Highest-paying construction jobs in Chicago

Written by:
February 20, 2022
Flamingo Images // Shutterstock

Highest-paying construction jobs in Chicago

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 Chicago 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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#40. Helpers--painters, paperhangers, plasterers, and stucco masons

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $31,780
- #26 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $33,520
- Employment: 9,500
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA ($50,140)
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($47,830)
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($46,330)
- Job description: Help painters, paperhangers, plasterers, or stucco masons by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
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#39. Helpers--roofers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $35,910
- #7 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 410

National
- Annual mean salary: $35,080
- Employment: 8,390
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($50,290)
--- Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC ($39,590)
--- Erie, PA ($37,940)
- Job description: Help roofers by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#38. Helpers--pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $37,290
- #35 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,450

National
- Annual mean salary: $34,990
- Employment: 55,740
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA ($62,520)
--- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI ($51,590)
--- Anchorage, AK ($45,980)
- Job description: Help plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters, or pipelayers by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
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Pixabay

#37. Helpers--electricians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $37,800
- #34 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 670

National
- Annual mean salary: $35,440
- Employment: 73,920
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Cedar Rapids, IA ($55,070)
--- New Orleans-Metairie, LA ($53,920)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($52,310)
- Job description: Help electricians by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
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#36. Helpers--carpenters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $38,180
- #30 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $35,360
- Employment: 30,900
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Salem, OR ($64,070)
--- New Bedford, MA ($45,720)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($44,900)
- Job description: Help carpenters by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.

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#35. Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $39,840
- #40 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $49,740
- Employment: 16,720
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($70,760)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($70,190)
--- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD ($69,690)
- Job description: Apply blocks, strips, or sheets of shock-absorbing, sound-deadening, or decorative coverings to floors.
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#34. Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators, surface mining

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $46,220
- #64 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

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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#33. Carpet installers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $47,150
- #32 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 890

National
- Annual mean salary: $46,150
- Employment: 23,020
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD ($70,920)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($66,990)
--- Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA ($65,110)
- Job description: Lay and install carpet from rolls or blocks on floors. Install padding and trim flooring materials.
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#32. Helpers--brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $48,210
- #9 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 130

National
- Annual mean salary: $40,190
- Employment: 21,410
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- St. Louis, MO-IL ($63,660)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($61,010)
--- Reno, NV ($54,490)
- Job description: Help brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, or tile and marble setters by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include using, supplying, or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
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#31. Pipelayers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $50,770
- #33 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

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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wandee007 // Shutterstock

#30. Earth drillers, except oil and gas; and explosives workers, ordnance handling experts, and blasters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $53,440
- #38 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,040
- Employment: 22,540
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Lafayette, LA ($98,100)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($69,160)
--- Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY ($69,090)
- Job description: Operate a variety of drills such as rotary, churn, and pneumatic to tap subsurface water and salt deposits, to remove core samples during mineral exploration or soil testing, and to facilitate the use of explosives in mining or construction. Includes horizontal and earth boring machine operators.
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Pixabay

#29. Hazardous materials removal workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $54,600
- #24 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 720

National
- Annual mean salary: $49,170
- Employment: 44,010
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Knoxville, TN ($79,260)
--- Salinas, CA ($72,170)
--- Kennewick-Richland, WA ($70,300)
- Job description: Identify, remove, pack, transport, or dispose of hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead-based paint, waste oil, fuel, transmission fluid, radioactive materials, or contaminated soil. Specialized training and certification in hazardous materials handling or a confined entry permit are generally required. May operate earth-moving equipment or trucks.
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#28. Drywall and ceiling tile installers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $55,050
- #38 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,090

National
- Annual mean salary: $51,930
- Employment: 99,700
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($90,640)
--- Bellingham, WA ($78,580)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($78,170)
- Job description: Apply plasterboard or other wallboard to ceilings or interior walls of buildings. Apply or mount acoustical tiles or blocks, strips, or sheets of shock-absorbing materials to ceilings and walls of buildings to reduce or reflect sound. Materials may be of decorative quality. Includes lathers who fasten wooden, metal, or rockboard lath to walls, ceilings, or partitions of buildings to provide support base for plaster, fireproofing, or acoustical material.
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Forestfolks // Flickr

#27. Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $55,920
- #10 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 750

National
- Annual mean salary: $43,930
- Employment: 29,880
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Joplin, MO ($71,930)
--- Stockton-Lodi, CA ($70,340)
--- Rochester, MN ($63,200)
- Job description: Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or drains. May patch walls and partitions of tank, replace damaged drain tile, or repair breaks in underground piping.
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mrak.hr // Shutterstock

#26. Rail-track laying and maintenance equipment operators

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $57,750
- #5 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 250

National
- Annual mean salary: $57,430
- Employment: 17,590
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($72,960)
--- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA ($70,660)
--- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ($68,630)
- Job description: Lay, repair, and maintain track for standard or narrow-gauge railroad equipment used in regular railroad service or in plant yards, quarries, sand and gravel pits, and mines. Includes ballast cleaning machine operators and railroad bed tamping machine operators.

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Carl Mydans // Library of Congress

#25. Tile and stone setters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $58,230
- #17 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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Philip Lange // Shutterstock

#24. Highway maintenance workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $59,410
- #13 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,600

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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Pixabay

#23. Roofers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $60,070
- #18 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,640

National
- Annual mean salary: $47,010
- Employment: 128,680
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Worcester, MA-CT ($82,700)
--- Santa Rosa, CA ($71,520)
--- Trenton, NJ ($71,260)
- Job description: Cover roofs of structures with shingles, slate, asphalt, aluminum, wood, or related materials. May spray roofs, sidings, and walls with material to bind, seal, insulate, or soundproof sections of structures.
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Canva

#22. Painters, construction and maintenance

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $60,620
- #8 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 6,540

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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Vera Larina // Shutterstock

#21. Sheet metal workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $62,400
- #51 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,910

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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#20. Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $63,070
- #10 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,760

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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#19. Glaziers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $66,050
- #15 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 720

National
- Annual mean salary: $50,970
- Employment: 52,190
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Olympia-Tumwater, WA ($89,250)
--- Salem, OR ($85,640)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($81,240)
- Job description: Install glass in windows, skylights, store fronts, and display cases, or on surfaces, such as building fronts, interior walls, ceilings, and tabletops.
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Pixabay

#18. Construction laborers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $66,670
- #1 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 23,860

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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Kzenon // Shutterstock

#17. Stonemasons

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $66,710
- #1 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $48,290
- Employment: 11,830
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($66,710)
--- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD ($66,480)
--- Stockton-Lodi, CA ($64,300)
- Job description: Build stone structures, such as piers, walls, and abutments. Lay walks, curbstones, or special types of masonry for vats, tanks, and floors.
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#16. Fence erectors

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $68,570
- #3 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $40,120
- Employment: 27,010
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Bakersfield, CA ($75,170)
--- Columbus, OH ($72,360)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($68,570)
- Job description: Erect and repair fences and fence gates, using hand and power tools.

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#15. Plasterers and stucco masons

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $68,740
- #9 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

National
- Annual mean salary: $52,100
- Employment: 25,210
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($90,070)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($81,540)
--- Barnstable Town, MA ($80,800)
- Job description: Apply interior or exterior plaster, cement, stucco, or similar materials. May also set ornamental plaster.
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Canva

#14. Cement masons and concrete finishers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $71,300
- #7 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 4,550

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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Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

#13. Carpenters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $72,270
- #9 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 20,140

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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Canva

#12. Construction and building inspectors

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $76,750
- #25 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,490

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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Nagy-Bagoly Arpad // Shutterstock

#11. Insulation workers, floor, ceiling, and wall

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $79,670
- #2 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,190

National
- Annual mean salary: $46,860
- Employment: 32,780
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($89,190)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($79,670)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($71,130)
- Job description: Line and cover structures with insulating materials. May work with batt, roll, or blown insulation materials.

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Bannafarsai_Stock // Shutterstock

#10. Terrazzo workers and finishers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $83,220
- #2 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 150

National
- Annual mean salary: $56,440
- Employment: 2,970
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($89,220)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($83,220)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($75,600)
- Job description: Apply a mixture of cement, sand, pigment, or marble chips to floors, stairways, and cabinet fixtures to fashion durable and decorative surfaces.
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Unsplash

#9. Structural iron and steel workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $83,900
- #5 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,190

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,650
- Employment: 71,490
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Trenton, NJ ($91,360)
--- Rockford, IL ($90,160)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($89,740)
- Job description: Raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks. May erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.
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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#8. Electricians

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $84,230
- #8 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 18,150

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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John Leung // Shutterstock

#7. Brickmasons and blockmasons

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $84,350
- #6 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 2,460

National
- Annual mean salary: $58,420
- Employment: 59,940
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Duluth, MN-WI ($90,610)
--- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA ($90,290)
--- Pittsfield, MA ($90,070)
- Job description: Lay and bind building materials, such as brick, structural tile, concrete block, cinder block, glass block, and terra-cotta block, with mortar and other substances, to construct or repair walls, partitions, arches, sewers, and other structures.
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Canva

#6. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $86,030
- #10 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 7,680

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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Canva

#5. Tapers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $86,080
- #2 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 650

National
- Annual mean salary: $62,140
- Employment: 16,320
- Entry level education requirements: No formal educational credential
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI ($92,500)
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($86,080)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($83,860)
- Job description: Seal joints between plasterboard or other wallboard to prepare wall surface for painting or papering.
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sculpies // Shutterstock

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

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $88,490
- #17 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 8,680

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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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#3. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $91,940
- #4 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 12,560

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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Canva

#2. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $97,130
- #10 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 610

National
- Annual mean salary: $86,200
- Employment: 24,730
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH ($109,710)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($105,080)
--- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ($101,990)
- Job description: Assemble, install, repair, or maintain electric or hydraulic freight or passenger elevators, escalators, or dumbwaiters.
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Onk-Q // Shutterstock

#1. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Annual mean salary: $108,740
- #1 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 570

National
- Annual mean salary: $54,700
- Employment: 18,680
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI ($108,740)
--- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ($83,410)
--- Urban Honolulu, HI ($76,310)
- Job description: Position and secure steel bars or mesh in concrete forms in order to reinforce concrete. Use a variety of fasteners, rod-bending machines, blowtorches, and hand tools. Includes rod busters.

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