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Construction Trades Major

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Construction Trades

$47,630 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Construction Trades Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many construction trades graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Basic Certificate 14,695
Undergraduate Certificate 13,835
Associate’s Degree 5,453
Bachelor’s Degree 151

What Construction Trades Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, construction trades majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Construction Trades Majors

Construction Trades majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • Building and Construction - Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills for Construction Trades Majors

A major in construction trades prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Construction Trades Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a construction trades student include the following:

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  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

What Can You Do With a Construction Trades Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with construction trades:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Brickmasons and Blockmasons 10.3% $50,950
Carpet Installers 9.4% $39,340
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers 12.6% $43,000
Civil Engineering Technicians 8.9% $52,580
Construction and Building Inspectors 10.1% $59,700
Construction Carpenters 8.2% $46,590
Derrick Operators, Oil and Gas 25.2% $46,120
Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installers 1.0% $43,730
Earth Drillers, Except Oil and Gas 19.9% $44,430
Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers 13.9% $70,910
Electricians 8.9% $55,190
Explosives Workers, Ordnance Handling Experts, and Blasters 7.9% $49,860
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers 12.6% $65,230
First-Line Supervisors of Housekeeping and Janitorial Workers 9.9% $39,940
First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers 7.1% $66,140
Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard Tiles 9.8% $42,760
Floor Sanders and Finishers 8.2% $37,510
Glaziers 10.4% $43,550
Insulation Workers, Floor, Ceiling, and Wall 1.3% $38,480
Insulation Workers, Mechanical 9.8% $47,740
Maintenance and Repair Workers, General 7.9% $38,300
Painters, Construction and Maintenance 5.7% $38,940
Paperhangers 5.3% $38,090
Pipe Fitters and Steamfitters 15.6% $53,910
Plumbers 15.6% $53,910
Roofers 11.1% $39,970
Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas 24.6% $53,800
Rough Carpenters 8.2% $46,590
Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers 14.2% $47,190
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners 17.2% $38,970
Signal and Track Switch Repairers 2.0% $70,490
Solar Energy Installation Managers 12.6% $65,230
Solar Photovoltaic Installers 104.4% $42,680
Stonemasons 9.5% $41,220
Structural Iron and Steel Workers 12.8% $53,970
Terrazzo Workers and Finishers 11.1% $42,500
Tile and Marble Setters 9.8% $41,840

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Trades?

151 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
14% Percent Women
29% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This major tends to be male dominated. About 86% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of construction trades majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Construction Trades Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 2
Black or African American 2
Hispanic or Latino 39
White 94
International Students 7
Other Races/Ethnicities 7

Geographic Diversity

Construction Trades appeals to people across the globe. About 4.6% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Construction Trades Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in construction trades was $62,300 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $59,725 (25th percentile) and $64,500 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in construction trades, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $43,870 to $56,740 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to construction trades. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Construction Trades Major  ( 43870 to 56740 )
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Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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Some careers associated with construction trades require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to construction trades have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 18.6%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 41.7%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 23.2%
Some College Courses 8.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 4.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 2.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 0.3%
Master’s Degree 0.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.1%
Doctoral Degree 0.3%
Post-Doctoral Training 0.1%

Online Construction Trades Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 895 schools offered some type of construction trades program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 846 5
Certificate (1-2 years) 1,078 6
Certificate (2-4 Years) 109 4
Associate’s Degree 724 13
Bachelor’s Degree 2 0
Post-Baccalaureate 846 5
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Construction Trades Worth It?

The median salary for a construction trades grad is $47,630 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 19% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $154,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to construction trades.

Major Number of Grads
Personal & Culinary Services 132,932
Mechanic & Repair Technologies 109,362
Precision Production 55,086
Transportation & Materials Moving 28,074

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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