Highest-paying construction jobs in Fort Smith

Written by:
February 20, 2022
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Highest-paying construction jobs in Fort Smith

The term “recession-proof” has taken on a new and important meaning in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008, a meaning that has been renewed during the pandemic. One recession-proof industry has proven to be construction. Residential and commercial real estate, roads, bridges, power and energy, hotels—each of these sectors has weathered economic storms and proven to be dependable ways for a person to support a family.

The American Institutes of Architects’ Consensus Construction Forecast predicts that nonresidential construction will grow 4.6%, while the overall commercial construction market will see a 5.4% increase. This is against market expectations of global construction gains of 3.7%, meaning the U.S. market is expected to be ahead of the curve. Moreover, road and highway construction is expected to reach $108 billion annually by 2024.

Aside from ongoing supply chain woes that have caused delays in materials delivery, one source of concern in construction is workforce shortages. Analysis from Deloitte says that labor shortages are the result of a lack of qualified candidates and a skills gap between generations in an industry growing more technologically savvy by the year.

But this does not mean there are no jobs out there—to the contrary, there are a great number of construction jobs out there, and many of them are high-paying and offer career opportunities. To that end, Stacker compiled a list of the highest paying jobs in construction in Fort Smith using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are ranked based on annual pay as of May 2020. Job descriptions are from O*NET.

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Carl Mydans // Library of Congress

#18. Tile and stone setters

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $21,430
- #137 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $48,490
- Employment: 38,150
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Champaign-Urbana, IL ($78,200)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($69,740)
--- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY ($63,630)
- Job description: Apply hard tile, stone, and comparable materials to walls, floors, ceilings, countertops, and roof decks.
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Canva

#17. Painters, construction and maintenance

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $29,920
- #344 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 40

National
- Annual mean salary: $46,460
- Employment: 217,880
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($69,360)
--- Salinas, CA ($64,630)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($63,070)
- Job description: Paint walls, equipment, buildings, bridges, and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers, and spray guns. May remove old paint to prepare surface prior to painting. May mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.
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Philip Lange // Shutterstock

#16. Highway maintenance workers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $31,200
- #304 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 230

National
- Annual mean salary: $43,200
- Employment: 149,890
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($72,040)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($66,270)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($65,290)
- Job description: Maintain highways, municipal and rural roads, airport runways, and rights-of-way. Duties include patching broken or eroded pavement and repairing guard rails, highway markers, and snow fences. May also mow or clear brush from along road, or plow snow from roadway.
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#15. Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $31,810
- #128 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

National
- Annual mean salary: $46,400
- Employment: 44,560
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Worcester, MA-CT ($80,010)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($73,360)
--- Evansville, IN-KY ($71,030)
- Job description: Operate equipment used for applying concrete, asphalt, or other materials to road beds, parking lots, or airport runways and taxiways or for tamping gravel, dirt, or other materials. Includes concrete and asphalt paving machine operators, form tampers, tamping machine operators, and stone spreader operators.
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Pixabay

#14. Construction laborers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $32,780
- #318 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 360

National
- Annual mean salary: $43,000
- Employment: 971,330
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($66,670)
--- Kankakee, IL ($65,730)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($63,860)
- Job description: Perform tasks involving physical labor at construction sites. May operate hand and power tools of all types: air hammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, small mechanical hoists, surveying and measuring equipment, and a variety of other equipment and instruments. May clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, set braces to support the sides of excavations, erect scaffolding, and clean up rubble, debris, and other waste materials. May assist other craft workers.

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#13. Cement masons and concrete finishers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $33,020
- #319 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 200

National
- Annual mean salary: $49,390
- Employment: 195,580
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($86,370)
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($81,730)
--- Rockford, IL ($78,320)
- Job description: Smooth and finish surfaces of poured concrete, such as floors, walks, sidewalks, roads, or curbs using a variety of hand and power tools. Align forms for sidewalks, curbs, or gutters; patch voids; and use saws to cut expansion joints.
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#12. Pipelayers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $35,110
- #110 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $45,060
- Employment: 33,950
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($77,880)
--- Eugene, OR ($76,240)
--- Worcester, MA-CT ($72,600)
- Job description: Lay pipe for storm or sanitation sewers, drains, and water mains. Perform any combination of the following tasks: grade trenches or culverts, position pipe, or seal joints.
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Vera Larina // Shutterstock

#11. Sheet metal workers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $35,820
- #255 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 110

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,320
- Employment: 128,220
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fairbanks, AK ($132,900)
--- Kankakee, IL ($91,140)
--- Olympia-Tumwater, WA ($87,030)
- Job description: Fabricate, assemble, install, and repair sheet metal products and equipment, such as ducts, control boxes, drainpipes, and furnace casings. Work may involve any of the following: setting up and operating fabricating machines to cut, bend, and straighten sheet metal; shaping metal over anvils, blocks, or forms using hammer; operating soldering and welding equipment to join sheet metal parts; or inspecting, assembling, and smoothing seams and joints of burred surfaces. Includes sheet metal duct installers who install prefabricated sheet metal ducts used for heating, air conditioning, or other purposes.
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#10. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $38,560
- #350 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 460

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,280
- Employment: 402,870
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($96,440)
--- Barnstable Town, MA ($93,620)
--- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA ($93,320)
- Job description: Operate one or several types of power construction equipment, such as motor graders, bulldozers, scrapers, compressors, pumps, derricks, shovels, tractors, or front-end loaders to excavate, move, and grade earth, erect structures, or pour concrete or other hard surface pavement. May repair and maintain equipment in addition to other duties.
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#9. Carpenters

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $41,500
- #285 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 200

National
- Annual mean salary: $54,200
- Employment: 699,300
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($82,950)
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($82,300)
--- Hanford-Corcoran, CA ($79,870)
- Job description: Construct, erect, install, or repair structures and fixtures made of wood and comparable materials, such as concrete forms; building frameworks, including partitions, joists, studding, and rafters; and wood stairways, window and door frames, and hardwood floors. May also install cabinets, siding, drywall, and batt or roll insulation. Includes brattice builders who build doors or brattices (ventilation walls or partitions) in underground passageways.

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#8. Insulation workers, mechanical

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $42,640
- #44 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $55,470
- Employment: 27,700
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($106,690)
--- Syracuse, NY ($90,050)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($81,980)
- Job description: Apply insulating materials to pipes or ductwork, or other mechanical systems in order to help control and maintain temperature.
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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#7. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $43,610
- #336 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 240

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,100
- Employment: 417,440
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($106,100)
--- Fairbanks, AK ($94,280)
--- Kankakee, IL ($93,420)
- Job description: Assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases. May install heating and cooling equipment and mechanical control systems. Includes sprinkler fitters.
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#6. Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators, surface mining

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $45,180
- #73 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 30

National
- Annual mean salary: $48,500
- Employment: 40,240
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($106,100)
--- Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV ($84,840)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($78,360)
- Job description: Operate or tend machinery at surface mining site, equipped with scoops, shovels, or buckets to excavate and load loose materials.
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Canva

#5. Construction and building inspectors

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $46,060
- #275 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 70

National
- Annual mean salary: $66,470
- Employment: 113,770
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($103,820)
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($102,920)
--- Salinas, CA ($98,360)
- Job description: Inspect structures using engineering skills to determine structural soundness and compliance with specifications, building codes, and other regulations. Inspections may be general in nature or may be limited to a specific area, such as electrical systems or plumbing.
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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#4. Electricians

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $46,260
- #325 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 310

National
- Annual mean salary: $61,550
- Employment: 656,510
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($106,680)
--- Trenton, NJ ($90,210)
--- Kankakee, IL ($88,530)
- Job description: Install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. Ensure that work is in accordance with relevant codes. May install or service street lights, intercom systems, or electrical control systems.

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#3. Service unit operators, oil and gas

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $47,980
- #32 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 190

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,510
- Employment: 43,840
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Fresno, CA ($79,790)
--- Wheeling, WV-OH ($71,350)
--- Tyler, TX ($64,330)
- Job description: Operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. Includes fishing-tool technicians.
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sculpies // Shutterstock

#2. First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $54,530
- #372 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 490

National
- Annual mean salary: $72,990
- Employment: 614,080
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($107,870)
--- Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA ($103,930)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($100,620)
- Job description: Directly supervise and coordinate activities of construction or extraction workers.
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#1. Rotary drill operators, oil and gas

Fort Smith, AR-OK
- Annual mean salary: $57,660
- #19 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,940
- Employment: 15,650
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Anchorage, AK ($94,610)
--- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO ($87,290)
--- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA ($81,210)
- Job description: Set up or operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas, or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.

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