So, you can’t figure out what you want for a career. No big deal, it happens to the majority of students.
If you already know you don’t want to go to a college, and you've realized the trades route is for you, then you’ve made a quite a dent in the whole decision. The next part, though, is deciding which skilled trade is right for you.
Let’s explore the facts and fiction of skilled trades, and why undecided students going into one of the 6.7 million available trade skills jobs may be a good idea.
Shortage of Skilled Workers Can Work to Your Benefit
Currently, there are millions of jobs open within the skilled trades. Why is this major skilled tradesman shortage a big deal? Because we also have a crumbling infrastructure issue here in the United States.
Once the craze for college degrees took over, trades promotion fell to the side. However, our nation would come to a standstill without those who are skilled in the ways of the different trades.
It's not reaching to say skilled tradespeople can act as heroes who save the world from the brink of potential disasters, and on a daily basis. We've seen it often in the medical community, the truck drivers and construction workers in and after hurricanes, and the firefighters, paramedics, and rescue teams fighting forest fires.
Employers are working to attract people to the skilled trades, now more than ever. Sign-on bonuses, higher pay, and better benefits are just a few items they are offering to potential employees.
Why Skilled Trades Are Important
Things break that need fixing. Buildings, bridges, and roads need to be built or rebuilt. Items need to be moved. Who’s going to take care of all that? The plumber. The electrician. The nurse. The truck driver. The IT person. That’s who.
Trades are important because everything in our lives, at some point in their cycle, was touched by a tradesman. Everything. From the clothes on your back to the device you’re reading this article or the building you’re in—it was all because someone in a skilled trade made it available to you in one way or another, from the creation all the way through the delivery. And THAT is why trades are important.
Popular Skilled Trades If You’re Undecided
If you're interested in entering a trade for the fast training and high pay but don't know which one is best for you, take a look at the following selection as a starting point.
These popular skilled trades and medical careers offer job security and good pay:
- Solar Energy Technician: You are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining solar panels found on structures. This career can be prepared for via a trade school or online college plus on-the-job training. Training takes approximately 13 months. The 2019 average annual pay was $46,850, and the job outlook is projected to increase 51% by 2029 (bls.gov).
- Wind Turbine Technician: You’ll install, repair, and maintain wind turbines. You’ll need an associate degree in wind energy technology, plus one year of on-the-job training. The 2019 average annual pay was $56,680, with the top ten percent making more $80,150. There is a projected employment growth of 61% by 2029.
- Truck Driver: In a nutshell, you take goods from point A and deliver them to point B. You’ll go through a truck driving program that can take 3-6 weeks. The median annual salary is over $42K, and there is projected to be 30,600 positions opening by 2029 (bls.gov).
- Carpenter: You use wood and other building materials to create frameworks, structures, and many other things. The typical training is through an apprenticeship, which is 144 hours of coursework and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training per training year. The 2019 average annual pay was $52,850 (bls.gov).
- Electrician: You’ll install, maintain, and repair all types of electrical systems in residential and commercial buildings. You’ll go through a 4-5 year apprenticeship that includes 144 hours of coursework and 2,000 paid, on-the-job training for each year of your training. The 2019 average annual pay was $60,370, and there are 62,200 new positions projected by 2029 (bls.gov).
- Welder: You’ll use equipment to join metal parts together. You’ll go through a welding program at a trade school or community college, plus receive on-the-job training. The 2019 average pay was $45,190, and there are projected to be 13,600 new positions opening through 2029 (bls.gov).
- HVAC Technician: You’ll work on heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigerant systems. You can get either a certificate through a trade school or an associate degree from a community college. There are also apprenticeships available. You must be certified to work with refrigerants. The 2019 average pay was $51,420, and there is a 4% growth rate through 2029 (bls.gov)
Medical Careers Worth Noting
- Licensed Practical Nurse: As an LPN, you work under the supervision of a registered nurse to provide medical care. It takes one year to earn a certificate, and two years to earn an associate degree. Licensing is required in all states. The 2019 average annual pay was $48,500, and there are a projected 65,700 positions opening by 2029 (bls.gov).
- Registered Nurse: You’ll provide patient care, education, advice, and support when you’re a registered nurse. There are three ways to become an RN: certificate, associate degree, and bachelor’s degree. Licensing is required in all states. The 2019 average annual pay was $77,460, and there are 221,900 new positions projected to open by 2029 (bls.gov).
- Dental Hygienist: You clean patients’ teeth and educate them on how to maintain good oral hygiene. Dental hygiene programs take three years to complete, and you must be licensed to practice. The 2019 average annual pay was $77,230, and there are 13,300 projected positions available by 2029 (bls.gov).