6 Reasons To Consider A Career In The Skilled Trades

Robin Schwartz

6 Reasons To Consider A Career In The Skilled Trades

At some point in the last 20 years, the idea developed that you needed a college degree to ensure professional success. That has evolved to many pursuing 4-year degree programs and even master’s degrees without being entirely sure what they want to do professionally.

An advanced degree or traditional educational experience isn’t necessarily required to make a good living. From HVAC workers to plumbers, skilled trades offer significant opportunities to a new generation of the labor force and shouldn’t be overlooked.

1. You Get Immediate Experience

Certain professions require the completion of a 4-year degree program before one can even be considered for gainful employment. To many, the idea of entering into more schooling may not be of interest. In many skilled trades, apprenticeships are common.

This allows one to begin tackling projects and relevant work immediately and to learn through hands-on experience.

Having the opportunity to learn through doing also allows one to become skilled in their job more quickly. If you’re looking for a career that will provide you immediate satisfaction and develop you into an expert more quickly, the skilled trades might be for you.

The experience you gain can also be used in your personal life. Imagine you’ve bought your first home and need to make some renovations. If you’re a master carpenter or a skilled electrician, these projects will cost you a fraction of what the unskilled public will pay!

2. Training Takes Less Time (and Money)

It’s no secret how costly colleges and universities have become. On top of the cost of a traditional 4-year program, it’s not uncommon to find people working outside of their field of study.

In this case, they have received formal education for four years but it’s not relevant to what they do. Recent university graduates often have to settle for low paying jobs once they’ve completing their schooling just to get some applicable experience. This leaves them in a situation where they may owe a lot of money in student loans but don’t have the income needed to support that debt.

Skilled trades typically have specialty schools associated with them (often referred to as trade schools). By earning an associate’s degree at a community college or trade school, many students can avoid accumulating a mountain of student loan debt.

Standard programs may vary from 1-2 years depending on the certification or degree being accredited. So, in half the time it takes to finish a 4-year degree program, those pursuing the skilled trades can already be working in their industry and start becoming financially dependent.

3. There’s Always Demand

Most skilled trade careers can’t easily be outsourced to other countries or areas that have cheaper labor costs. If you call for a plumber, you expect someone to arrive at your door within a few hours. You don’t expect someone across the globe to try to walk you through a do-it-yourself toilet repair.

For that reason, many of the skilled trades can expect a certain level of job security that other professional jobs might not have. While no job is 100% secure, people still need their roofs repaired and their cars worked on. For the foreseeable future, those jobs will be handled by local skilled trade workers.

4. You Can Be Your Own Boss

If you excel in your industry and have the ambition to branch out on your own, you have the opportunity to be your own boss. For many, the chance to open a small business and create a schedule that works with their lives is one of the benefits of the skilled trades. While being a business owner isn’t for everyone, skilled jobs offer a unique opportunity for many to do what they love with the freedom of being their own boss.

5. There’s a Future Need

With an entire generation of workers retiring or preparing to retire, there’s an increased need in many markets for skilled tradespeople. The baby boomers that once dominated the blue collar industry have left an opening for those coming into the workforce, or those already experienced, to take over. Depending on your geographic location, the need might be significant enough to offer additional monetary incentives or free training programs.

6. Job Satisfaction

Many people wake up in the morning and dread going to work. They may feel trapped in a dead end job or find themselves bored by what they do. Those in the skilled trades have chosen their field of expertise and learned through training whether it’s something they enjoyed doing. The skills you possess as a tradesman are often skills you’re passionate about, which goes a long way in ensuring job satisfaction.

Just as college or university isn’t for everyone, neither are the skilled trades. The benefits of a future as a tradesman are worth considering before deciding on your professional path.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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