Top 10 Construction Crafts with the Highest Demand

Top 10 Construction Crafts with the Highest Demand



December 15, 2020

Author: Jordyn Bodner, NCCER Guest Contributor

As we reach the end of 2020, we can’t help but realize the importance of craft professionals in our lives. While most of our lives were put on halt, the construction industry continued to stay active. From improving infrastructure to providing essential services, we owe them a big thank you.

Construction hasn’t fully escaped the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, but it has managed to fare better than many industries affected by lockdowns and quarantines. Skilled and talented individuals remain a significant need in construction as the industry faces a workforce shortage. Training the next generation of craft professionals continues to be a priority.

Out of the 20 crafts on the Craft Labor Map, let’s look at the top 10 construction careers with the highest demand in the United States.

  • Craft Laborer – Craft laborers perform variety of basic tasks around a job site. This is a great option for anyone who is just starting off in construction, and it introduces the professional to an array of more specialized crafts, including electrical, carpentry and more. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment of craft laborers growing 5% over a ten-year period, which is faster than the average for other occupations.

Average salary per year – $38,890


Average salary per year – $56,877


  • Mason – Masons work with materials like bricks, concrete blocks and natural stones to build structures. Brick walls are often key components of the main load-bearing support for a building; however, non-structural decorative masonry is also another component of the craft.

Average salary per year – $56,784


  • Heavy Equipment Operator – As a kid, did you play with your toy dump trucks and bulldozers hoping to be able to operate it one day? If so, heavy equipment operator (HEO) may be for you. HEOs are trained and certified to work equipment that moves and transports materials on a construction/work site.

Average Salary per year – $60,828


  • Boilermaker – Boilermakers install, maintain and repair different boiling systems containing liquids and gases. Some boilermakers enter the craft through training in similar occupations, such as pipefitting and welding.

Average salary per year – $65,341


  • Electrician – Electricians maintain, install, inspect and troubleshoot the electrical needs of all types of buildings. They are in charge of all the wires that help give our homes and businesses light and our phones a wall outlet to charge from.

Average salary per year – $67,269


  • Ironworker – An ironworker is responsible for installing structural elements like steel and iron beams to make the buildings that surround us each and every day. Without ironworkers, the building we enter and exit on a daily basis wouldn’t be upright and standing tall.

Average salary per year – $60,060



  • Pipefitter – Pipefitters shape, install and maintain pipe systems that transport chemicals and endure high pressure. Pipefitting is similar in some ways to plumbing, but they are different crafts. To find out the difference between pipefitting and plumbing, check out this article.

Average salary per year – $62,697


  • Painter – Have you always been artsy? Have you always had a love of painting, but didn’t know how to make a career out of it? If so, look into becoming a professional painter. Painters work to paint to inside and outdoor parts of buildings. Use your career in the construction industry to unleash your creativity.

Average salary per year – $41,840


  • Sheet Metal Worker – Sheet metal workers cut and mold sheets of thin metal for installing and repairing ventilation and air ducts, among other projects. Often sheet metal workers create their components in a fabrication shop before they are sent to the construction site for installation.

Average salary per year – $58,160


If you’re looking into making your break into the construction world or are looking to learn a new craft, take a look at the craft labor map to see what is in high demand in your state.