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Laborer Apprentice

What Will I Learn?

The Associate in Applied Science Degree, Laborer Apprentice, and the Laborer Apprentice certificate prepare the student for a variety of entry-level positions in the construction trades culminating with students earning their Journeyman status.

The Illinois Laborers' & Contractors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program was established in 1997 to offer an apprenticeship program to qualified men and women who are interested in a career as a construction craft laborer. The program is a four year apprenticeship that includes the following classes:

  • Craft Orientation & Safety
  • Practices & Procedures of Mason Tending
  • Asphalt Technology & Constructions
  • Concrete Specialist
  • Asbestos Abatement
  • Principals of Pipelaying
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Concrete Specialist
  • Grade Checking
  • Labs/AGC Hazardous Waste Worker Course
  • Concrete Specialist
  • Bridge Construction, Renovation, & Demolition
  • Landscaping
  • Concrete Specialist

Construction laborers can be found on almost all construction sites performing a wide range of tasks from the very easy to the potentially hazardous. While most construction laborers specialize in a type of construction, such as highway or tunnel construction, some are generalists who perform many different tasks during all stages of construction. Construction laborers, who work in underground construction, such as in tunnels, or in demolition are more likely to specialize in only those areas.

Construction laborers operate a variety of equipment including pavement breakers; jackhammers; earth tampers; concrete, mortar, and plaster mixers; electric and hydraulic boring machines; torches; small mechanical hoists; laser beam equipment; and surveying and measuring equipment. They may use computers and other high-tech input devices to control robotic pipe cutters and cleaners. To perform their jobs effectively, construction laborers must be familiar with the duties of other craftworkers and with the materials, tools, and machinery they use.

Construction laborers often work as part of a team with other skilled craftworkers, jointly carrying out assigned construction tasks. At other times, construction laborers may work alone, reading and interpreting instructions, plans, and specifications with little or no supervision.

What Is The Occupational Outlook?

Employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average. In many areas, there will be competition for jobs, especially for those requiring limited skills. Laborers who have specialized skills or who can relocate near new construction projects should have the best opportunities. Employment of construction laborers is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2006 and 2016.1

Median hourly earnings of wage and salary construction laborers in May 2006 were $12.66. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.95 and $17.31. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.16, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.19. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest number of construction laborers were as follows: 1

Category Rate
Nonresidential building construction $13.62
Other specialty trade contractors $12.93
Residential building construction $12.82
Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors $12.41
Employment services $9.90

Apprentices are paid a progressively increasing schedule of wages consistent with skills and knowledge acquired.

What Are My Options?

This Laborer Apprentice Associate in Applied Science degree program and the Laborer Apprentice Program certificate are available only to students who have been admitted to The Illinois Laborers' & Contractors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program. The Laborer Apprentice Associate in Applied Science degree and certificate programs were established for the purpose of providing increased educational opportunities for laborer apprentices working towards their journeyman certification.

To become an apprentice applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must be a High School Graduate or G.E.D.
  • Must be 18 at the time of application
  • A reading, understanding, writing, & communicating ability as would enable the applicant to perform the tasks of the construction craft laborer in a safe manner and comprehend the subject matter taught in English only, in related instruction.
  • Must be physically able to perform the work of the trade.
  • Have a valid drivers license.
  • Submit to written aptitude test, and personal interview administered by program staff. These will be scheduled after our office receives all applications. All applicants will be notified by U.S. mail.
  • Drug testing shall be required at time of enrollment
  • $20.00 non-refundable administrative fee is required at the time of orientation and testing.

For additional information concerning the Laborer's Apprenticeship program, students should contact the Illinois Laborers' & Contractors Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program office at (217) 773-2741, or on the Web at www.illaborers.org


  1. Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), 2008-09 Edition http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos248.htm