Construction often inspires images of burly, sweaty men jack-hammering concrete or hammering nails. But there’s another sector you rarely hear about: industrial construction. Employers here need skilled workers, from welders, millwrights and equipment operators to HVAC technicians, electricians, ironworkers, pipefitters, boilermakers, carpenters, instrumentation technicians, instrumentation fitters, riggers and crane operators.
“These craft positions build and support the facilities that keep this country running: petrochemical plants, refining, oil/gas, power plants, manufacturing plants and more,” says Heath W. Culbertson, veteran liaison/workforce development for Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a global engineering, construction and services company.
The workforce is aging, providing endless advancement opportunities, Culbertson says. Companies like KBR key on veterans because of their leadership skills, discipline and work ethic.
“Specific craft disciplines can be taught, but the other qualities only come from dedication and experience that military service provides,” Culbertson says.
Salary for entry-level helpers averages $40,000 a year, with the top range for helpers reaching $52,000. As they progress through the helper and journey-level ranks, craft professionals will earn wages of more than $62,000 a year.
“There are many misconceptions about the construction industry,” Culbertson says. “A common one is that the construction industry has nothing but uneducated and underpaid workers that can’t find work anywhere else. That is completely opposite from the truth. In fact, skilled craft professionals have an extremely large opportunity to be employed anywhere in the world of their choosing and are paid above average from other industries.”
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