Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time or you’re looking for a better-paying job, the skilled trades are teeming with opportunities.
Even if you’ve never considered working as a tradesperson before, there’s a good chance you can find a trades career that interests and excites you. From carpentry to welding to electrical contracting and beyond, there’s a wide variety of fields to explore.
The best part? The trades are open to practically anybody! Even if you’re starting with zero experience today, there’s an enjoyable, great-paying trades career in your future.
As long as you’re willing to work for it, of course.
Wondering what exactly we’re talking about when we say “skilled trades?” No problem! We’re willing to bet you actually do know what trades professions are, even if that’s not what you normally call them.
Specifically, the skilled trades are hands-on occupations involving a particular set of industrial and/or construction abilities. In your everyday life, you encounter skilled tradespeople as construction workers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and mechanics.
Skilled tradespeople spend their time in the physical world building, repairing, and improving our homes, workplaces, and the critical infrastructure our society depends on. They’re not strictly service providers – they’re creators. People who work in the skilled trades are constantly making new things or fixing what’s already there.
Anybody and everybody works in the skilled trades! One of the best things about trades employers is that they’re willing to work with men and women of all backgrounds. If you’re able to complete the necessary training for your trade and can demonstrate your skills, there’s almost certainly a place for you.
New tradespeople can enter the profession early in their career or transition to the trades later in life. At a given construction site, you’ll find older, seasoned professionals, middle aged career switchers, and even young people starting their career right after high school.
Ok, this is why you’re really here, right? You want to know why the skilled trades offer great career opportunities.
There are a variety of reasons to consider a career in the trades, ranging from great pay and high worker demand to training availability and job satisfaction. Let’s break down the top reasons for considering a trades career and examine each one in depth.
Workers new to the trades typically earn a wage that’s similar to or higher than the wage earned by service industry workers. The big difference in pay between a skilled tradesperson and, say, a restaurant line cook or hotel staffer, comes from the long-term pay tradespeople earn. Experienced tradespeople earn just as – and often more – than professionals with college degrees.
While a line cook has few opportunities for pay increases, a new electrician or plumber likely works for a company that promotes from within. And with every promotion comes higher pay.
That’s why HVAC technicians and electricians earn an average wage of more than $65,000 per year. There are few limits on what they can earn and how far they can advance at their companies. With the skills they learn on the job, many also find opportunities to one day start their own businesses, which leads to even greater earning potential.
Speaking of getting promotions and advancing in your job…
There’s a strong “prove yourself and earn more” culture in the skilled trades.
Unlike low-wage jobs, there are many ways to gain experience in the skilled trades and take on positions of greater responsibility. When you do, you’re rewarded with a more prestigious title and, of course, higher pay. And it can happen fast!
It’s common for new construction professionals to earn promotions to higher-paying roles in less than a year on the job. If, for example, you’re a recent high school graduate who starts your first construction job at age 18, you can start earning a great salary well before your peers in college apply for their first jobs.
There’s always demand for tradespeople. Over the last few decades, there have also been too few tradespeople for all the trades jobs that are available.
The construction industry, in particular, constantly deals with worker shortages. To solve the problem, the industry helps fund training programs like Construction Ready that allow people of all ages and backgrounds to begin careers in the skilled trades.
Even in times of economic recession, people need their air conditioners to work. They need the lights to turn on, and they need their water to flow. They need pipes fitted and repairs to be made. In the trades, there’s virtually always opportunity, even when we’re not in an economic boom time.
Thanks to a combination of industry funding, government grants, and private donations, people seeking to enter the trades can sometimes receive the training they need without paying a dime.
At Construction Ready, our construction job training programs provide the skills and knowledge new workers need to begin a lifetime of professional fulfillment and great pay. And yes, it’s fully funded. Our adult jobseeker program lasts 20 days, and you don’t have to pay for it yourself. All graduates earn in-demand construction worker certifications, and 97% of all participants already have a job lined up before the training is over.
Even if no-cost training isn’t yet available in your area, public community and technical colleges often provide low-cost career education for trades professions. Consider their certification programs or even associate degree programs for a trade that interests you.
Since careers in the skilled trades don’t require a college degree, you can enter the profession without racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
This is a benefit that graduates of our Construction Ready high school program often cite when discussing their construction careers. While their peers often take out big loans to attend college, these tradespeople are earning money – not going into debt! College is certainly the best option for many people, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that many college graduates spend years paying off loans after college. This burden impairs their earning potential, in many cases putting their net pay below that of their peers who chose to work in the trades.
Avoiding student loan debt provides a level of financial freedom that’s rare today. Tradespeople who begin their careers at a young age can gain a gigantic financial advantage compared to their peers who have to pay off loans.
One thing a lot of professionals don’t have, no matter how much money they earn, is the ability to point at something and say, “I built that.”
It’s difficult to express the great sense of personal fulfillment that comes from building something real – something you can see, touch, and show to your family. In the skilled trades, however, that’s an experience that you do get to have. And you can have it practically every day.
People who work with their hands and create built environments are truly a part of something. The work they do isn’t just theoretical or virtual – although those types of work are valuable in their own way – it exists in the real world. People use the buildings tradespeople build. They benefit from the structures and machines that tradespeople repair.
As a professional working in the skilled trades, that’s something you can take pride in. You can finally feel like your job makes a difference in the world around you.
The trades are open to everyone! At Construction Ready, we offer a 20-day intensive construction training course that offers everything you need to begin your career. Employer introductions included.