10 Construction Jobs with Good Pay that Don’t Require a College Degree


Across the country, minimum wages are rising, but so is everything else and making $15 an hour doesn’t make ends meet if you have a family and a mortgage. There’s a huge demand in the trades, though, and here are 10 construction jobs that can provide a good paycheck without having a college degree. Better yet, they can get you started on a meaningful career.

There is a caveat, though. The construction industry rewards those who put their time in and learn the trade from skilled professionals who have been producing quality work for decades in some cases. You’re not going to step in on day one and get the top pay. You’re also not going to be promoted to foreman after your first six months or even a year. You have to work your way up and earn your reputation.

If you have a long-term investment kind of mindset and like to work with your hands, a job in construction might be right up your alley. You might not work for the same employer your entire career (that’s actually very unlikely). As you learn and grow in your skills, different construction firms may be willing to offer higher pay to come work for them, and you may even find that you have what it takes to start your own business in the trades.

It all starts with taking the first step, so see if any of the good paying construction jobs that don’t require a college degree sound like a way to move you to a higher income level.

Construction Jobs with Good Pay

Before we jump in, note that these pay rates can vary significantly from state to state. It’s likely you’ll have the opportunity (or even a requirement) for overtime that can significantly boost your take-home pay. These are also averages for entire states—population centers and wealthier areas are likely to have higher pay.

We pulled data from Zip Recruiter in February 2024 to get our numbers.

Heavy Equipment Operator: $16.59 – $27.78 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Massachusetts: $27.78/hr
  • Washington: $26.56/hr
  • Colorado: $26.15/hr
  • Delaware: $24.53/hr
  • New York: $24.45/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Kansas: $19.14/hr
  • Georgia: $18.75/hr
  • Louisiana: $18.58/hr
  • West Virginia: $17.29/hr
  • Florida: $16.59hr

Carpenter: $16.97 – $27.60 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Wisconsin: $27.60/hr
  • Alaska: $26.72/hr
  • Massachusetts: $26.65/hr
  • Oregon: $26.63/hr
  • New Mexico: $26.55/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Alabama: $20.59/hr
  • Arkansas: $19.99/hr
  • Georgia: $19.18/hr
  • West Virginia: $17.64/hr
  • Florida: $16..97/hr

Welder: $17.11 – $25.98 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • New York: $25.98/hr
  • Vermont: $25.63/hr
  • Pennsylvania: $23.79/hr
  • New Hampshire: $23.25/hr
  • New Jersey: $23.00/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • West Virginia: $18.38/hr
  • Kentucky: $18.03/hr
  • Michigan: $18.00/hr
  • Florida: $17.45/hr
  • Arkansas: $17.11/hr

Mason: $18.50 – $30.45 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Oregon: $30.45/hr
  • Alaska: $30.35/hr
  • North Dakota: $30.31/hr
  • Massachusetts: $30.04/hr
  • Hawaii: $29.67/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Tennessee: $22.13/hr
  • Georgia: $20.90/hr
  • Louisiana: $20.82/hr
  • West Virginia: $19.26/hr
  • Florida: $18.50/hr

Ironworker: $19.18 – $31.29 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Washington: $31.29/hr
  • Delaware: $29.31/hr
  • Virginia: $28.80/hr
  • Maryland: $28.36/hr
  • New York: $28.33/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Michigan: $21.03/hr
  • Kentucky: $21.01/hr
  • West Virginia: $20.04/hr
  • Arkansas: $19.98/hr
  • Florida: $19.18/hr

HVAC Tech: $19.21 – $30.48 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Alaska: $30.48/hr
  • Oregon: $30.41/hr
  • Massachusetts: $30.35/hr
  • North Dakota: $30.31/hr
  • Minnesota: $30.04/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Alabama: $23.30/hr
  • Arkansas: $22.75/hr
  • Georgia: $21.70/hr
  • West Virginia: $19.97/hr
  • Florida: $19.21/hr

Pipefitter: $20.36 – $33.02 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Washington: $33.02/hr
  • Colorado: $32.93/hr
  • Delaware: $30.79/hr
  • Virginia: $30.28/hr
  • New York: $30.05/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Louisiana: $22.68/hr
  • Kentucky: $22.42/hr
  • Arkansas: $21.32/hr
  • West Virginia: $21.26/hr
  • Florida: $20.36/hr

Plumber: $20.93 – $34.45 per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Oregon: $34.45/hr
  • Alaska: $34.34/hr
  • North Dakota: $34.29/hr
  • Massachusetts: $34.00/hr
  • Hawaii: $33.58/hr

Bottom 5 States


  • Tennessee: $25.04/hr
  • Georgia: $23.65/hr
  • Louisiana: $23.56/hr
  • West Virgnia: $21.79/hr
  • Florida: $20.93/hr

Electrician: $22.82 – $35.06 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • New York: $35.06/hr
  • Pennsylvania: $32.10/hr
  • New Hampshire: $31.39/hr
  • New Jersey: $30.92/hr
  • Wyoming: $30.58/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • West Virginia: $24.79/hr
  • Kentucky: $24.04/hr
  • Michigan: $23.99/hr
  • Florida: $23.52/hr
  • Arkansas: $22.82/hr

Building Inspector: $23.04 – $38.70 Average Pay per Hour

Top 5 States

  • Alaska: $38.70/hr
  • Massachusetts: $38.15/hr
  • Washington: $36.71/hr
  • Nevada: $36.59/hr
  • Colorado: $35.98/hr

Bottom 5 States

  • Kansas: $26.65/hr
  • Georgia: $26.03/hr
  • Louisiana: $25.84/hr
  • West Virginia: $24.00/hr
  • Florida: $23.04/hr

Other Construction Jobs You May Want to Consider

  • Roofing Contractor: $14.57 (Florida) – $24.49 (Alaska)
  • Drywaller $15.86 (West Virginia) – $24.18 (New Jersey)
  • Framer: $16.83 (Florida) – $24.98 (New York)


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