Job Description of a Trade Contractor

Sep 21, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a trade contractor. Get a quick view of the educational requirements, job description, and specializations as well as licensure information to find out if this is the career for you.

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Trade contractors include electricians, carpenters, plumbers and brickmasons. They work on the construction, renovation, or repair of buildings and other structures. Most of these professions require a high school diploma and on-the-job training.

Essential Information

Trade contractors attend to duties on construction, remodel, and repair sites and work in fields ranging from heavy civil engineering construction to building construction. Construction building trade contractors, including plumbers and electricians, install and repair specific systems within residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Heavy civil engineering trade contractors are often hired by governments to build or revamp roads, bridges, and highways. Trade contractors are generally trained through apprenticeships or vocational schools and may be licensed.

Required Education A high school diploma and on-the-job training or an apprenticeship
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 10% (for brickmasons & blockmasons)
Average Salary (May 2018)* $54,430 (for brickmasons & blockmasons)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*


There are a wide variety of specializations in which trade contractors may concentrate. Some contractors install and maintain alarm systems, while others ensure that fire codes are met in the installation and maintenance of sprinkler systems. HVAC contractors install permanent heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, as well as all of the necessary controls, appliances, vents, ducts, and wires needed to keep the environment of the building at a proper temperature and humidity. Other trade contractors may include brickmasons, drywall installers, and roofers.

Work Environment

Although trade contractors perform different jobs, they typically spend most of their time on-site. The BLS reports that many of these professionals work over 40 hours a week. Some may work odd hours as they may be called in for emergencies, such as a broken water pipe in a hospital, which need immediate repair. These jobs require physical strength and stamina to manually cut pipe, assemble components, and lift heavy objects like power tools or cement blocks.

Job Outlook and Salary

Although the BLS doesn't provide specific salary or outlook information for trade contractors as a whole, it does note that employment opportunities for construction laborers were expected to increase by 10% between 2018 and 2028. The Bureau attributed this projected growth in part to home improvement and remodeling projects that would provide jobs for construction building trade contractors. As of May 2018, average annual salaries for brickmasons and blockmasons, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers (along with pipefitters and steamfitters) were $54,430, $51,120, $59,190, and $58,150 respectively.

Trade contractors specialize in an area related to building construction, maintenance, repair or renovation. They work at different job sites, performing tasks related to their area of specialization. Trade contractors include HVAC technicians, drywall installers, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters.

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