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Architecture and Construction

Careers in this cluster

Cluster definition

Do you often observe and note the buildings around you?
Do you like to work with your hands?
Can you visualize objects and projects in your mind?
Do you like to create models or make designs?
Do you like to work with tools, objects, and numbers?
Do you like to use both mental and manual skills to solve problems?
Do you like to work both alone and with others?

If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in architecture and construction.

If you work in occupations in the Architecture and Construction cluster, you would be responsible for buildings and other structures such as highways and bridges. You might make designs and plans for new structures. Or, you would use the plans to build new structures and manage construction workers. Another option would be to take care of, repair, and restore existing structures.



In the Construction pathway, you would build cities, homes, and highways. You would put up or remodel buildings used for living and work or structures such as highways, streets, bridges, tunnels, and airports.


In the Design/Pre-Construction pathway, you would create designs for the construction of cities, homes, and highways. You turn ideas into plans. Those plans would be used to guide construction workers as they build the actual structures.


In the Maintenance/Operations pathway, you would take care of, repair, and restore cities, houses, and highways. You might repair and maintain factory equipment, highways and streets, schools and offices, or homes. In your work, you would detect problems and make recommendations for improvements. In some jobs, you would restore old structures to be like new.

Level of education and earnings

The training and education requirements to work in the occupations in the Architecture and Construction cluster depend on the pathway and the type of work performed. Some occupations require less than a month of on-the-job training; however, some urban and regional planners require a master's degree.

The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations and the national and state annual median wages. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level of education because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.

Earnings for people working in some of the occupations in this career cluster can vary greatly during the year, depending on the season, because some jobs in these occupations are part time or seasonal. For construction workers, earnings can vary from month to month. This may be because they cannot work during the cold winter weather.

Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. These types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.

The information provided below lists the level of education or training most commonly required to work in the occupations in this cluster. Some employers might prefer to hire people with more education, training, or experience.

  National Annual
Median Wage
Washington Annual
Median Wage
Short-Term, On-the-Job Training (Less than One Month)
Construction Helpers$29,960 - $33,380 $29,740 - $44,720
Electrician Helpers$31,410 $40,010
Floor and Carpet Layers$39,340 - $42,760 $44,010 - $48,740
General Construction Workers$35,800 $44,580
Gas and Oil Drillers$46,120 - $53,800 not available
Insulation Installers$38,480 - $47,740 $47,250 - $61,850
Landscapers and Groundskeepers$29,000 - $38,190 $34,730 - $56,990
Material Moving Machine Operators$32,980 - $56,340 $37,740 - $52,750
Mechanic and Repairer Helpers$29,450 $35,050
Pipelayers$38,560 $65,840
Rock Splitters$34,750 $42,770
Moderate-Term, On-the-Job Training (One to Twelve Months)
Cement Masons$42,500 - $43,000 $56,520
Construction and Well Drillers$44,430 $50,020
Crane and Tower Operators$54,140 $72,310
Drywall Finishers$55,080 $54,720
Drywall Installers$43,730 $58,410
Fence Builders$34,800 $36,850
Floor and Carpet Layers$39,340 - $42,760 $44,010 - $48,740
Floor Sanding Machine Operators$37,510 $43,030
Gas and Oil Drillers$46,120 - $53,800 not available
Highway Maintenance Workers$39,690 $49,870
Hoist and Winch Operators$45,490 $59,310
Landscapers and Groundskeepers$29,000 - $38,190 $34,730 - $56,990
Material Moving Machine Operators$32,980 - $56,340 $37,740 - $52,750
Mining Machine Operators$47,170 - $54,520 $46,620
Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators$47,810 $64,880
Painters$38,940 $40,430
Paving Equipment Operators$39,780 $61,180
Riggers$50,370 $56,670
Roof Bolters$58,650 not available
Roofers$39,970 $54,200
Roustabouts$37,580 not available
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners$38,970 $40,580
Solar Panel Installers$42,680 not available
Structural Metal Workers$39,290 - $53,970 $42,840 - $83,950
Surveying Technicians$44,380 $50,510
Weatherization Installers and Technicians$38,860 $36,630
Long-Term, On-the-Job Training (Over One Year)
Boilermakers$62,150 $62,550
Bricklayers and Stonemasons$41,220 - $50,950 $46,420 - $65,560
Carpenters$46,590 $57,240
Cement Masons$42,500 - $43,000 $56,520
Drywall Finishers$55,080 $54,720
Drywall Installers$43,730 $58,410
Electricians$55,190 $65,650
Elevator Installers and Repairers$79,780 $114,740
Energy Auditors$70,530 $72,750
Explosives Workers$49,860 not available
Glaziers$43,550 $55,420
Hoist and Winch Operators$45,490 $59,310
Insulation Installers$38,480 - $47,740 $47,250 - $61,850
Line Installers and Repairers$58,280 - $70,910 $64,980 - $91,020
Millwrights$55,060 $60,480
Operating Engineers and Construction Equipment Operators$47,810 $64,880
Painters$38,940 $40,430
Paving Equipment Operators$39,780 $61,180
Plasterers$43,540 $50,410
Plumbers and Pipefitters$53,910 $62,980
Roofers$39,970 $54,200
Sheet Metal Workers$48,460 $59,430
Stationary Engineers$60,440 $68,670
Structural Metal Workers$39,290 - $53,970 $42,840 - $83,950
Tile Setters$41,840 $50,540
Wallpaper Hangers$38,090 $37,330
Postsecondary Vocational Training (Certificate or Diploma)
Commercial Divers$49,140 $56,640
Heating and Cooling System Mechanics$47,610 $54,580
Mapping Technicians$44,380 $50,510
Associate Degree
Drafters$54,920 - $60,070 $54,490 - $89,160
Interior Designers$53,370 $59,680
Bachelor's Degree
Architects$79,380 $74,740
Civil Engineers$86,640 $88,450
Construction Managers$93,370 $95,840
Cost Estimators$64,040 $72,420
Geographic Information Systems Specialists$44,380 $50,510
Landscape Architects$68,230 $66,050
Surveyors$62,580 $83,840
Work Experience Plus a Bachelor's or Higher Degree
Wind Energy Project Managers$107,480 $116,700

Employment & outlook

If you are interested in working in construction, you will probably find a job. The job openings will vary with the different occupations. Many workers leave their jobs because of the hard physical work and uncomfortable working conditions. There will be more jobs in occupations that require skills that are technical and need more training. This includes bricklayers and stonemasons, electricians, sheet metal workers, and heating and cooling system mechanics.

Industrial companies are replacing old, outdated facilities. Hospitals and health care facilities are adding on to meet the needs of the aging population. These conditions result in more job opportunities.

Employment will increase in landscaping and horticultural services. This will be a result of individuals and businesses recognizing the value of preserving and restoring existing landscape and grounds. A growing number of homeowners use lawn maintenance and landscaping services to enhance the beauty of their property and to conserve leisure time. In addition, as the population ages, elderly homeowners will need help caring for their lawns and yards.

Employment of drafters, surveyors, and several related technician occupations are projected to decline. This is due to improvements in technology, such as design software and surveying equipment, making workers more productive.