Not attending college may have been taboo in the past but now in 2022, many people will earn as much as a corporate worker by pursuing a career in trade. Many skilled trade careers offer the same benefits as a corporate job without the college tuition price tag. As labor demands continue to grow, careers ranging from metal fabrication, construction, plumbing and HVAC, healthcare, and car repairs will continue to be profitable. Listed below we have rounded up why you should consider a skilled trade career as well as the steps to take in order to enter into that trade.
What Are Trade Jobs?
Trade jobs are specialized skills one gains through trade school rather than being obtained by a bachelor's degree. Different trade jobs work with a variety of machinery and have different sets of requirements that allow you to be qualified to do it. Meaning, you have either learned a trade through an apprenticeship, taken classes at a trade school, or are self-taught. Trade jobs require technical ability and repetitive use of your hands. Plumbing, carpenter work, and welding, all require physical and mental demand in some way.
How To Find My Skill Set?
When trying to pick the right trade for you, consider your hobbies and interests. For instance, if you enjoy cars, then you may consider becoming an automotive mechanic. If you like building, then construction could be the path best suited. Take a moment to consider what types of trades you would be interested in or if you have a talent that aligns with it. Before choosing, we recommend talking with others that work in the field to understand what you’re getting yourself into and if it is something you truly want to commit to.
Where To Start?
Once you have figured out which trade you want to specialize in, we recommend you start looking into admission at a local trade school. To find the right school for you, start with making sure they offer the program you want. Then talk to the admissions office or counselor to gain a better understanding of life after graduation. Second, make sure they have a reputable reputation. This is the most important part of being hired after you complete the program. Employers who hire you will want to have confidence in the program you came from. As for referrals, read online reviews and talk to currently enrolled students.
Third, make sure you can afford the cost of tuition and can manage the class schedule.
In addition to attending a trade school one can also search for an apprenticeship program which allows you to gain hands-on skills. Not only will an apprenticeship program dive deeper into the trade, but you will form connections and future employment opportunities.
A third option is to check with your local community college to see if they offer certification classes.
Trade School Certification
Many trade schools distribute certificates instead of bachelor's or associate's degrees which can be obtained in roughly two years or less. Meaning you have extra time than those attending traditional college to advance in your career trajectory. In addition to trade school programs being the shortest enrollment time, you also don’t have to submit test scores, write application essays, get letters of recommendation or have to worry about past high school grades.
How to Apply to a Trade School
Applying for trade school admission is a relatively easy process. Most schools will make you fill in an application through their website followed by an interview or a meeting with an admissions representative. Don’t panic if interviewing isn’t your strong suit. Most meetings are just there to give you additional information and to help guide you through the best program for your career goals. In addition to the easy process, you don’t have to wait for the fall or spring semester to start. Meaning, you can apply for a trade school at any time of the year.
Trade Jobs High In Demand
- Flooring installer
- HVAC technician
- Construction managers
- Dental hygienist
- MRI technicians
- Brick mason
- Home inspector
- Landscape designer
- Licensed practical nurse
- Police Officer
Shortages In Trade Jobs
Over the past 60 years, baby boomers have dominated blue-collar jobs. Now that they have reached retirement age, individuals and companies are struggling to find qualified skilled workers. Trade jobs that are extremely high in demand are electricians, plumbers, tilers, carpenters, and brick masons. This is especially true in high developing cities.
How Much Do Trade Jobs Pay?
No longer are the days you have to attend a four year university to make a great living. Trade jobs will forever be in demand by consumers. For example, car mechanics, plumbers, electricians and many, many others. Not only is it important to choose a job high in demand but we also recommend to earn the most money is choosing a skill you are already interested in and can improve on. The more skilled you are, the better your ratings and customer reviews will be thus increasing your customer base.
There are many factors that come to play when it comes to how much money trade jobs pay. Some of these factors include:
- The amount of education you have inquired
- The years of experience you have banked
- Your local market demand
- Market Competition
That said, the median salaries for most trade jobs are around 50k and will increase with years of experience and location.
Trade Job Salaries
- Electrician: $24.83 per hour
- Licensed Practical Nurse: $25.18 per hour
- HVAC Technicians: $23.25 per hour
- Home Inspector: $52,000 per year
- Plumber: $24.58 per hour
- Landscape Architect: $54,862 per year
- Construction Manager: $84,476 per year
- Dental Hygienist: $38.10 per hour
- Elevator and Escalator Installer: $88,540 per year
- Radiation Therapists: $86,850 per year
Disadvantages of Attending a Trade School
While we are clear advocates for the trade school process, there are a few drawbacks when debating entering this line of work. For starters, most of the work relies heavily on the use of one's body. Thus meaning, if you get hurt you may be out of a job. In addition, while you can start earning money faster than those attending a traditional 4-year college, on average college graduates will earn more money than trade school graduates. Furthermore, attending a trade school means you will miss out on the traditional college experience. For example, living in dorms, pledging fraternities and sororities, attending campus parties and sporting events. Traditional schooling also provides a more well-rounded education with classes ranging from the arts and sciences to math and history thus affording you more flexibility in your career path whereas trade school education focuses on preparing you for a specific job.
Should You Attend a Trade School vs. a Traditional College
Ultimately we recommend choosing based on your finances and personality traits. Many individuals will need to enter the workforce right out of high school to start providing for themselves and their families. This also means not entering into adulthood with thousands of dollars in debt. We also recommend you choose based on how you see your days playing out. If you are not one to sit behind a desk all day, entering a trade where you are constantly moving and taking on new physical challenges may be the right path for you.
With many trade jobs in demand, there is no better time than now to start your career path. If you're interested in a specific career trajectory we recommend taking time to examine the career perfect for you.