Construction Occupations

Each job description is preceded by an indication of which branches of the service the job is available in, as not all branches of the service offer the same careers. For additional information beyond what we offer here, you can also visit: careersinthemilitary.com and todaysmilitary.com/careers.

Building Electricians

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

The military relies on electricity to light hospitals, run power tools, operate computers, and much more. Building electricians install and repair electrical wiring systems in offices, repair shops, airplane hangars, and other buildings on military bases.

What They Do

Building electricians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Install and wire transformers, junction boxes, and circuit breakers, using wire cutters, insulation strippers, and other hand tools
  • Read blueprints, wiring plans, and repair orders to determine wiring layouts or repair needs
  • Cut, bend, and string wires and conduits (pipe or tubing)
  • Inspect power distribution systems, shorts in wires, and faulty equipment using test meters
  • Repair and replace faulty wiring and lighting fixtures
  • Install lightning rods to protect electrical systems

Where They Work

Building electricians usually work indoors while installing wiring systems. They work outdoors while installing transformers and lightning rods.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian building electricians usually work for building and electrical contracting firms. Some work as self-employed electrical contractors. They perform duties similar to those of military building electricians.

Physical Requirements

Normal color vision is required for working with color-coded wiring and circuits.

Construction Equipment Operators

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Each year the military completes hundreds of construction projects. Tons of earth and building materials must be moved to build airfields, roads, dams, and buildings. Construction equipment operators use bulldozers, cranes, graders, and other heavy equipment in military construction.

What They Do

Construction equipment operators in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Drive bulldozers, road-graders, and other heavy equipment to cut and level earth for runways and roadbeds
  • Lift and move steel and other heavy building materials using winches, cranes, and hoists
  • Dig holes and trenches using power shovels
  • Remove ice and snow from runways, roads, and other areas using scrapers and snow blowers
  • Operate mixing plants to make concrete and asphalt
  • Spread asphalt and concrete with paving machines
  • Drill wells using drilling rigs
  • Place and detonate explosives

Where They Work

Construction equipment operators work outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions. They often sit for long periods and are subject to loud noise and vibrations. They may work indoors while repairing equipment.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian construction equipment operators work for building contractors, state highway agencies, rock quarries, well drillers, and construction firms. Civilian construction equipment operators may also be known as operating engineers, heavy equipment operators, well drillers, or riggers.

Physical Requirements

Some specialties require normal hearing, color vision, and heavy lifting.

Construction Specialists

Army
Navy
Air Force
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

The military builds many temporary and permanent structures each year. Lumber, plywood, plasterboard, and concrete and masonry (bricks, stone, and concrete blocks) are the basic building materials for many of these projects. Construction specialists build and repair buildings, bridges, foundations, dams, and bunkers. They work with engineers and other building specialists as part of military construction teams.

What They Do

Construction specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Build foundations, floor slabs, and walls with brick, cement block, mortar, or stone
  • Erect wood framing for buildings using hand and power tools, such as hammers, saws, levels, and drills
  • Lay roofing materials, such as asphalt, tile, and wooden shingles
  • Install plasterboard, plaster, and paneling to form interior walls and ceilings
  • Lay wood and ceramic tile floors and build steps, staircases, and porches
  • Build temporary shelters for storing supplies and equipment while on training maneuvers

Where They Work

Construction specialists work indoors and outdoors on construction sites.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian construction specialists usually work for construction or remodeling contractors, government agencies, utility companies, or manufacturing firms. They perform duties similar to those of military
construction specialists. They may also be called bricklayers, stonemasons, cement masons, cement finishers, carpenters, or cabinetmakers.

Physical Requirements

Construction specialists may have to lift and carry heavy building materials, such as lumber, plasterboard, and concrete. Sometimes, they climb and work from ladders and scaffolding.

Plumbers and Pipe Fitters

Army
Navy
Marine Corps
Coast Guard

Military buildings and equipment require pipe systems for water, steam, gas, and waste. Pipe systems are also needed on aircraft, missiles, and ships for hydraulic (fluid pressure) and pneumatic (air pressure) systems. Plumbers and pipe fitters install and repair plumbing and pipe systems.

What They Do

Plumbers and pipe fitters in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Plan layouts of pipe systems using blueprints and drawings
  • Bend, cut, and thread pipes made of lead, copper, and plastic
  • Install connectors, fittings, and joints
  • Solder or braze pipe and tubing to join them
  • Install sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures
  • Troubleshoot, test, and calibrate hydraulic and pneumatic systems
  • Keep accurate records of tasks completed and materials used

Where They Work

Plumbers and pipe fitters work both indoors and outdoors on land and aboard ships.

Opportunities in Civilian Life

Civilian plumbers and pipe fitters usually work for mechanical or plumbing contractors or as self-employed contractors. Some plumbers and pipe fitters work for public utilities. Civilian plumbers and pipe fitters perform duties similar to those performed in the military.

Physical Requirements

Plumbers and pipe fitters have to lift and carry heavy pipes and tubes.