What Are Construction Trades and How Do You Learn One?

If you’re like a lot of people looking for a new job, you might have heard that there are many opportunities in the trades. But what are construction trades, exactly – and how do you get started in a trades career?

Well, we’re here to answer both of those questions.

Today, the trades offer a very accessible entry point to an exciting and high-paying career. To get started, you’ll need training. But you might be surprised at how readily available you training options are!

Let’s take a look at the construction trades, including what they are, examples of trades careers, and how much they pay. We’ll also look at what it takes to get your foot in the door for a fulfilling trades career.

Have you been asking, “What are construction trades?” Here’s your answer.

The construction trades are careers where workers apply hands-on skills to build or repair physical structures and systems. If you’re indoors right now, construction tradespeople built the building you’re sitting in. Are you outdoors? Look around you. Trades professionals built all of the roads, sidewalks, parking lots, bridges, and structures within your field of vision.

So, the construction trades are jobs where you build things. But do tradespeople know how to build all of those structures?

Yes and no. You see, when you’re a trades professional, you get to specialize.

On a construction site, you’ll see:

  • Framers who install the building framing, whether it’s wood or steel
  • Plumbers who construct the plumbing systems and install plumbing fixtures
  • Carpenters who measure, shape, and install wood structures
  • Heavy equipment operators who drive bulldozers, diggers, cranes, and other machines
  • Concrete finishers who shape concrete inside and outside the structure
  • Electricians who wire up the whole building for power
  • HVAC technicians who install and configure the building’s heating and cooling system

And so on! All of these individuals are construction trades professionals. They probably started out in a general capacity, handling small jobs on a construction site or more specific duties under the supervision of an experienced tradesperson. Eventually, they gained enough experience to handle those specific jobs themselves.

In other words, they acquired skills. And when you have skills that others don’t have, you can make a really great living.

How much money do you make in the construction trades?

Wages and salaries in the trades vary widely, but there are three things that are true across the board:

  1. You start out making less but can quickly start making more if you stick with it and gain experience.
  2. Experienced specialists can earn a really really good living.
  3. Employers typically offer great benefits, including health and dental insurance, life and disability coverage, and retirement plans.

How much construction pays really depends on the kind of job you have, how experienced you are, and what part of the country you live in.

At the time of writing (early 2023), a new construction tradesperson with no experience might earn $14 to $20 per hour in his or her first position. That being said, most of these workers will qualify for a wage increase in just 3 to 6 months as they gain experience. Then after 6 to 9 months, it’s common for workers to move into salaried positions.

Salaries in construction vary, but they can range anywhere from $30,000 to $90,000. And they only go up the longer you’re on the job!

As an experienced construction trades professional, you can earn a lot of money. Here are a few average construction job salaries according to the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER):

  • Sheet Metal Worker: $61,776
  • Drywall Installer: $54,473
  • Commercial Electrician: $65,398
  • Electronic Systems Technician: $72,179
  • Pipe Welder: $70,482
  • Industrial Maintenance Mechanic: $66,284
  • Plumber: $73,320
  • Structural Welder: $62,446
  • Heavy equipment operator: $62,910
  • HVAC Technician: $65,341

What’s the best way to train for a job in construction?

There are different ways to enter the construction field or to learn a trade. Many people get their start by attending a technical or community college program in electrical contracting, plumbing, HVAC, or another trade. Others might find a construction apprenticeship where they can begin without any training, but this isn’t common.

If it’s available in your area, one of the best ways to begin a construction trades career is through a dedicated training program. At Construction Ready, we offer a 20-day program that delivers all of the training and credentials you need to get hired for your first construction job. 97% of our graduates have job offers in hand before our training course is even complete!

The best part? It costs nothing to attend. Thanks to private donations and government grants, our training program is fully paid for. You can enroll, attend, and graduate without paying a dime!

Take the first step toward a rewarding career!

To learn more about Construction Ready or to enroll in training, contact us today! We’ll help you attend an information session where you can learn more about the program and get answers to all of your questions.

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