Construction Laborer Job Description and Salary Information

construction workers
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Interested in a job working construction? Construction is one of the fastest growing industries with a projected increase of about 700,000 jobs between 2014 – 2024. The projected increase in employment opportunities for the same time period is 10%.

Even though there is a high demand for laborers, there are other skilled construction jobs that pay higher wages. Use this chart to compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay for construction laborers and helpers with similar occupations including grounds maintenance workers, electricians, plumbers, brickmasons, material movers and carpenters.

Review the job responsibilities, education and training, types of work and job sites, and average salaries for construction laborers.

Construction Laborer Job Description

Construction laborers and helpers carry out a variety of physical tasks necessary on building sites. They help to clear out debris from prior structures, unload and carry building materials to appropriate locations on the site, position and secure materials within structures, pour foundations and operate equipment. Construction laborers must follow building plans created by architects under the supervision of construction foremen.

Some laborers specialize as helpers to skilled workers in specific phases of construction like carpentry, bricklaying, roofing, pipefitting, and painting.

Construction laborers work on many different building sites including residential housing, commercial structures, bridges, roads, pipelines, demolition projects and waste removal.

Education and Training

There are no formal academic requirements for individuals to enter the field.  Classes in high school mathematics and shop classes that teach blueprint reading and the use of tools can be helpful.   The vast majority of construction laborers can find jobs without formal training.

Beginning laborers typically work with more seasoned construction workers to receive on the job training.  

Participation in an apprentice program or acquisition of an associate's degree can elevate wages and enhance chances for advancement. For example, The Laborers International Union of North America requires 160 hours of training before workers are allowed to work on a job site. During the apprenticeship program, workers learn basic construction skills, such as communication, blueprint reading, proper tool and equipment use, and health and safety policies and procedures.  

Construction Laborer Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Construction Laborers earned an average of $31,090 in 2014. The bottom 10% of Construction Laborers earned less than $20,230 while the top 10% earned at least $59,900.

Quick Facts: Construction Laborer (Occupational Outlook Handbook)

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