15 Highest Paid Specialty Contractors In California

The construction industry offers a wide variety of well-paying positions, from those requiring no experience to those requiring highly specialized artisanal abilities.

Specialty contractors are basically responsible for the completion of one specific job involved in the completion of a construction project.

The remuneration for specialty contractors varies significantly from location to location, even though they typically earn a good living. Their salaries differ depending on their skill set, years of experience, and the local labor market.

For instance, hourly specialty contractors’ wages are higher on the West Coast (including Alaska and Hawaii), in certain regions of the Midwest, and in some Northeastern states. The median hourly wage in Hawaii and Illinois is above $34, while it’s around $30 in California. Meanwhile, construction wages in several Southern states might be as low as $18 per hour.

In this article, you will get to know who specialty contractors are and what differentiates them from general contractors and the highest-paid specialist contractors in California.

Who is a Specialty Contractor?

A specialty contractor is a tradesperson who focuses on one particular aspect of building or repair. A specialty contractor’s license is typically needed for these individuals to provide their services to the public and advertise themselves as experts in their industry. To get the most out of a project’s budget or the job at hand, it’s usual practice to hire specialized contractors.

Specialty contractors can be held accountable for the upkeep and repair of everything they build. The reason is that specialty contractors have the proper licensing to carry out a specific task. To apply for a Specialty contractor’s license to practice as a specialty contractor, they must demonstrate expertise in the field to which they apply. They can accomplish this through education, references, or a combination of the two. There are many contractor licenses, some of which require you to complete specialized state trade tests.

Specialty contractors are frequently self-employed independent contractors due to the specialized nature of their work. They are available for hire individually or as part of a larger group depending on the client’s needs and the construction project’s particulars.

Related – 15 Highest Paid Trade Jobs In California | 2022 

What is the Difference Between a General Contractor and a Specialty contractor?

Differentiating between general contractors and specialty contractors is crucial. Although they are both contributors to the success of a construction project, they each have different roles. 

Specialty contractors focus on completing a specific element of a construction project, while general contractors are responsible for a job’s overall progress and completion. On the other hand, a general contractor can be “self-performing” if they have the required Specialty contractors’ licenses to handle the installation; otherwise, a specialist must be brought in.

Depending on the project‘s specifics, a wide range of activities may be appropriate for employing specialty contractors. It is standard practice, for instance, for the general contractor (GC) or project owner (owner) to hire a specialty contractor with dual licenses to help with electric and heating or cooling installation rather than hiring two separate specialized contractors.

15 Highest Paid Specialty Contractors in California

All occupations on this list require a high school diploma or equivalent. No occupations require a college diploma except for construction and building inspection, where you must complete an apprenticeship program to work in any field.

Below are the 15 highest-paid specialty contractors in California:

  • Elevator installer and repairers
  • Boilermaker
  • Construction manager
  • Construction inspectors
  • Carpenters
  • Masons
  • Plumber
  • Terrazzo workers
  • Construction equal operators
  • Electrician
  • Tapers
  • Roofers
  • Ironworker
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Painters

#1 Elevator Installer and Repairers

Elevator installers and repairers top the list of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California with an annual earning of $66,043.

Their work goes beyond merely installing, repairing, and performing basic maintenance on Elevators; they work on chair lifts, moving walkways, and escalators. Elevator installers and repairers are also accountable for ensuring the apparatus is risk-free, in good functioning order, and complies with the regulations.

A license is necessary to work as an elevator installer or repair technician in several states.

#2 Boilermakers

Boilermakers typically earn about $59,956/year and are ranked among the highest-paid specialty contractors in California.

Boilermakers are primarily responsible for the installation and repair of boilers, vats, and other large containers that carry liquid or gas. They run diagnostics on the machinery to check that everything is operating as it should, clean the equipment, and then repair and replace faulty components.

#3 Construction Managers

Construction managers are in charge of most parts of a job, such as planning, designing, and putting things together. They earn about $58,358 annually and are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California.

Workers in this area set attainable completion targets for jobs and ensure that projects stay within budget limitations. Managers also assign tasks and supervise other workers, such as electricians, plumbers, and general laborers.

Companies typically look for construction managers with at least a bachelor’s degree.

#4 Construction Inspectors

Construction inspectors are responsible for ensuring that completed projects adhere to all applicable government codes, local laws, and the instructions provided by the contractor. They earn about $57,750 annually and are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California.

The job of the construction inspector is to approve plans that follow the rules and to stop work when buildings don’t meet the rules. People in this job check all building parts, such as the structure, plumbing, and electricity.

This job is not for someone who is just starting. Usually, you need to have worked in a related field for a few years. But if you’ve worked in the field for a while, it could be a good chance to make more money.

You may like to know the 10 Best Google Project Management Free Tools In 2022.

#5 Carpenters

Carpenters are one of California’s most popular highest-paid specialty contractors and a global specialty contractor. They earn about $56,386 annually.

They are essential in the construction of various structures, including residential and commercial properties, bridges, and other types of buildings. Between 2019 and 2029, it is presently projected that career opportunities for carpenters will not change much.

Carpenters work in many different kinds of construction settings. Indoors, they might hang cabinets and put handles on them. Outside, they might construct scaffolding around buildings before working on the roof.

 #6 Masons

Masons typically earn about $55,077/year and are ranked among the highest-paid specialty contractors in California.

Masonry workers are responsible for completing activities that involve working with concrete, brick, and stone. Masons are responsible for the construction of floors, walls, sidewalks, and curbs, and they do this by mixing and pouring concrete. Masons need to be able to read blueprints to guarantee that the job they do will satisfy the specifications outlined by the contractor.

Masonry workers are frequently and primarily responsible for the “appearance” of a structure once it has been completed. They are considered one the highest-paid specialty contractors in California.

You may like to know the 20 Highest Paid Blue Collar Jobs.

#7 Plumber

Plumbers are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California and across the USA, with about $50,480 annual pay. They are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the water, gas, and other material conveyance systems in homes and commercial buildings. Plumbers also perform drain cleaning to avoid clogs and other problems.

You only need high school graduation to become a plumber, but the majority of states require that you have professional certification as well. It is a global specialty contractor.

#8 Terrazzo Workers

Terrazzo workers earn an annual pay of $48,690 and are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California. They use colored concrete and small pieces of marble, glass, granite, or quartz to make special surfaces and finishes inside and outside buildings and on the grounds. They seal, cure, and polish the concrete until it is smooth. The projects can be outside, like patios or walkways, or inside, like floors or countertops. Because concrete sets so quickly, people who work in terrazzo must work quickly and carefully.

#9 Construction Equipment Operators

Construction equipment operators earn about $47,747 annually and are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California.

They basically run heavy machinery that is used in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, or other structures. Their responsibilities vary depending on the equipment and projects they work on. At a construction site, an equipment operator typically utilizes heavy gear to move, excavate, extract, or dig up dirt and manage or hoist construction supplies.

Operators have erratic schedules and frequently operate at night. The predicted job growth rate is 4%, which is average for all occupations.

#10 Electrician

Electricians take care of, fix, and set up electricity systems and earn about $46,805/year. Their exact job responsibilities depend on their company, industry, and location. As an electrician, your general duties may include rewiring or installing wiring and equipment, checking electrical service panels or fuse boxes for safety issues, and finding the cause of power outages.

Most states require you to get an electrician license. These are the first steps to a successful career, along with getting electrician insurance.

#11 Tapers

Tapers are one of the least popular highest-paid specialty contractors in California with $42,340 annual earnings. When it comes to the process of completing the interior walls of a building before painting or wallpapering them, tapers play a unique and important role. Even though working as a taper full-time is not extremely popular, people with the necessary skills and an adequate supply of labor can make a good living at it.

#12 Roofers

Roofers have an estimated annual earning of $40,928 and are among the highest-paid specialty contractors in California. Roofers use both hand tools and various types of machinery to create and repair roofs (e.g., scaffolds). They ensure that roofs are steady and waterproof in any environment. In addition to that, they build vapor barriers and insulation systems.

#13 Ironworker

On your quest to find out about the highest-paid specialty contractors in California, you will find ironworkers whose estimated earnings are about $38,049/year. These specialty contractors are a big reason why we can build tall buildings. Without them, skyscrapers would not be possible. It’s another dangerous job that involves lifting heavy metal beams and working up high.

Ironworkers are responsible for installing iron and steel components into newly constructed buildings, roads, bridges, and other types of infrastructure. They also add strength to buildings that are already there and help tear down older ones.

#14 Sheet Metal Workers

Sheet metal workers are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California with a $35,829 annual earning. They are also used in a wide number of other fields, including the installation of ducts, roofing, and siding. Sheet metal workers typically have fabrication abilities, which allow them to create a building’s components before installing them in the structure.

They are in charge of selecting the appropriate kind of sheet to make use of, taking into consideration the specifications of any individual task. They work on a variety of different projects, such as heating and cooling ducts, outside pipes, gutters, and flashing.

#15 Painters

Painters are another important trade that can be found on most construction sites. They are global specialty contractors because of the diversity of their work which involves making homes, offices, bridges, and other buildings look nice. They earn about $33,644 per year.

Painters cover walls and ceilings with paint, stain, and other coatings. Even though their jobs are pretty clear, they need to be accurate and quick at what they do. They work inside buildings and outside on bridges and other structures.

Because of their popularity and necessity, they are one of the highest-paid specialty contractors in California and across the world.


Are Specialty Contractors Responsible for Poor Work?

Yes. Specialty contractors face a large number of lawsuits every year for negligence-related injuries and property damage.

Do I Require Legal Counsel if I Have Legal Concerns Relating to a Specialty Contractor?

Yes, a lawyer can help you determine your legal alternatives for recouping losses and, if necessary, represent you in court.

What Are Some Ways Specialty Contractors Use Their Skills?

Specialty contractors focus on installing different systems, but they can also handle upkeep, fixes, and improvements. The majority of state and municipal company regulations classify any type of work that needs a license to be done as a specialist contractor job.

What is the salary like at Industrial Specialty Contractors?

Pay is significantly higher for experienced workers and managers.

How can one get an interview with Western Specialty Contractors?

The most common ways are through “placement on campus and “recommendation by an employer.”

 Final words

Since businesses frequently pay more to have employees trained to handle hazardous chemicals, run cutting-edge equipment, maintain workplace safety, lead a team, and other things, the construction industry also offers many opportunities for professional advancement as a specialized contractor. You might be able to pick up a skill while working in construction.


  • NextInsurance – Highest paying construction jobs working as an independent contractor
  • Procure.com – 10 Highest-Paying Construction Jobs for Specialty Contractors 
  • Ziprecruiter – Construction Worker Salary in California – ZipRecruiter
  • Esub. com – What Makes a Specialty Contractor So Special?


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