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It’s a great time to find a job. Economic recovery and a demand for housing have created a hot residential construction market, and contractors, remodelers, and others in the industry are looking for employees to fill essential positions. While ForConstructionPros reports that persistent labor shortages could slow remodeling and construction projects in 2022, these labor shortages are good news for those entering the job market, or those looking for a career in the home-improvement industry. There are plenty of construction careers up for grabs. In fact, applicants have their pick of a variety of related occupations, including many that don’t require a four-year degree.
Installing flooring is often the final step in remodeling or new home construction, performed after the walls, ceilings, and appliances are installed. A flooring installer is typically trained on the job and works with various flooring materials, including hardwood, carpeting, and tile. In metro areas, these workers may specialize in a single type of flooring. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for flooring installers was $43,210 in 2020. That figure is likely to be higher today with the current demand, depending on local worker needs.
Skills required: Physical strength, ability to carry heavy loads, a strong back.
Best for: Those looking for a career where they can work with their hands.
If working outdoors and creating beautiful landscapes appeals to you, consider working for a landscaping company. This is an entry-level job that doesn’t require a degree, and it provides on-the-job training at the same time. Comparably ranks the salary of a landscape laborer from around $18,460 to $39,520, with an average salary being $26,278. Duties involve installing raised beds, planting trees and shrubs, and installing underground sprinkler systems. Depending on the region, there may be downtime during cold months.
Skills required: Physical strength, a strong back.
Best for: Those who don’t want a 9-to-5 desk job and love the idea of working outdoors.
Also called a “mudder” or a “taper,” a drywall finisher comes on the job after the drywall installers have finished hanging the wallboard. The finisher fills the seams between the panels with compound and tape and then sands the seams to a flawless finish. Most drywall finishers start out mixing compound and then learn how to tape. Specialty crews often walk on tall stilts that allow them to reach upper walls and ceiling seams without the need for a ladder. Salary ranges from $26,250 to $78,030, and experienced finishers are in high demand.
Skills required: Ability to develop a fine touch when applying drywall tape and mud.
Best for: Those who are good with their hands and want to learn a skill that’s always in demand.
A framing carpenter is responsible for constructing the structural support of a new house or addition after the foundation is complete. This includes building walls with studs, setting rafters, and working with trusses. Salary ranges by state, according to ZipRecruiter, and may be as low as $31,320 in North Carolina or as high as $44,963 in Wyoming. In communities where construction is booming, it could be even higher.
Skills required: Ability to measure precisely, use power tools, be comfortable at heights.
Best for: Those looking to work in the construction industry in an outdoor setting.
While some trade schools offer courses and degrees in wiring, many electricians are trained on the job as apprentices. This entry-level job starts at around $20,500, depending on local demand. The apprentice will learn to identify and install electrical circuits, install direct-wired appliances, such as ranges, and set breaker panels. It’s a job that requires attention to detail and safety, but after thorough training, an apprentice electrician can become a licensed electrician and earn an annual salary of $59,472 or more.
Skills required: Ability to learn electrical circuitry, with a focus on safety.
Best for: Those who want to work in a construction field that doesn’t require physical strength.
Home inspectors are often hired during the sale of a house to check the home’s structure, major appliances, plumbing, wiring, and finish to pinpoint defects. A home inspector may also work for a community’s building authority to inspect houses and additions at various stages of construction. Inspectors earn from around $65,425 to $85,816 per year, with most making an average of $76,161, according to Salary.com. Courses are available through home inspection companies, such as AmeriSpec.
Skills required: The ability to climb on roofs, deal with clients, recognize potential and existing problems, keep accurate records.
Best for: Those with working knowledge of construction, or those willing to take training courses.
Home staging is related to interior decorating and may be a service offered by an interior design firm. A stager prepares a home to show well when it’s on the market. Stagers advise sellers how to declutter their homes, and they often provide furnishings temporarily to make the house look its best. Beginning salary for a home stager starts around $20,500, but experienced and proven stagers can earn as much as $81,000, according to ZipRecruiter.
Skills required: A good eye for color and design, ability to work well with clients.
Best for: Those looking for a job in interior design but who may not have a degree.
Solar Panel Installer
As society turns to more economical methods of producing energy, solar panels are getting more popular and the demand for installers is growing. Installer salaries start around $23,000 and can be as high as $67,000, according to ZipRecruiter. A solar panel installer often begins as an apprentice and is trained on the job. Duties include installing solar arrays on a roof or other support structures and then connecting them to the home’s power system.
Skills required: The ability to work at heights, physical strength (carrying, lifting panels).
Best for: Those who want to work outdoors and are looking to make an eco-friendly contribution.