Commercial Builder: Responsibilities, Requirements and Salary

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a commercial builder. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

A commercial builder carries out construction work for non-residential structures. They may supervise or participate in the building process. Education requirements vary widely by position.

Essential Information

Commercial builders are construction laborers whose focus is on building commercial real estate properties. Education and training requirements vary as workers are often from a variety of backgrounds. A high school diploma may be required for entry-level positions, and a bachelor's degree is preferred for management positions.

Construction Laborers Construction Managers
Required Education None, though high school education is helpful Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements On-the-job training Work experience; state licensure sometimes required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 13% 5%
Mean Annual Salary (2015)* $39,210 $99,590

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Commercial Builder Responsibilities

General contractors oversee the completion of an entire commercial construction project. They supervise the entire project, making sure work is properly assigned and completed on schedule. These contractors often subcontract work to heavy construction crews or those specializing in a trade such as carpentry, electrical work or painting.

Trade workers within commercial building projects complete tasks for structural, finishing or mechanical needs. Structural workers construct the basic framework inside and outside a building, which includes carpentry, brick masonry and concrete work. Finishing workers then complete projects such as drywall installation, roofing and painting to give the building its final desired appearance. Mechanical workers install the additional necessary components like electrical elements, heating and air-conditioning, and plumbing, so the building can be fully operational.

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Commercial Builder Requirements

Requirements vary for commercial builders as they come from a variety of training backgrounds. A high school diploma is often required for beginning laborers, and the more education workers receive, the more advancement opportunities are available. Builders learn necessary trades through on-the-job training. Some skills may be acquired within a short period of time, while others may take years to fully learn. Often technical or trade schools offer courses in carpentry, bricklaying or equipment installation. Some builders need to obtain licensing for specific tasks such as crane operation, electrical work, or heating and air-conditioning installation.

Those who desire management positions in commercial building must have a great deal of experience in their specialty and possess a college degree in commercial construction management or a related field. Graduates often take positions with commercial construction firms, wholesalers, material manufacturers or other related positions.

Commercial Builder Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary for all non-residential construction laborers was $39,210 in May 2015. Construction managers in the same sector averaged $99,590 per year. Opportunities for commercial builders should remain regularly available, especially for those with strong education, training and experience. Population growth and deteriorating structures will continue to make this a necessary profession.

Builders may work manual labor or take on managerial positions, each having different educational requirements. Postsecondary schools offer training programs in construction, though many of the skills are learned on the job, and experience is what counts in getting hired.

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