How to Become a <br>Construction Worker

How to Become a
Construction Worker

Dasha Castillo
By Dasha Castillo - Content Writer
Last Updated: April 20, 2023
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If you love working with your hands and dread spending your days at a desk, then a career as a construction worker might be for you. This industry impacts lives and helps fuel the economy. This “how to become a construction worker” guide outlines the criteria, skills and experience you will need to become a construction worker. We include salary insights, online job tools such as a Resume Builder and free resume samples to help you describe your experience and create a job-specific resume to impress hiring managers.

Need cover letter guidance? Add a cover letter to your resume using our cover letter formats how-to guide and add value to your resume.

One extra step to impress a manager: A growing number of hiring professionals read cover letters to determine whether they’ll interview a candidate or not. Use our cover letter templates to craft a complete application that lands you the interview.

What Does a Construction Worker Do?

Construction workers, also known as day laborers, work on construction sites and perform the physical aspects of a particular job. They erect scaffolding, build new structures, follow construction plans, and prepare construction sites by removing debris, loading and unloading building materials, and assisting with operating heavy equipment.

General construction worker’s duties include:

  • Testing machinery and equipment.

  • Transporting materials to the job site.

  • Measuring and cutting building materials.

  • Breaking up scaffolding and ramps.

  • Mixing, pouring and leveling concrete.

  • Digging holes, tunnels and shafts.

  • Applying mitigation techniques for resilience.

  • Builds according to the latest construction codes applicable to commercial, institutional and residential structures.

How to Become a Construction Worker

Construction is always in demand! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 168,500 openings for construction laborers are projected each year, on average, over the decade, with a projected growth of 4% from 2021 to 2031. This faster-than-average rise is based on the ever-present need for infrastructure repair and labor for new construction. This section will teach you all the steps you need to become a construction worker, including education requirements and expert career advice.


Complete your apprenticeship.

Start working on a construction site through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. These programs are offered by either trade unions or contractor’s associations and typically last two to five years and combine classroom and on-the-job training. During your apprenticeship, you may learn related information such as how to read a blueprint, health and safety procedures and how to operate construction equipment. An apprentice program can last up to five years, although they typically range from two to four years long. The program is a blend of classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Boost your career with apprenticeship opportunities that match your interests and skills in the construction sector.


Get your OSHA certification.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the government agency responsible for maintaining safe work environments for employees. Given the hazardous nature of construction sites, virtually all employers require entry-level workers to have completed the OSHA Outreach Training Program for Construction Workers. Entry-level construction workers can take a 10-hour course, while seasoned employees can take a 30-hour course. Renewal requirements vary according to the state.


Go for a specialized certification.

You can specialize and be certified in a specific area, such as forklifts, commercial, industrial or heavy equipment certification, which adds heft to a construction worker’s qualifications. Here’s a list of certifications to take your career to the next level:


Create a job-winning resume.

In such a competitive job market, you need a compelling resume to help you catch the recruiter’s attention. Outline your most powerful and impressive credentials by building a professional resume. This online tool features a variety of resume templates that you can personalize. The builder then uses your information to generate an industry-specific resume that you can save and use to apply to construction gigs.

Once you build your first draft, you can compare your resume to fellow construction worker resumes and revise it to reflect similar accomplishments. Consider adding a cover letter to your application — this detailed letter can build on key construction achievements with additional information. Read a few cover letter examples to learn how job seekers describe themselves.

Construction Worker Skills

Being a successful construction worker requires first learning and applying the most fundamental construction skills. In addition to the vast array of technical skills, construction workers should possess several soft skills. They rely on excellent verbal communication skills, as good communication is integral to project completion and worker safety.

Let’s break down the essential skills every construction worker needs to succeed.

Hard skills:

2Hand-eye coordination

Construction worker soft skills:

1Proficiency with math and measurements.
2Physical strength is required for heavy lifting work.
3Stamina is needed to endure long hours and intensive labor.
4Decision-making to determine how your task will affect others.
5Detail-oriented to avoid errors.
6Working knowledge of hand tools and power tools and necessary techniques and procedures.
7Coordination helps shift tasks quickly and avoid hazards.
8Verbal communication skills are needed to accurately convey directions to the crew and ensure safe work conditions.
9Organizational skills help you conduct tasks effectively.
10Self-starter mentality to get the job done without supervision.
11Leadership helps you stay focused and motivates team members.
12Being attentive to detail is vital for being efficient and productive.
13Problem-solving is a critical skill for creating solutions and innovation.
14Risk assessment to identify any immediate threat

Insights from a Construction Worker

A construction worker is generally very nice to talk to. So we decided to get some insight from a group of senior construction workers and here is what they had to say.

What is the common career path for a Construction Worker?

Workers in this industry typically gain their experience by participating in jobs under the guidance of more experienced Construction Worker. All you need to get started is a high school degree. After 18 you're eligible to participate in apprenticeship programs. Depending on your specific sub-discipline, you may need some certifications that demonstrate your capability to actually get the job done.

What should someone consider before becoming a Construction Worker?

If you have family or have other activities going on in your life, a job in construction can limit your time because workdays are not necessarily scheduled. You may have to work at night or even travel at spontaneous times. Another important aspect to consider is the job environment. In construction, you are probably not ever going to be in a safe environment. It can get dirty and dangerous.

What type of person excels in this job?

Good time management and an organized mindset are important traits for a Construction Worker. People who enjoy hands-on work on construction sites in general and getting their hands dirty who are not scared of dangerous environmental conditions can succeed in this career.

What are some of the most important skills for Construction Workers to have?

Physical Strength and stamina. Construction workers are often required to operate heavy machinery for long periods and if you are not physically prepared this will be a major problem. Beyond good physical condition construction workers must have building and mechanical knowledge as well as a general understanding of basic math concepts to enable them to read blueprints and other related documents.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Construction Worker?

Lets put it like this: suits and ties are not required, meaning you have the liberty of wearing whatever you want. Also, there have been some reports that workers often have higher job satisfaction because they are contributing to something that might last a lifetime and is actually manual labor. Construction workers are moving most of the time so your health tends to be in better shape than someone working in a cubicle all day.

How Much Does a Construction Worker Get Paid?

According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a Construction Worker is $30,890. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $20,400, while those in the top 10 percent make over $58,070.

Top 10 States for Construction Worker Salary









    New Jersey








    New York




    Construction Worker Resources

    We’ve put together the following list of resources to aid your exploration into a career as a Construction Worker.

    Need cover letter guidance? Add a cover letter to your resume using our cover letter formats how-to guide and add value to your resume.

    One extra step to impress a manager: A growing number of hiring professionals read cover letters to determine whether they’ll interview a candidate or not. Use our cover letter templates to craft a complete application that lands you the interview.

    Professional Groups

    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the government institution responsible for workplace safety. They provide the 10 hour outreach training program that many employers require from entry-level Construction Workers.

    Laborer’s International Union of North America
    This organization runs the general Construction Worker’s unions in North America. The website will show you your local chapter, as well as provide information on internship programs.

    Web Resources
    This website provides visitors with their closest trainer for the OHSA outreach training program.
    Khan Academy is a free online educational hub that covers a variety of subjects. It is a great place to brush up on the basic arithmetic a Construction Worker uses on the job.

    The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.