Careers in Construction

These are some career paths that are open to you in the construction industry. You can get an idea of how members of the construction team move up in their jobs from the following common career progressions.

chart detailing the career progression and opportunities in the construction trades

The following information gives you a little more detail on each type of job.


A member of one of the building trades who has successfully completed an apprenticeship program, or one who has successfully completed the skills to become a Journeyperson.


Supervises all journeypersons and apprentices of a particular trade working on a project and plans work, maintains schedules, ensures procedures as directed by the superintendent.


Prepares working plans, drawings and diagrams for engineering and construction purposes.

Construction Engineer:

Responsible for technical aspects of a project including the design, testing and analysis of specifications and materials, planning, surveying, research and other critical factors in the building process.

Safety Engineer:

Responsible for setting up job site safety operations, ensuring safety consciousness of employees, ensuring that activities are conducted in accordance with federal and state safety and health regulations and procedures, and provides professional advice on safety of various construction activities.


Prepares basic data concerning a proposed construction project (usually from plans and specifications) including quantities of materials, man-hours to perform items of work, methods to be used, equipment required, and, with the assistance of other members of the office staff, computes the cost of construction which represents the contractor's competitive bid for the job.


Maintains construction schedules by reviewing deliveries, scheduling arrival of materials and men at job sites, establishing work priorities, and obtaining necessary clearances.

Purchasing Agent:

Determines most economical sources for materials, stores, supplies, equipment and parts, and ensures purchase at lowest price consistent with required delivery schedule.


Inspects the work of contractors to ensure that the requirements of the drawings, specifications and codes for the work are met.

Office Manager:

Performs or supervises the variety of support services required of a construction business, such as keeping books, preparing payroll, billing clients, and handling mail.

General Superintendent:

Directs all construction functions for large projects according to established schedules, specifications, methods, and procedures, supervises job superintendent on very large projects or on a variety of smaller projects.

Project Manager:

Directs all construction functions on very large projects, establishes and develops methods, procedures, schedules, and policies, coordinates the work of all units and divisions, performs such administrative duties as are required for proper completion of the project.

General Contractor:

Often a company owner, a businessperson and construction specialist in most cases, responsible for all construction activities, deals with all key individuals on a project... the architect, the owner, the subcontractors and company personnel.