California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers in San Diego County

May also be called: Construction Foremen; Construction Supervisors; First-Line Construction Supervisors; Foremen

What Would I Do?

First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers directly supervise and coordinate the activities of construction workers who build structures or remove raw materials from the ground. Construction Supervisors, also known as foremen, are journey-level experts in trades such as carpentry, painting, and plumbing. They plan out construction sites and assign workers to specific jobs.

Supervisors monitor project costs by ensuring the efficient use of materials and machines by their crews. Construction Trades Supervisors document materials used and the progress made on a construction job. Then, they meet with the superintendent or contractors to provide production updates.

In smaller companies, Construction Trades Supervisors function as both Supervisors and Managers, performing accounting, marketing, and personnel work. In some cases, Construction Supervisors work alongside their crew members, engaging in the same construction trade work as the people they supervise. They also interpret design plans for trades workers and inspect their work.

Construction Supervisors train employees, provide employee evaluations, and enforce safety regulations. When employee complaints arise on union job sites, Supervisors may need to meet with union representatives to resolve issues according to union contracts.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Examine and inspect work progress, equipment, and construction sites to verify safety and to ensure that specifications are met.Critical Thinking
Read specifications such as blueprints to determine construction requirements and to plan procedures.Judgment and Decision Making
Estimate material and worker requirements to complete jobs.Building and Construction
Confer with managerial and technical personnel, other departments, and contractors in order to resolve problems and to coordinate activities.Problem Sensitivity
Coordinate work activities with other construction project activities.Coordination
Order or requisition materials and supplies.Management of Material Resources
Locate, measure, and mark site locations and placement of structures and equipment, using measuring and marking equipment.Equipment Selection
Record information such as personnel, production, and operational data on specified forms and reports.Monitoring
Assign work to employees, based on material and worker requirements of specific jobs.Complex Problem Solving
Train workers in construction methods, operation of equipment, safety procedures, and company policies.Instructing
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Construction Supervisors work outdoors in all types of weather conditions. At construction sites, they may be exposed to potentially dangerous equipment, hazardous debris, heavy falling objects, and uncomfortably high noise levels. However, the risk of injury is reduced by wearing safety gear, such as hardhats and safety glasses.

Most Construction Trades Supervisors work a 40-hour week, but during peak periods they may work overtime, as well as weekends and holidays. Most Construction Supervisors work at only one site at a time, but some may also have responsibilities at multiple sites. They are often at work before other workers arrive and after they leave. Also, Construction Supervisors may be on call in case of emergencies.

Many Construction Trades Supervisors belong to a trade union pertaining to their specialty field such as the United Brotherhood of Carpenters or the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Construction Supervisor will appeal to those who enjoy starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business issues.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages for Construction Trades Supervisors in California differ widely depending on job duties and responsibilities, work experience, type of industry, and location of the work. Supervisors in large cities usually earn higher wages than those who work in smaller towns and rural areas.


The median wage in 2016 for Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors in California is $75,610 annually, or $36.35 hourly. The median wage for Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors in San Diego County is $78,283 annually, or $37.64 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
San Diego County$59,876$78,283$95,521
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Benefit packages vary widely from company to company. Construction Trades Supervisors generally receive health insurance, vacation, holidays, and pension plans. The type of benefit package is determined by company policy or union contract. Self-employed Construction Supervisors need to purchase their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

Demand is expected to grow for Construction Trades Supervisors. In addition to the increase in new jobs, job openings will also result from the need to replace workers who retire, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force altogether.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors are expected to increase by 24.1 percent, or 12,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

In San Diego County, the number of Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors is expected to grow much faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors are expected to increase by 40.3 percent, or 1,960 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Additional Openings
Due to Net
San Diego County
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 1,200 new job openings per year is expected for Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors, plus an additional 390 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,590 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 196 new job openings per year is expected for Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors, plus an additional 52 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 248 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
San Diego County
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Many employers prefer to hire applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Completion of a formal apprenticeship or construction vocational program is the typical entrance path into this occupation. In addition, Construction Trades Supervisors must have a few years of work experience in the construction trades, such as carpentry or plumbing.


The amount and type of work experience varies from company to company. However, Construction Supervisors must be journey-level workers who have completed an apprenticeship program in a construction trade. Workers from these positions are often drawn from the ranks of trades workers who have extensive experience in the construction industry.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in business management, engineering, English, mathematics, drafting, blueprint reading, woodworking and metal shop are helpful for students interested in construction supervisory occupations.

Apprenticeship and Work Study Programs

Training programs for Construction Trades Supervisors are also available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). Program titles include Building Construction, Business Management, Carpentry, Construction Management and Technology, Contractor License Preparation, Industrial Construction, and Masonry Occupations. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.
Construction Supervisors are experienced workers who have completed an apprenticeship program in a construction trade. Journey-level leadership advancement classes are offered to develop Construction Supervisors. However, most Supervisors are trained on the job.

Generally, formal apprenticeship programs require applicants to be at least 18 years of age, or 17 years old with written parental consent. Also, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Candidates must be able to read, write, and speak the English language in order to understand instructions on the job and successfully complete job-related training classes. Also, apprentices must be in good health and physically able to perform all phases of the work including lifting heavy materials in all types of weather. For more information on apprenticeship programs currently available, visit the State of California's Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Apprenticeship Standards Web site.

Licensing and Certification

Construction Trades Supervisors working as employees, work under the license of the employer-contractor. Self-employed Construction Supervisors must obtain a specialty contractor's license in their field of expertise, such as framing and rough carpentry, plumbing, or roofing. These licenses are issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Contractors State License Board. Specialty contractor’s licenses are active for two years. Licenses may be renewed for a two-year period. Refer to “Other Sources” for additional information. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.

Certification is not required by law. However, voluntary certification is becoming increasingly important in the construction industry. A number of organizations offer constructor certifications that will enhance employment and advancement opportunities. For example, candidates with construction management experience can receive certification from the American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America after they pass a required written examination. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Many Construction Trades Supervisors are self-employed nationwide. The largest industries employing Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Nonresidential Building Construction 15.0%
Building Equipment Contractors 13.0%
Residential Building Construction 12.6%
Building Foundation/Exterior Contractors 7.7%
Utility System Construction 6.0%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers, such as construction companies or local contractors, remains one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers, trade publications, and Internet job listings. Public sector openings are listed on the personnel department Web sites of cities and counties. Union members search for work by registering with their local hiring hall. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors.

  • Building Contractors
  • Building Framing Specialists
  • Construction Consultants
  • Construction Management
  • General Contractors
  • Home Builders

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Construction Supervisors increasingly need a degree in construction management or engineering to advance to project manager, operations manager, or general superintendent. Some may enter self-employment, becoming owners of their own construction contracting firms by obtaining a contractor's license through the California Contractors State License Board. Refer to “Other Sources.”

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Construction Trades and Extraction Supervisors with links to more information.

Civil Engineering TechniciansProfile
Construction and Building InspectorsGuide
Construction ManagersGuide
Cost EstimatorsProfile
Geological and Petroleum TechniciansProfile
Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment OperatorsGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification47-1011
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers47-1011.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ERC
   Solar Energy Installation Managers47-1011.03
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)ERC
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Mason/Masonry 460101
   Carpentry/Carpenter 460201
   Electrical & Power Transmission Installation/Installer, Gene460301
   Electrician 460302
   Building/Home/Construction Inspection/Inspector 460403
   Drywall Installation/Drywaller 460404
   Glazier 460406
   Painting/Painter and Wall Coverer 460408
   Roofer 460410
   Building/Construction Site Management/Manager 460412
   Building Construction Technology 460415
   Plumbing Technology/Plumber 460503
   Construction Trades, Other 469999
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Electrical Systems and Power Transmission093440
   Construction Crafts Technology095200
   Plumbing, Pipefitting and Steamfitting095230
   Masonry, Tile, Cement, Lath and Plaster095260
   Painting, Decorating, and Flooring095270
   Drywall and Insulation095280
   Civil and Construction Management Technology095700
   Construction Inspection095720
   Public Works210210