of times already.
Finally, depending on your company and your leadership ability, you can get the position of construction manager. The requirements for this will vary as some companies may want more certification or have higher education standards for this while others may look at other things like skills, experience, and the initiative to take the lead and deliver the project. At the end of the day having more hands-on experience with both work and colleagues is much more useful in this kind of work.