Construction laborers and helpers information:
- 2012 median pay: $25,610
- 2012, number of jobs: 20,980
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 25 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: None
Construction laborers and helpers; what they do:
Construction sites are extremely busy areas with a great deal of prep work and clean up needed; construction laborers and construction helpers perform this physically demanding work.
Construction laborers and construction helpers remove any debris and potential hazards and unload and prepare tools and other supplies. Part of the preparation involves building or disassembling things such as bracing, barricades, forms, scaffolding, and temporary structures. Construction helpers may also dig trenches or fill holes. A construction helper may use tools ranging from a simple broom to a jackhammer, explosives, or laser beam equipment.
Construction laborers and construction helpers offer assistance to multiple craftworkers. Craftworkers who generally have helpers include: brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, carpenters, electricians, painters, pipelayers, plumbers and roofers.
Most construction laborers are generalist, but they may also specialize in one or many of the following areas: building homes and facilities, tearing down buildings, removing hazardous materials, building highways and roads, or digging tunnels and mine shafts. Some construction laborers become certified to remove asbestos, lead, or chemicals.
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Construction laborers and helpers job titles:
- Construction Worker
- Curb and Gutter Laborer
- Crew Laborer
- Drain Layer
- Post Framer
- Skill Laborer
- Union Laborer
Construction Laborers and Helpers Education, Certification and License Requirements
No formal education requirements exist for construction laborers and helpers, and most learn their trade through on-the-job training. Some individuals, however, opt to begin their construction laborer career through a formal apprenticeship program, which includes two to four years of technical instruction and on-the-job training.
Construction laborers and helpers programs cover subjects such as:
- Basic construction skills
- Reading blueprints
- Proper use of tools and equipments
- Safety and health procedures
- Building construction
- Heavy and highway construction
- Environmental remediation
Construction laborers and construction workers who handle hazardous materials need a federal hazmat license.
Construction laborers and helpers may need certifications, depending on the specific work they do. They may earn any of the following certifications: asbestos, energy auditor, lead, operators qualification for pipline, OSHA 10/or 30 hour construction safety certification, radiological worker, rough terrain forklift operation, scaffold user and builder, signalperson qualification, weatherization technician installer and supervisor, welder, work zone safety technician, flagger and supervisor.
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Career Advancement Opportunities
Advancement becomes more likely for construction laborers and helpers who earn certifications in different areas requiring specialized knowledge. Construction laborers and helpers may also advance to construction craft occupations.
Construction Laborers and Helpers Job Outlook
Forecast: 25 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for construction laborers, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
Employment demand for construction laborers or construction helpers depends on the overall activity of construction. Repairing and building new infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and water lines produce the steadiest demand for construction laborers. The population growth and subsequent need for more houses, schools, and office buildings should also help spur demand for construction helpers.
Construction Laborers and Helpers Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $25,610
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $32,000
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $20,380
- Masonry, stonework and plastering companies
- Plumbing, heating and air-conditioning companies
- Building finishing contractors
- House and office construction companies