What Does a Construction Laborer Really Do?

Are you looking to get a new job but are unsure where to start or how you will know what career path is right for you? Whether you are just out of high school or are considering changing careers, you may want to consider the benefits of becoming a construction worker/laborer.

Not only are there plenty of opportunities available in the construction industry, but a job as a construction laborer will teach you invaluable skills that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

However, you may now find yourself wondering what exactly a construction laborer does, how much they make, and how you will know whether construction is the right career path for you. To help you in making this important decision, keep reading to learn more about the key requirements, duties, and responsibilities of a construction laborer, and the skills that you will need to excel in the construction industry.

What is a Construction Laborer?

The first question you will likely find yourself asking is what exactly a construction laborer does. A construction laborer, also referred to as a construction worker, is responsible for completing a variety of physical tasks on building sites.

Construction laborers report to and work directly under the supervision of a construction foreman, and they are required to follow blueprints created by architects to create structurally sound buildings and structures.

The duties of a construction laborer can be numerous, and depending on the type of job site you are working on you may find yourself erecting scaffolding, preparing a site for construction, unloading construction materials, or operating heavy machinery. Construction workers may also have to dig holes, clear away debris, lay bricks, and perform other tasks essential to the construction process.

Construction laborers generally work for a construction company as part of a larger crew dedicated to complex building and construction projects, and they are essential to the construction of roads, buildings, and other infrastructure.

Construction Workers Having at Meeting

The Duties of a Construction Laborer

As you can see, the duties of a construction laborer can vary greatly depending on the type of job you are on and the construction company you are working for. As a general rule, someone who takes a job as a construction laborer can expect their duties and responsibilities to include:

  • Unloading and carrying building materials to designated locations on the job site.
  • Preparing a site for construction including removing debris, digging holes and trenches, and pouring foundations.
  • Operating hand and power tools such as nail guns, cement mixers, etc.
  • Helping carpenters, electricians, and other craftsmen as directed.
  • Taking apart or constructing scaffolding, bracing, and other temporary structures used on construction sites.
  • And cleaning the construction site at the end of each workday.

Ultimately, a construction laborer needs to be prepared for anything, as they may be assigned any number of tasks by their supervisor or another construction manager. This makes construction an exciting field for people who do not like doing the same task every day.

What Skills and Qualifications Does a Construction Laborer Need?

To succeed as a construction laborer, there are certain skills and qualifications that you will need. Most notably, you need to have the physical strength and stamina to handle the rigors of the job site.

Being a construction laborer is ideal for those who like being out and about on their feet all day and who don’t mind physical labor including lifting heavy building materials. Additional skills required of a construction laborer include:

  • The willingness and ability to work in all types of weather.
  • The ability to work well with others.
  • Physical stamina to handle long hours of performing strenuous work outside.
  • Mechanical skills and dexterity required to use equipment, tools, and machinery regularly used on construction sites.
  • Basic math skills needed to perform calculations while measuring on job sites and helping surveying crews.
  • And a willingness to learn, as you will need to be able to acquire new skills quickly on the job as new tools, equipment, and techniques are introduced.

Are There Any Experience or Education Requirements?

For those interested in entering the construction field, there is no formal education required to become a construction laborer. In fact, most people become construction laborers without any formal training and little to no experience.

Entry-level jobs are available to those willing to put in the work and learn new skills regardless of their background. Experience in the construction industry is usually acquired directly in the field from seasoned construction workers.

Generally, beginning laborers are partnered with an experienced construction worker who gives them on-the-job training. However, those wanting to succeed in construction can increase their earnings potential and their chances of being hired by completing a certification or apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship programs last anywhere from 2 to 4 years and combine classroom instruction with real-world construction experience.

Construction Worker Salary Expectations

Of course, one of the biggest questions you probably have is how much you can expect to make working as a construction laborer. Ultimately, the salary you can expect to make will depend on a variety of factors including experience and whether you have any formal training.

However, one of the biggest factors contributing to how much you will make as a construction worker is the state in which you live. For instance, while the average construction worker in the U.S. makes around $15 per hour, the average base pay for a construction worker in California is $18.55 per hour.

Even within California salaries can fluctuate, as workers in Oakland make $19.50 per hour on average, while those in San Jose can expect to earn over $22 per hour. Additionally, the amount you make will likely go up as you gain experience within the field.

If you are looking to make a career change and are willing to work in a field that requires strenuous physical labor, becoming a construction worker is a great option that can teach you skills that will further advance your career prospects. Feel free to contact us to learn more about what it takes to work in the construction industry.