Skilled Trades Careers

7 Reasons Why Skilled Trades Are Important Career Paths

DateOctober 16, 2023
why skilled trade careers are important

Do you find the prospect of a white-collar office job unfulfilling or unsustainable? It might be time to consider a different route. Skilled trades are not only important, they also offer stable career paths with high job security and above-average pay.

Skilled tradespeople keep our communities functioning smoothly. From fixing our homes and businesses to maintaining our infrastructure, skilled workers ensure that everything runs seamlessly. Without them, our roads would crumble, our plumbing systems would fail, and our electrical grids would be in chaos.

While other industries may be subject to technological advances or changing trends, the demand for skilled trade workers remains constant. These jobs cannot be outsourced overseas and are essential for our daily lives.

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What are skilled trades and why are they great career paths?

Skilled trades refer to occupations that require specialized training and expertise combined with hands-on work. These occupations typically feature a skill set which helps maintain the day-to-day functions of modern society. Here are a few examples of skilled trades:

  1. Carpenter: Constructs and repairs structures made of wood and other materials.
  2. Electrician: Installs and maintains electrical systems in homes, buildings, and other settings.
  3. Plumber: Installs and repairs water supply, drainage, and sewage systems.
  4. Welder: Joins metal parts together using heat and pressure.
  5. HVAC Technician: Installs and repairs heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

These are all strong career paths for several reasons. They provide stable employment and job security, as these skills are always in demand. They often offer competitive wages, allowing individuals to achieve financial stability and success. They even offer opportunities for career growth within an existing business or as an independent contractor.

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Which skilled trades pay the most?

While most tradespeople earn above the average salary among all US employees, some trades out-earn others by a significant margin. Here are some of the most lucrative paths:

average salary pay skilled trades

  1. Electrician: Electricians play a vital role in installing and maintaining electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Their expertise is in high demand and continues to grow. Most apprentice electricians earn over $35,000 annually, and many master electricians take home over $100,000 per year.
  2. HVAC Technician: HVAC technicians take care of our heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. With the ever-increasing need for climate control and energy efficiency, this field offers excellent long-term prospects. They have similar earning expectations to electric workers, with the average apprentice earning $34,320 per year and masters taking home over $100,000.
  3. Plumber: Plumbers are responsible for installing and repairing water supply, drainage, and sewage systems. Plumbers are absolutely essential to keep modern society functioning. While they have slightly less top-end earning potential with master plumbers earning an average annual wage just under $100,000, apprentices can expect to start with similar earnings to electrical and HVAC workers.
  4. Lineworker: Lineworkers combine electrical knowledge and skills with the physical fitness and fearlessness required to work on power lines and towers that may be hundreds of feet above ground. The difficult nature of their work has most apprentices earning more than $45,000 a year and masters taking home annual salaries over $110,000.

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Which skilled trades are most accessible?

When it comes to the accessibility of skilled trades, some options require significantly less education and certification than others. These can be great options for people who struggle with long-term education or who want to increase their wages as quickly as possible.

Some of the most accessible skilled trades include:

  1. Carpentry requires less formal education than most trades, especially if you plan to start by working on mostly smaller projects. In some wood shops you'll only need a basic understanding of woodworking and a strong work ethic to get an entry-level position.
  2. Welding is another trade that requires less education and more on-the-job training. If you can physically handle the tools, you only need a good understanding of safety protocols and welding basics to get started.
  3. Automotive technicians at the highest level have a massive amount of skill and experience, but as a beginner you can get started just by learning how to work on specific parts of specific types of vehicles. This makes finding adequate on-the-job training significantly easier.

6 benefits to having a career in the trades

While some benefits apply differently to different people, here are some of the most valued perks of working in a trade industry:

  1. High Demand: Skilled workers are in high demand, with job openings across many industries. From automotive technicians to carpenters, there is a constant need for qualified technicians and workers. By pursuing a trade career, individuals can enjoy stable employment and job security.
  2. Lucrative Wages: Skilled trades workers often earn competitive wages. Many positions offer an average wage that is on par with or higher than that of college graduates. With experience and specialization, tradespeople have the potential to earn a comfortable income and enjoy financial stability.
  3. Job Satisfaction: Skilled trades provide a sense of accomplishment and job satisfaction. Whether it's building structures, fixing machinery, or creating beautiful designs, tradespeople can take pride in their work and see tangible results.
  4. Hands-on Experience: Skilled trades offer practical, hands-on experience that allows individuals to develop their skills and expertise in a real-world setting. This type of training is highly valuable and provides a solid foundation for a successful career.
  5. Flexibility and Mobility: Skilled tradespeople often have the flexibility to choose where they work and the type of projects they undertake. With vocational training and experience, individuals can explore opportunities across different industries and enjoy mobility in their career.

Tradespeople are always in demand

As the workforce in skilled trades retires it creates a significant need for new workers to fill the gap. As experienced tradespeople retire, job openings are constantly arising, creating opportunities for aspiring trades workers.

Economic growth and immigration also play a crucial role in the demand for skilled trades workers. Industries like construction, manufacturing, and automotive rely heavily on tradespeople to support their growth and development. As populations expand and get richer, the call for new and well-maintained infrastructure increases.

Trade school is less expensive than college

Trade school is a cost-effective alternative to traditional four-year college degree programs. While college tuition costs continue to rise, trade school offers affordable options for students seeking practical skills and employment opportunities.

On average, trade school tuition, fees, and supplies are significantly lower compared to the cost of a college education.

Many financial aid and scholarship opportunities are specifically aimed to help aspiring trades workers. Some schools offer financial aid packages based on need and merit, making education more accessible for students from various backgrounds.

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High job security

Skilled workers play an essential role in the industries that keep our society moving, so their expertise is always in demand and employers are always hiring. Even if one company downsizes or fails, employees are likely to find opportunities more easily than the average office worker.

The stability and demand for skilled laborers are evident in the numerous job openings and career opportunities available. Commercial buildings need qualified technicians to install and maintain electrical systems, water systems, and HVAC systems. Construction projects require skilled carpenters, plumbers, and welders.

Above-average pay with growth opportunities

Skilled trade jobs offer above-average pay and lucrative growth opportunities for those seeking a rewarding career. In fields such as construction, carpentry, and welding, skilled tradespeople can earn salaries above the national average.

Through experience and additional training, professionals can move up the ladder to become project managers, supervisors, or even start their own businesses.

By joining SkillHero, you can access a wide range of resources, including training programs, job postings, and mentoring opportunities, to help you excel in your skilled trade.

Vital contribution to society

Electricians ensure that power systems are functioning properly, providing electricity to homes, businesses, and public facilities. Plumbers ensure the proper functioning of water systems, ensuring clean and safe water for drinking, sanitation, and firefighting purposes.

vital contribution to society

Carpenters create structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing commercial buildings, including offices, retail spaces, and recreational facilities. HVAC technicians maintain heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, ensuring comfortable indoor environments in both residential and commercial settings.

These skilled tradespeople are essential for the maintenance of essential systems and the creation of functional spaces where people live, work, and play. SkillHero connects aspiring tradespeople with training and resources in the skilled trade industry - claim your free account here.

Interesting and challenging work

Practical careers offer interesting arrays of challenging work that keeps professionals engaged and fulfilled. Whether you're an automotive technician, carpenter, or aircraft maintenance technician, the tasks you encounter are diverse and exciting.

Automotive technicians face the thrill of diagnosing and repairing complex vehicle issues, using their problem-solving skills to get cars back on the road safely. Carpenters tackle unique challenges, creating custom pieces and constructing structures that require precision and creativity.

Aircraft maintenance technicians play a critical role in ensuring the safety of air travel, troubleshooting intricate systems and performing meticulous inspections.

How society benefits from skilled trade workers

Skilled trade workers play a crucial role in society, contributing to its overall functioning and prosperity. These professionals possess specialized knowledge and expertise in various trades, such as carpentry, automotive repair, and aircraft maintenance.

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How to get started in the skilled trades in America

Making the decision to pursue this type of career can be both exciting and intimidating. Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. Get informed: Educate yourself about the different types of trades
  2. Research and choose a path: Begin by exploring different trades such as plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, or automotive technology. Consider your interests, skills, and the demand for specific trades in your area.
  3. Explore vocational programs: Look for accredited schools or vocational programs that offer training in your chosen trade. These programs provide a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training to prepare you for the workforce.
  4. Consider apprenticeships: Apprenticeships allow you to learn on-the-job while also receiving classroom instruction. They provide valuable hands-on experience and often result in a certification or license.
  5. Meet the requirements: Each path has its own set of requirements, which may include a high school diploma or equivalent, specific age restrictions, and passing a background check or drug test. Make sure you meet these requirements before applying for training or apprenticeship programs.
  6. Utilize resources: Take advantage of resources like SkillHero, which connects students and skilled trade workers with opportunities, training, and resources.

Ready to take the first step toward a rewarding career in the skilled trades? Sign up for a free SkillHero account today to access all the resources and tools you need.