If you want a career in construction that does not require extensive education and relies mostly on your physical strength and stamina, you can consider being a construction laborer. In this profession, you will have the opportunity to work in any site where buildings, homes, roads, utility systems and other types of infrastructure are being constructed or torn down. Your main task will be to ensure that the area is readied for the work. This entails cleaning the site and seeing to it that there are no potential hazards that could impede the progress of the work or cause injury to the workers. If you will be working in road and highway construction, this will include putting markers and cones on the site and barricading it if necessary to ensure that vehicles will get redirected to other roads.
You will be using different kinds of tools and equipment to do your job. This includes brooms and shovels to clear the area or dig trenches, saws and hammers to build scaffoldings and bracings and jackhammers to demolish old concrete buildings or roads. You will also be relying on your own physical strength and power a lot especially when you will be loading and unloading large and heavy sacks of building materials or handling power tools for the construction or demolition job. You may also be required to dig tunnels using sophisticated hydraulic boring machines or install pipes using laser beams. However, these tasks will necessitate additional training on your end.
To succeed as a construction laborer, you have to be in the best of health. You will be standing on your feet, carrying heavy loads and working under the various weather conditions so you need to be fit and healthy. You must also be physically strong to be able to do the work. Since measuring is part and parcel of the work of construction laborers, math skills are going to be necessary as well. Mechanical skills are also important inasmuch as you will be handling and maintaining tools and equipment.
Why Become A Construction Laborer
A career as a construction laborer is ideal for those who want to work in the field of construction but don’t have the time or resources to go through lengthy educational training undergone by architects and engineers. It is also for those who prefer physical labor over those that require long hours of mental problem solving and thinking. On the practical side, construction laborers also earn living wages and bode of great job opportunities in the next few years.
Construction Laborer Work Environment
Construction laborers are found anywhere there are construction or demolition jobs. They can work in nonresidential and residential building construction as well as in the construction of highways, roads and bridges. They can also be found in heavy and civil engineering and utility system construction industries. Due to the nature of the job, construction laborers experience one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses compared to all job types. Cuts and burns are common in this profession but wearing protective gear and following safety protocols can minimize the hazards of the job.
Construction Laborer Salary
The U.S. Occupational Employment and Wages report revealed that construction laborers had a mean annual wage of $35,020 which translates to $16.84 per hour. The lowest paid received $19,670 a year while the highest paid had a mean annual wage of $58,900 a year. The top paying states for this occupation are Hawaii ($49,020), New York ($48,320), Illinois ($47,840), Massachusetts ($47,780) and New Jersey ($46,670).
Construction Laborer Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a very positive outlook for construction laborers. In the decade covering 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of construction laborers is set to increase 24 percent. This rate is much faster than the national average for all job types. The demand for these workers will depend on the country’s overall rate of construction activity and is obviously rosy during times of construction boom. However, there will be a continuous need for construction laborers to maintain, fix or construct roads, bridges and utility systems.
Construction Laborer Degree
There are no strict educational requirements to become a construction laborer since many are trained on the job. However, some do prefer to get training from a vocational or trade school. Many enter the profession by first assisting experienced laborers. There are also those who choose to enter apprenticeship programs like the one offered by the Laborers International Union of North America. Apprenticeships programs are typically composed of technical education and on-the-job training and can last from two to four years.