Want to work in construction, but don’t have much in the way of experience? Construction is one trade that you lets you earn a paycheck and start learning a trade with literally no experience! Most construction worker jobs only require a high school diploma or GED, and some may not even require that. Construction work also pays more than most other jobs that don’t require a college education.
If you are a hands-on type of person, then construction can be very satisfying work that you may find quite rewarding, albeit physically demanding. The job can be challenging and new each day. Basically, with any of the positions below, you’ll start out as a helper/laborer/worker. Many of these can turn into full time careers, where you can grow in your skills and even work your way up the ladder to reach a higher level.
Here are the top ten entry level construction jobs that you can get started in right away.
1. Framing Helper
A framer works on the framework of buildings, including those for commercial use as well as residential homes. They determine the framing materials that will be needed, measure the area that requires the frame, and cut the materials to fit. Framers also install structural elements like door and window frames, and timber beams. Working as a framing helper, you are going to spend a lot of time setting up and tearing down job sites. You will move equipment and materials, sweep floors, and pick up trash. This may seem like a thankless job, but it is an important one that will allow you to break into the construction industry.
2. General Contractor’s Laborer
This entry level position is similar to the one mentioned above, but in a broader context. When you are hired by a general contractor, you will have the ability to learn how to do many different types of jobs and become familiar with a variety of tools. While a framer only does framing, a general contractor may have you learn drywall, painting, etc. You will still be focusing on clean up, but the skills you can learn in between will be of much more value. This type of position is good if you want to learn as many skills as possible, in order to narrow down where you would like to specialize in the future.
3. Commercial Construction Laborer
Commercial building projects can encompass a variety of large structures such as office complexes, industrial factories, and skyscrapers. As this type of construction laborer, you will work on a team under the direction of a foreman. You may work outdoors in all weather conditions, often around heavy machinery, and possibly at great heights. You may prep the construction site before work begins, unload and organize materials, assemble and disassemble scaffolding, dig holes and trenches, mix concrete, and clean the job site. For your safety, you will have to wear a hard hat, steel-toe boots, and a reflective vest at all times.
4. Painting Laborer
A painter applies paint and other finishes to the interior and exterior walls of homes, buildings, and other structures. They remove old paint or wallpaper, prepare the surface they’re painting, cover adjacent areas to prevent spilling, and place tape around borders to keep the paint within the lines. When you start this position, you will begin by laying down plastic sheets, taping door frames and other items that are not going to be painted, and doing the clean up at the end. Once you have that mastered, you will be trained on how to prep, prime, and paint properly.
5. Flooring and Tile Laborer
A flooring installer is responsible for laying flooring in residences and other buildings. They may install carpet, tile, wood, laminate or other materials. Set up, floor prep, and clean up will be your main job as you get started as a flooring and tile laborer, but soon you will be learning how to cut materials and lay them down on your own. Some of your training will include removing existing flooring, leveling the flooring, measuring, and proper placement of materials.
6. Masonry Worker
As a masonry worker, you will spend a lot of your time working with cement and concrete, blocks and bricks. Masonry work can include constructing walls, sidewalks, patio slabs, and much more. As usual, a big part of your job in the beginning will be moving materials around the job site. If you prove to be a good worker, you will be shown the techniques that you need to use to be a masonry worker. Once you learn the techniques, you will be allowed to help pour slabs, lay bricks, and build block walls.
7. Roofing Laborer
A roofing laborer spends their time replacing roofs or installing roofs on new buildings using specified materials such as shingles, metal, slate, tile and more. You can work on either residential or commercial buildings. In the beginning, you will be designated as the dumpster person. This entails making sure all the debris that comes off the roof goes into the dumpster instead of being left on the ground. Once you have successfully mastered that job, you may be asked to carry materials around the job site before eventually being shown how to install a roof. Roofers also add insulation to roofs, perform inspections on roofs to assess any existing or emerging problems, and complete quote requests from customers. Another worker who may be up there on the roof is a solar technician responsible for installing solar panels on buildings.
8. Sheet Metal Worker
If you have always wanted to work with metal, this is the construction job for you. Fabricated sheet metal is commonly used in the ductwork of HVAC systems. Sheet metal work is more hands-on and labor-intensive than any other HVAC specialty. It will take some time before you can say you are skilled in this position, but the knowledge you gain in this specialized field will allow you to work long into the future. At first you will be doing prep work and clean up at the site, but as time goes by, you will be given a chance to show what you can do with metal. You may even decide to pursue further training in the HVAC field.
9. Plumbing and Pipefitting Worker
A pipefitter is responsible for building piping systems for water, cooling and heating. You cannot walk onto a construction site and be a pro at plumbing or pipefitting, but you can easily learn by showing up every day. In the beginning, you will spend most of your time carrying pipes to where they are needed, and cleaning up after the job is finished. However, in between, you can watch the work being completed, while also being given instructions on why it is being done the way it is. This is another construction position that will take you some time to learn, but once you do, your skills and experience will be quite valuable in the future.
10. Carpentry Helper
A carpenter is a person skilled in cutting, measuring, and building with wood. Unlike framers who do the rough structural framework like walls and rafters, carpenters are craftsmen who put the finishing touch on decorative wood built-ins of all types including stairs, railings, trim molding, cabinets and shelves. As a carpentry helper you’re going to spend a lot of time moving materials, retrieving tools, cleaning, picking up trash, and other miscellaneous jobs while you get to observe the art of finish carpentry.
And there you have it! These are the ten best entry-level positions in the construction industry. There is currently a shortage of construction workers, so this is an excellent field to get into. For every new skill you gain, your opportunities expand and there is a good chance you can move up the ranks over the years, eventually overseeing other construction workers in a management position.
If you’d like to learn more about entry level construction jobs and careers in construction, go to Construct-Ed.com.
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