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Industry roles at a glance: Construction

April 23, 2021



In the construction industry, there are several career paths and job duties that play a crucial role in the successful completion of a project. When thinking of construction, people typically picture workers who build residential, industrial, commercial, and other buildings. These laborers are called general contractors. There are more specialized heavy and civil engineering contractors as well who build sewers, roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, and other projects. Specialty trade contractors perform specialized activities related to construction such as carpentry, painting, plumbing, and electrical work.

Construction is normally coordinated by general contractors, who specialize in a particular type of construction such as residential or commercial building. These contractors handle the majority of the project, though sometimes more specialized services are omitted from the contract. Although general contractors may do some of the work with their own crews, they frequently subcontract out to heavy construction or specialty trade contractors for the rest.

Project Managers

Another critical role in the construction industry is that of the project manager. Project managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from beginning to completion. They are in charge of a wide variety of projects, including the building of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, plus roads, memorials, and bridges. Both general contractors and project managers can oversee the construction phase of a project, but a project manager usually has more client-facing interaction during the design phase to refine plans and keep projects within budget.

Project Manager breakdown of duties:

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

Construction industry salaries

The 2020 National Average Salaries for Project Managers, as provided by PAS, working for these contractor types:

  • General Contractor $ 102,037
  • Electrical Contractor $ 95,013
  • Construction Management Firm $107,653
  • Mechanical Contractor $ 98,530
  • Design-Build Firm $ 102,525
  • Specialty Contractors $ 99,446

The yearly updated National Average of Salaries for many construction industry positions can be found at

Capitol Technology University offers online construction industry degrees to help those expand their career opportunities. We also accept transfer credit from NCCER certifications. Online degrees related to the construction industry include the BS in Construction Management & Critical Infrastructure, BS in Construction Safety, BS in Construction IT & Cybersecurity, BS in Facilities Management & Critical Infrastructure, BS in Professional Trades Administration and can be found at



Construction Salary Surveys. (n.d.).

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, April 16). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.