Wages for Craft Professionals on the Rise
Blog Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on Breaking Ground: the NCCER Blog, February 18, 2015.
According to NCCER’s 2014 Craft Professional Wage Survey, wages for craft professionals continue to rise with the average annual salary being more than $50,000, excluding overtime, per diem, bonuses or other benefits. This is very encouraging news for anyone looking for career opportunities and alternative options to a four-year degree.
NCCER began collecting this data in a quest to provide accurate information about the numerous construction career opportunities available to students, transitioning military and displaced workers. NCCER participates in numerous career fairs, presentations and panels representing the industry to a variety of organizations throughout the year including counselor and teacher associations. I personally have used this survey in presentations in which I have had educators ask if individuals can really make that kind of salary in the construction industry. As an industry, we have to realize that the majority of the public really has no idea about the amazing opportunities construction offers.
In addition, conducting surveys like this allows us to get specific information about trends in the industry. For example, of the 17 total craft professions included in NCCER’s survey, 15 craft areas experienced wage increases in 2014. Professions earning more than $65,000 annually included electronic systems technicians and instrumentation technicians, which experienced a 14 percent increase from one year ago. Boilermakers saw the most significant pay increase of all craft professions, up 16 percent from the previous year, followed by industrial maintenance mechanics, which saw a 15 percent increase in wages. Project managers and project supervisors topped the survey, earning more than $91,000 and $79,000, respectively.
This is the third consecutive year NCCER has conducted this survey, and we had more than 30 construction organizations across the U.S. participate with hopes to build on this number as the survey continues this fall. Participation in surveys and activities like this that represent the industry as a whole are vitally important and are only one step in the right direction to correct the misconception that the construction industry offers low wages.
The Association for Career and Technical Education reports that a person with a career and technical education associate degree or credential will earn on average of $4,000 to $19,000 more each year than a person with an associate degree in humanities. This difference will continue to grow as the demand for skilled craft professionals increases. Our industry needs to be shouting it from the roof tops, bridges, stadiums, hospitals, power plants and all of the other incredible projects we build about the substantial careers and life-building opportunities for millions of craft professionals.
NCCER’s Craft Professional Wage Survey is one of numerous resources that NCCER and its Build Your Future initiative offer to promote construction careers and create a pipeline of qualified workers to the industry. This year’s survey was released during CTE Month to promote the positive earning potential and high wages offered in construction. If you would like to participate in the 2015 survey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.