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Residential Builder: Employment & Career Info

Find out what a residential builder, construction contractor or carpenter does. Learn about the required training and skills, along with the salary and employment outlook, to see if this occupation is the right one for you.

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Career Definition for a Residential Builder

Residential builders, also known as residential construction contractors, perform project management roles in the building of homes. They read blueprints and use the information to bid on specific jobs, order building materials and plan and implement the construction of homes. They supervise construction crews and specialized sub-contractors, including electricians, carpenters, masonry specialists and landscape installation contractors. Residential builders' clients are typically property owners or residential development companies.

Education Bachelor's degrees in construction management recommended, apprenticeships also exist
Job Skills Spatial, people and project management skills; Spanish language proficiency recommended
Median Salary (2017)* $91,370 for all construction managers
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 11% for all construction managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Residential builders are increasingly recommended to have a bachelor's degree in construction management or related fields. Some residential builders do not have formal education and advance their careers through apprenticeship training programs under the supervision of other residential builders and contractors. Working independently as a residential builder requires a state-issued contracting license. Licensure typically involves demonstrating a certain number of years of expertise or a combination of experience and education, in addition to passing a licensing exam.

Skills Required

Residential builders must have good spatial skills that allow them to interpret two-dimensional plans into three-dimensional structures. They must estimate costs, materials and timelines for projects. As project managers, residential builders have excellent people skills that allow them to successfully communicate with clients, crews and other building professionals. Spanish language skills can be very helpful for construction management professionals.

Career and Economic Outlook

The short-term career outlook for all construction managers is tied closely to economic circumstances, local population level and the housing market, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reports, however, that employment of construction managers is expected to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the national average for all occupations. Based on May 2017 statistics from the BLS, construction managers earned a median salary of $91,370, while those specializing in residential building construction earned a median annual salary of $84,620.

Alternate Career Options

Explore these other career options in construction:

Tile and Marble Setter

These workers apply marble and hard tiles to various surfaces, such as floors and walls and usually learn their skills while on the job or through apprenticeships. From 2016-2026, the BLS predicted faster than average job growth of 10% for tile and marble setter positions. In 2017, they earned a median annual wage of $41,680, according to the BLS.

Drywall and Ceiling Tile Installer and Taper

Through on-the-job training or apprenticeships, these professionals hang wallboard, install ceiling tiles and use tape to prepare surfaces for painting. Little to no change in employment growth of 1% was forecast by the BLS for the 2016-2026 decade. The BLS also reported median earnings of $43,970 per year in 2017 for these installers and tapers.

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