Highest-paying construction jobs in Detroit

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

Highest-paying construction jobs in Detroit

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 Detroit 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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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

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

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $28,900
- #131 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 300

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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Canva

#29. Fence erectors

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $36,760
- #33 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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Pixabay

#28. Helpers--electricians

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $38,020
- #33 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

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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Canva

#27. Carpet installers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $42,080
- #42 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 550

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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Forestfolks // Flickr

#26. Septic tank servicers and sewer pipe cleaners

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $42,100
- #72 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 440

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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Pixabay

#25. Construction laborers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $43,040
- #123 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 10,370

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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#24. Paving, surfacing, and tamping equipment operators

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $43,690
- #59 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: data not available

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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Philip Lange // Shutterstock

#23. Highway maintenance workers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $44,660
- #131 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 910

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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#22. Painters, construction and maintenance

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $46,750
- #91 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,520

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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#21. Glaziers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $48,420
- #65 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 520

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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#20. Drywall and ceiling tile installers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $48,830
- #62 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 610

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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#19. Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators, surface mining

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $50,620
- #44 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 300

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

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $51,170
- #19 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 350

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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Canva

#17. Construction and building inspectors

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $51,230
- #246 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,570

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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Pixabay

#16. Hazardous materials removal workers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $52,590
- #29 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 190

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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Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

#15. Carpenters

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $53,210
- #94 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 6,890

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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Vera Larina // Shutterstock

#14. Sheet metal workers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $53,940
- #116 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,480

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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Canva

#13. Cement masons and concrete finishers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $54,310
- #70 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,680

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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wandee007 // Shutterstock

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

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $54,600
- #32 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

#11. Roofers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $55,570
- #42 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,230

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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#10. Pipelayers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $59,200
- #20 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 50

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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John Leung // Shutterstock

#9. Brickmasons and blockmasons

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $59,340
- #61 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 1,500

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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Carl Mydans // Library of Congress

#8. Tile and stone setters

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $61,210
- #9 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

#7. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $62,630
- #86 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 3,240

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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#6. Tapers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $63,890
- #19 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 80

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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Unsplash

#5. Structural iron and steel workers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $64,530
- #42 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 640

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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Andrey_Popov // Shutterstock

#4. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $69,130
- #48 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 5,100

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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Hulton Archive // Getty Images

#3. Electricians

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $69,220
- #54 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 9,790

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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sculpies // Shutterstock

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

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $79,200
- #53 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 5,700

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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Canva

#1. Boilermakers

Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Annual mean salary: $80,540
- #4 highest pay among all metros
- Employment: 350

National
- Annual mean salary: $67,430
- Employment: 14,020
- Entry level education requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
- Metros with highest average pay:
--- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA ($103,050)
--- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD ($87,180)
--- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA ($87,050)
- Job description: Construct, assemble, maintain, and repair stationary steam boilers and boiler house auxiliaries. Align structures or plate sections to assemble boiler frame tanks or vats, following blueprints. Work involves use of hand and power tools, plumb bobs, levels, wedges, dogs, or turnbuckles. Assist in testing assembled vessels. Direct cleaning of boilers and boiler furnaces. Inspect and repair boiler fittings, such as safety valves, regulators, automatic-control mechanisms, water columns, and auxiliary machines.

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