Skilled Trades Careers

3 Steps to Choosing Career Paths in Skilled Trades

DateMarch 15, 2024
how to choose a skilled trade career

Skilled trades are often overlooked as a viable and rewarding career option. They offer numerous advantages and opportunities for anyone looking for a fulfilling profession. To help you navigate through the plethora of choices, here are three steps to choosing a career path in skilled trades.

To choose the best skilled trade career for you, you'll need to identify your interests and passions, assess your skills and preferences, and research your options.

You can use SkillHero's database of information and resources to learn more about trades in your area to determine which align best with your interests and have the best earning potential for you. Sign up for a free SkillHero account to help discover your potential in the trades.

What are skilled trades?

Skilled trades refer to a wide range of occupations that require specialized knowledge and expertise in a particular field or craft. These trades typically involve hands-on work and often require technical training or apprenticeships. Examples of skilled trades include electricians, plumbers, carpenters, HVAC technicians, welders, and automotive technicians.

Skilled trades are foundational for multiple industries and sectors, including construction, manufacturing, transportation, and maintenance. These dedicated workers play a crucial role in building, repairing, and maintaining our homes, buildings, infrastructure, and vehicles.

Step 1: Determine which trade is right for you

When considering a trade occupation, it's important to take into account your abilities, existing skills, and interests. By doing so, you can find a trade that aligns with your strengths and passions, leading to a fulfilling and successful career.

For example, if you have a knack for problem-solving and enjoy working with your hands, a trade in electrical or plumbing may be a great fit. These occupations require technical skills and attention to detail.

On the other hand, if you have a creative flair and enjoy working with different materials, a trade in carpentry or welding may be more suitable. These trades require precision and craftsmanship.

On the SkillHero app you can browse between various trades to learn more about them and their trade paths, and even connect with experienced industry professionals to benefit from their advice.

Step 2: Understand which trades are most sustainably in demand

The best trade for a successful career depends on your unique skills, goals, and values. Whether you excel in manual labor, problem solving, mathematics, or other types of work, you can probably find a skilled trade which will be enjoyable and lucrative if you put in the work.

That said, there will always be some trades which are more in demand than others, and those that are likely to be less necessary in the future due to advancing technology. These are important factors to consider for a long-term career.

Easiest trades to get into

Trades such as carpentry, painting, and locksmithing tend to require less education and shorter apprenticeship programs. These trades are by no means "easy", however they tend to require less initial education before you can become a significant asset to the team.

That said, a longer apprenticeship program is not necessarily a bad thing because even apprentice electricians earn significantly more than most entry-level jobs, and once the apprenticeship is complete you have a rare, in-demand skill that comes with a high pay rate.

In other words, the "easiest" trades depend on what you consider difficult. If you want to avoid manual labor, being a CNC programmer would make sense. But if you like manual labor and dislike solving complex problems, being a drywall installer might be a better path for you.

Most in demand trades

Skilled trades are in high demand, offering excellent career opportunities for people looking to excel in the professional world. While the vast majority of trades are experiencing a surge in demand, here are a few that stand out among the rest.

Machinists, pipefitters and pipelayers, and quality assurance technicians are currently leading the pack when it comes to growth in opportunities.

Machinists play a crucial role in manufacturing, using their expertise to create precision parts and components. As industries continue to advance, the demand for skilled machinists is steadily increasing.

Pipefitting and pipelaying are vital in constructing and maintaining infrastructure, including buildings, pipelines, and oil refineries. The demand for skilled workers in these trades is soaring due to expanding construction projects.

Quality assurance technicians are crucial in ensuring that products and services meet industry standards. As companies prioritize quality and customer satisfaction, the need for these skilled professionals continues to rise.

Regardless of the specific trade you choose, SkillHero is here to connect you with the right opportunities, training, and resources. Sign up for a free SkillHero account to get started.

Highest paying trades

In the world of skilled trades, most career paths offer above average salaries once you reach journeyman status. But if you're looking to get into one of the highest paying skilled trades, consider becoming an elevator/escalator technician, an ironworker, or a lineworker.

Elevator and escalator technicians are in high demand due to the increasing number of buildings with elevators and escalators. These skilled workers are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining vertical transportation systems. With their specialized skills, elevator and escalator technicians can earn some of the highest wages in the trade industry.

Ironworkers work with steel and iron to construct buildings, bridges, and other structures. They are involved in the fabrication, erection, and installation of structural steel components. Ironworkers often work at great heights and in challenging environments. However, their hard work pays off as they enjoy excellent wages and benefits.

Lineworkers play a crucial role in the electrical power industry. They are responsible for installing and maintaining power lines and ensuring reliable electricity supply. Due to the critical nature of their work, lineworkers receive competitive salaries, especially as they progress to a master level.

These trades not only offer rewarding career paths but also some of the highest wages in the industry. Skilled tradespeople who reach master status in these trades can earn over $100,000 annually.

Step 3: Getting started with SkillHero’s CareerExplorer

The SkillHero app’s CareerExplorer is an easy to use, regularly updated source of everything you need to know about skilled trades in America. You’ll find everything from required skills to data on projected salaries and industry growth.

Once you choose a trade, SkillHero’s Opportunities and Connections tabs will help you find apprenticeship opportunities, training programs, and industry professionals to connect with.

SkillHero is designed to be the ultimate tool for anyone looking to thrive in their trade. Join the app to help blaze your path into a skilled trade career!