May 24, 2022
 | Students

7 Careers to Consider if You Like Working With Your Hands

Construction jobs offer exciting experiences, great pay and camaraderie with a vast community of industry professionals. This industry is a fantastic option for people who like working with their hands, getting outside or creating new things. There is a wide array of career paths you can choose from, ranging in education level and area of interest.

If you’re looking for a hands-on and exciting career, these construction jobs might be the perfect fit.


1. Electrician

Average salary: $69,303

Education level: Trade school or apprenticeship

One of the most in-demand roles in the construction industry today is electricians. These professionals work with electrical systems in various buildings, installing and repairing electrical components. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in technology and electronics.

Suppose you enjoy figuring out how things work or taking things apart just to put them back together. In that case, you are likely to enjoy a career as an electrician, especially if you’re highly independent. Electricians have a great amount of control over their work lives. They can easily choose which projects they want to work on and shift from one thing to another.

You’ll need to be licensed to start your career as an electrician, but you don’t need a college degree. In fact, you don’t even need to go to trade school, though many electricians choose to do so. You could get an apprenticeship with only your high school diploma. As a result, electricians are some of the highest-paid professionals without college degrees, with the top 10% earning upwards of $98,000 per year.


2. Solar Photovoltaic Panel Installer

Average salary: $53,783

Education level: High school diploma and job training

Photovoltaic panels, more commonly known as solar panels, are a rapidly growing niche in the construction industry. More people and businesses are having panels installed on the roofs of their homes, schools and office buildings. The world needs thousands of knowledgeable professionals to install and maintain these products.

This role is an excellent option for anyone interested in sustainability, renewable energy and electronics. If you are considering being an electrician but would prefer to work in renewable energy, look no further. The job growth in this field is staggering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for solar installers will increase by 52% between 2020 and 2030. Increased government spending in the renewable energy sector will likely boost this demand even further, resulting in higher pay and more job opportunities.

There are numerous avenues to becoming a solar installer. In general, you will need a high school diploma and some formal job training. For example, you could complete an electrician apprenticeship with additional education in roofing. More specialized programs will crop up as demand continues to grow in the years ahead.


3. Architect

Average salary: $89,470

Education level: Bachelor’s degree

If you enjoy working with your hands but prefer to do so in a more artistic capacity, you should consider pursuing a career as an architect. This is a fascinating field, bridging the gap between the arts, mathematics and construction. You will spend a considerable amount of time drawing and designing buildings, either on paper or with digital design software. Architects play an important role in the construction process, so you are likely to have opportunities to visit sites as the structures you design are created.

Architects require more formal education than most other professions on this list, so be prepared to earn a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. The average salary for an architect is noticeably higher than many other construction roles, though. If you like math, geometry and design, you are likely to enjoy the time you will spend on coursework to prepare for a career in architecture, especially if you love drawing or making models.


4. Landscape Architect

Average salary: $70,000

Education level: Bachelor’s degree

Landscape design is another important behind-the-scenes job in the construction industry. If the idea of being an architect interests you, but you prefer the outdoors and plant life to bricks and mortar, a career as a landscape architect might be the perfect fit for you. Landscapers design outdoor spaces, such as parks, playgrounds and gardens. They have to understand the dynamics of the outdoors, considering who will use the area and how natural features, such as creative shading, can contribute to its purpose. People in this profession are likely to spend more time in nature than conventional architects.

Landscape architects need at least a bachelor’s degree. While there is little growth in demand for this profession currently, you are likely to make a good salary and get a nice balance between working in an office and being outdoors at job sites. You may not be doing the actual digging yourself, but you’ll have plenty of hands-on work, with everyday tasks like drawing, designing and constructing models of projects for clients.


5. Carpenter

Average salary: $61,071

Education level: High school diploma and apprenticeship

Those who enjoy DIY projects and home improvement will feel right at home in a career as a carpenter. There are few jobs in any industry that are more hands-on than carpentry. This role allows you to work on various tasks and projects, from installing cabinets to building wood frames for houses or skyscrapers. Carpenters have mentioned how they often built forts and small furniture projects for fun as kids. This is a great career option if you enjoy creating, learning and juggling many things.

You’ll have to have a good grasp of math, especially geometry and trigonometry, to do well as a carpenter. If possible, it’s a good idea to take advanced mathematics classes in high school. However, you won’t need to get a four-year degree to be a carpenter. Most people move into an apprenticeship to get hands-on training after graduating from high school or getting their GED.


6. Surveyor

Average salary: $70,880

Education level: Bachelor’s degree

Land surveying is a great hands-on career option for those who particularly enjoy being outside. Surveyors measure, inspect and map land and construction sites, studying things like elevation and contour. They also have to examine construction sites for potential hazards, such as terrain stability or areas in danger of landslides. As the expert on a site’s terrain, the surveyor will also have to determine the foundation requirements for any buildings constructed there.

You’ll spend a lot of time working with various surveying tools, as well as software for recording and analyzing the data you collect. If you find maps, the outdoors and activities like hiking interesting, you may enjoy a career as a surveyor. You will need to earn a bachelor’s degree to get started in surveying. Completing an internship or apprenticeship while working toward your degree will help you find a full-time position right out of college.


7. Equipment Operator

Average salary: $62,909

Education level: Job training and certification

Many people who like working with their hands enjoy mechanical equipment and vehicles. If this is you, a job as a construction equipment operator could be a great fit. Equipment operators are responsible for driving the heavy machinery that moves land and materials around construction sites. You would be working with all types of construction apparatus, from steam rollers to the massive cranes used to build skyscrapers.

Training for equipment operators is more varied than other construction careers. The amount of formal education and certification you need will depend on what state you are working in and what specific equipment you are hoping to operate. Of course, those with more training and certifications will have more job opportunities. You can often get training on the job as well as through an apprenticeship program or vocational school.


Pursuing a Career in Construction

The construction industry is overflowing with job opportunities for all types of people. This community is more diverse and innovative than ever, so you will find a niche to grow and develop professionally, no matter your interests. Few sectors can compete when it comes to hands-on jobs.

Whatever path you choose, take time to learn about all the different avenues available to you in construction. Feel free to reach out to local professionals to learn more about their jobs. This is an exciting and welcoming industry, and they will be glad to bring you into the fold.