Working in the Construction Industry

Are you looking for a career in the construction industry and need help finding jobs? Read a guide about working in the construction industry today.

Are you looking for a job in the construction industry and need some guidance on what types of jobs are available? Perhaps you know what type of construction job you want and need to learn the typical qualification requirements to get hired. Some contractors provide on-the-job training, while others require new workers to have at least some degree of experience. Most contractors only hire workers who already possess their own tool belt and tools, however. 

The landscape of the construction industry job market is different in 2021 than it was even one short year ago. Still, if you have the right personality traits and specific skillsets a job in the construction industry is available for you. Read ahead for a helpful guide about working in the construction industry today.


Construction Industry Basics

The construction industry consists of multiple types of skilled workers who are contracted or employed in an equally diverse amount of career fields. When some people think of construction they picture the building of a house. Others think about erecting larger building structures such as schools, skyscrapers and stadiums. The truth is, the construction industry is quite a wide umbrella term, under which many construction-related jobs and career paths either fall or are related. Some of these career paths stand on their own as well. For example, an electrician is often hired as part of a construction crew when a commercial building such as an airport terminal or office complex is constructed from the ground up. That same electrician is fully capable of taking on individual work in common residential settings, which are completely unrelated to any construction site.

Every major construction project requires a contractor. A construction contractor has similar responsibilities and functions to a movie producer. A movie producer chooses actors, finds set locations and negotiates filming budgets. A construction contractor:

  • Locates and hires all necessary service providers.

  • Helps choose lumber and materials needed.

  • Rents applicable machinery.

  • Hires a foreman and multiple supervisors to oversee all operations.

  • Oversees budget and quality control.

Construction workers are commonly brought on-board as independent contractors and not employees. This allows skilled laborers to move from one job site to another rather easily. The nature of the construction industry involves the constant starting and completing of projects. In other words, once a building is constructed the related work ends and contracted laborers move on to the next job. Some workers are employed with larger corporate construction firms but most industry positions available are occupied by independent contractors.

Looking for a Construction Job? Here are Some Available Options

Jobs in the construction industry have a particular hierarchy to them. This is true for most employment structures. One difference in the construction field is the jobs mostly involve intense physical labor and the operation of dangerous machinery. Because the industry largely consists of manual (blue collar) labor, some jobs are obtainable with little to no experience. Others require a vocational school education and on-site apprenticeship training. Some of the best paying construction jobs with significant responsibilities also require licensing and certification examinations facilitated by both private and government organizations.

Work Your Way Up as a Runner

A runner is the person you might see moving around quickly and constantly to various sections of a construction site. Getting hired as a runner is a great way to get started in the construction industry and work your way up to more skilled positions. Because little-to-no experience is required the job of a runner is the most common in the overall construction field. Most tasks and job requirements involve little physical labor, at least at first. Carrying toolbelts and buckets for skilled laborers, running screws and nails up ladders, refilling paint buckets and cleanup duties are all jobs assigned to runners. Some runners are asked to bring food and drink to the other workers during lunch breaks. Others are asked to perform minimal physical labor tasks, especially when a skilled laborer calls in sick or the project is at risk of going over schedule.

Get Valuable Experience as a Painter

Professional-level painting involves more skill than many consumers realize. Detailed and thorough preparation is required for painting jobs to be done correctly. Preparation phases commonly take more time than the actual application of the paint and include measuring, taping and covering applicable surfaces. Painting outdoors sometimes involves climbing up multiple stories. Learning the basics of painting preparation and working your way up to larger jobs is a great way to raise your salary and advance through the construction industry fast.

Wall to Wall Jobs

Drywall installation is an important part of the overall construction process. Drywall is heavy, easily broken and requires experienced skills to cut and properly hang. The job also requires wearing specialized masks to prevent from inhaling the drywall dust created during the cutting process. Learning the trade of drywall installation gives you increased hiring power with contractors around the country.

Construction Jobs from Bottom to Top

Installing floors and carpet of all types, shapes and sizes is another type of construction job available today. Ceiling installation is also a specialized skill, which sometimes requires both on-site and vocational training. Additional options for construction jobs available in 2021 include:

  • Carpenter.

  • Mason.

  • Pipefitter.

  • Plumber.

  • Cost estimator.

  • Safety manager.

  • Civil engineer. 

Typical Qualification Requirements

Qualifying for a construction job requires graduating from high school or obtaining a GED or other equivalency diploma. Certain jobs such as lift or crane operator require specific training, especially involving safety protocols such as those regulated by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). U.S. electricians are required to successfully complete the Electrical IBEW Aptitude Test with a passing grade. Construction workers need to have physical strength and endurance and carry their own toolbelts and tools. Examples of required tools include a quality drill, various sized hammers and safety goggles. Personality-based qualification requirements include:

  • Team player.

  • Listens carefully.

  • Follows directions.

  • Remains focused and alert at all times.

  • Unafraid of heights.

  • Adheres to all safety regulations.

Links to Popular Job Listing Websites

Many construction jobs are handed down through families of construction workers and skilled laborers. Online job listing websites also provide resources for finding construction industry jobs both in your area and nationwide. For example, lists positions available for electricians, carpenters and drywall installers. posts construction jobs based on specific zip codes around the entire country. Links to a few additional popular job listing websites include: