Women in the Trades

January 18, 2024 By

two women in medical office setting

Why You Should Consider a Career in the Trades as a Woman

Pursuing a trade career can allow women to achieve financial independence and professional success through a flexible and rewarding career path. Jobs in the trades offer excellent earning potential.  And, the prerequisite training requirements are often more cost-effective than four-year degrees.

As industries continue to evolve and the demand for skilled tradespeople remains high, women can secure stable employment and establish a financially rewarding career.

In this article we will outline 15 trades that can be great for women. But first, more reasons why you should pursue a trade school career:

Affordable Education

Most careers require some prerequisite education or training, including a career in the trades. Although some may pursue a degree at a four-year institution, others may choose to attend a trade school, completing an Associate’s degree or a certification program that equips them with the vocational training they need to seek employment immediately upon graduation.

Less Than a 4 Year Degree

Not only do trade school programs take less time than a four-year degree, but they are also considerably less expensive.

Most trade school programs cost between $5,000 and $15,000 for the entire program; comparatively, the average annual cost for tuition and fees at a four-year institution ranges from $10,000 to $27,000, according to CollegeBoard data.

Great Salaries

Many trade careers feature salaries considerably higher than the starting salaries of college graduates. Ultrasonographers, for example, have a national average salary of $141,126 per year. In comparison, the annual average wage nationwide is $59,428, according to Forbes.

Tradespeople have the added benefit of being able to start their careers sooner, requiring less education at a more affordable price.

Flexible Careers

A trade career offers flexibility, as tradespeople can be self-employed or work as agents of a larger company, providing a variety of career paths. This flexibility may appeal to individuals with entrepreneurial mindsets, allowing them to start their businesses and take control of their careers.

Alternatively, for those seeking more traditional employment, the trades also offer numerous opportunities for career advancement within larger agencies, making it a versatile and empowering choice for women looking to shape their professional futures.


1. Dental Hygienist

What Do They Do?

Dental hygienists play a crucial role in maintaining oral health and assisting dentists in providing dental care to patients. They are responsible for various tasks and responsibilities, including conducting oral health assessments, performing dental cleanings, educating patients on proper oral hygiene techniques, taking and developing dental x-rays, maintaining patient records, and assisting primary dentists in any procedures or tasks. Dental hygienists are additionally responsible for continuing their education, and staying current with advancements in technology and medical literature through the fulfillment of annual training requirements.

A Flexible & In Demand Option

A career in dental hygiene may be desirable for women as it offers flexible work hours, allowing individuals to balance their professional and personal lives.

Some benefits include:

  • High Demand: The demand for the career remains consistently high, providing women with job security and stable career prospects.
  • Financial Freedom: Dental hygienists also earn a competitive salary relative to the educational prerequisites the profession entails, empowering women to achieve financial independence.
  • Career Advancement: The career may also serve as a stepping stone, offering women with an interest in career advancement the opportunity to pursue additional dental specialties.

Dental Training Programs


2. Cosmetologist

Career Description

cosmetologistA career in cosmetology entails offering clients a range of beauty and grooming services, helping them enhance their appearance and boost their confidence. Cosmetologists may work either independently or as an employee of an agency, offering their services for personal or professional events.

Services provided by cosmetologists may entail hair services, such as cutting, styling, and coloring hair; skincare, such as providing facials or other services; nailcare, including manicures and pedicures, or makeup application, including for special occasions, photoshoots, or everyday wear, among other specifications.

An Entrepreneurial & Creative Career Path

Seeking employment as a cosmetologist can be a rewarding and empowering choice for women.

 

  • Creativity: It can be a facet of creative expression, allowing individuals to express themselves through hairstyling, makeup application, nail art, and skincare.
  • Run Your Own Business: A career in cosmetology may additionally cater to women with entrepreneurial goals, as cosmetologists can operate their own salons or freelance businesses.
  • Flexibility: The job additionally offers flexibility regarding work hours with the option to choose part-time or full-time schedules.

Learn More About Cosmetology


3. Veterinary Assistant

dog at the vet

helping animals

Veterinary assistants play a critical role in the well-being of animals and the operation of veterinary facilities. Their commitment ensures that animals receive the care they need and that their owners comprehensively understand their pet’s health.

Responsibilities of veterinary assistants include grooming and feeding animals, maintaining cleanliness within the clinic, assisting in preparing animals for surgeries and medical procedures, interacting with clients, collecting bodily fluids and test samples for diagnostic evaluation, and promoting animal welfare by advocating for pets and educating their owners.

Perfect for Animal Lovers

Becoming a veterinary assistant may be a desirable career pathway for women due to career progression opportunities and work-life balance, among other aspects.

Some women may pursue further education and training, using their experience as veterinary assistants to further their reach.

  • Job Stability: The demand for vet assistants remains steady, offering career stability while boasting reasonable work hours and schedules.
  • Job Satisfaction: Becoming a vet assistant requires compassion for animals and a strong desire to contribute to their well-being, with empathy and effective communication playing a vital role in the job. Working as a veterinary assistant offers women the opportunity to care for and advocate for the welfare of animals, which can be a gratifying experience.

Learn more about Vet Assistant Programs.


4. Nursing

nursing

nursing

Nurses are at the forefront of patient care, providing invaluable support to individuals in need and playing a vital role in healthcare teams. Nurses’ dedication and expertise are essential in delivering high-quality healthcare services and improving patient outcomes.

The responsibilities of a nurse include general patient care, such as assessing and monitoring patients’ physical and emotional well-being, administering medications, dressing wounds, and implementing patient care plans. Nurses are also responsible for monitoring patients’ vital signs, contributing to medical emergency responses, and usually implementing and adhering to infection control protocols and procedures, applying critical thinking and problem-solving abilities to work well under pressure and uphold ethical standards in healthcare.

Amazing Growth Potential

A career as a nurse can be enriching and well-suited to women for various reasons.

  • Career Prospects: Nursing offers women a diverse array of career paths, allowing them to find a niche that aligns with their interests and passions.
  • Good Salaries: The career is also in constant demand globally, offering both professional and financial stability through the career’s competitive salary offerings.
  • Portable Career: Nursing credentials are often transferable across borders, opening doors to new experiences and cultural perspectives for travel-inclined women.
  • Make a Difference: Nurses also directly contribute to the health and well-being of communities, positively impacting patient outcomes and public health as a whole–the career is an excellent choice for women who wish to make a difference in the world.

Learn more about CNA Programs


5. Allied Healthcare

woman in healthcare

healthcare

Allied healthcare professionals work in various roles to support patient care, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

The specific responsibilities of allied healthcare professionals can vary drastically based on their specialty, but, in general, duties of the job will include providing direct care to patients under the supervision of healthcare providers, monitoring vitals, assisting with daily living, administering treatments and therapies, managing patient records, and responding to medical emergencies.

Specific careers may additionally be responsible for assisting in surgical procedures, preparing operating rooms and sterilizing equipment, performing diagnostic imaging procedures for radiologic technology, providing mental health support, preparing and dispensing medications, or providing dietary counseling and meal planning.

Great Job Stability

A career in allied healthcare offers many diverse career options, allowing women to explore different specialties and find roles that align with their interests and passions. Many professions in allied healthcare are in high demand, ensuring job stability and limitless employment opportunities. Most allied healthcare careers boast shorter training periods compared to medical school, making it more accessible and attainable for women wishing to enter the workforce sooner.

See a list of Healthcare Training Programs.


6. Pharmacy Technician

pharmacy

pharmacy tech

Pharmacy technicians are employed by pharmacies, hospitals, and healthcare facilities to assist pharmacists with various tasks related to medication preparation, dispensing, and patient support.

The primary responsibilities of a pharmacy technician include accurately filling prescriptions and dispensing medications, preparing and affixing labels to medicine with necessary instructions for patients, maintaining pharmacy inventory, and maintaining detailed records of prescription transactions.

Stability & Options

Becoming a pharmacy technician offers many benefits to women considering a career in the trades.

  • Steady Employment: The demand for pharmacy technicians remains consistently high, providing women with stable employment and numerous job opportunities in various healthcare settings.
  • Less Time to Learn: The work typically requires completing a short training program that is significantly less expensive and time-consuming than traditional medical school, meaning women can enter the workforce and start their careers quickly.
  • Can Work in Many Places: Pharmacy technicians additionally benefit from working in various healthcare environments, be it a community pharmacy, hospital, or clinic.
  • Helping People: A career as a pharmacy technician is as practical as it is rewarding in helping patients understand their medications and ensuring they have access to essential treatments.

Find Pharmacy Technician Programs Near You.


7. Graphic Design and Web Development

woman designer

graphic designer

Graphic designers and web developers are creative professionals who design visual and interactive elements for various digital and print media, including websites, marketing materials, branding, and more. This multidisciplinary role combines design skills with technical expertise to create visually appealing and functional digital experiences.

As a graphic designer and web developer, your responsibilities may include collaborating with clients to understand design objectives, brand identity, and project requirements to develop creative concepts and visual solutions, creating visual assets, including logos, banners, brochures, and other marketing materials, ensuring brand consistency, create and code user interfaces (UI) for websites, write well-structured HTML and CSS code to implement design layouts, develop interactive features using JavaScript or other languages to enhance user experiences, and optimize website performance and improve SEO, ensuring seamless user experiences.

If You Like Technology & the Arts

A graphic design and web development career can appeal to women as it allows them to express their creativity while contributing to websites, marketing materials, and digital media. These fields offer a wide range of projects and industries to work in, offering opportunities to explore various design styles and niches.

  • Work Remotely: Many graphic design and web development roles can be performed remotely, providing flexibility and work-life balance that can be especially appealing to women with diverse responsibilities.
  • Freelance Opportunities: Women in these fields can also start their own design and development businesses, offering services to clients and building their brands.
  • Great Work Environment: The creative industry values diverse perspectives and encourages inclusivity, making it a welcoming environment for women to thrive.

Related:


8. Restaurant Manager

Restaurant managers are responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a restaurant or food service establishment. They play a crucial role in ensuring smooth and efficient restaurant functioning while delivering exceptional dining experiences to guests.

As a restaurant manager, your primary responsibilities include supervising staff, including overseeing recruitment, hiring, training, and managing employees, as well as providing ongoing coaching and performance evaluations, ensuring outstanding customer service, overseeing all aspects of restaurant operations, including inventory management, quality control, and sanitation standards, managing restaurant budgets and tracking expenses, and ensuring compliance with local health and safety regulations, among other commitments.

Working with People in a Fast Paced Environment

For women passionate about hospitality, leadership, and the culinary arts, this career path offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional fulfillment.

  • Diverse Work Environment: The restaurant industry is increasingly diverse and inclusive, welcoming professionals of all backgrounds and genders. Women in restaurant management can contribute to creating more inclusive work environments.
  • Opportunity to Lead: The sector additionally can provide a sense of empowerment and accomplishment, offering women opportunities to take on leadership roles and management positions.
  • Creative Expression: Furthermore, restaurant management involves menu development, marketing, and creating unique dining experiences. Women with creative talents can thrive in roles that allow them to express their creativity.

Women in restaurant management can advance in their careers by taking on higher-level positions, such as general manager, district manager, or even owning multiple restaurant locations.

Learn more about restaurant management.


9. CDL Truck Driver

woman truck driver

CDL Driver

CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) truck drivers are responsible for operating large commercial vehicles to transport goods and cargo over short or long distances. They play a crucial role in the transportation industry, ensuring the timely and safe delivery of goods and cargo across the country.

Their responsibilities require driving skills, safety awareness, and professionalism. Responsibilities of CDL truck drivers may include the safe operation and maneuvering of heavy trucks, such as tractor trailers, delivery trucks, or tanker trucks, following traffic laws and regulations, loading and unloading cargo, conducting pre-trip and post-trip inspections, keeping accurate records of driving hours, mileage, and delivery receipts, and maintaining communication with dispatchers and clients as needed.

If You Value Independence & Autonomy

A career as a CDL truck driver may appeal to women because the demand for truck drivers is high, offering job security for prospective drivers.

  • Earning Potential: CDL truck drivers often earn competitive salaries and benefits, providing women with financial stability and the potential to make a comfortable living.
  • Autonomy: Truck driving additionally allows for a degree of independence, autonomy, and flexibility, allowing women to balance work with personal responsibilities and commitments.
  • A Chance to Grow: A career in truck driving additionally offers women opportunities for mobility.  Truck driving involves a range of skills, from operating a large vehicle to managing logistics and cargo. Women can continuously develop their skills in this dynamic profession.

Learn about CDL Programs.


10. Automotive Service Technician

female mechanic

aut tech

Automotive service technicians, often called mechanics or automotive technicians, inspect, diagnose, repair and maintain vehicles to ensure they operate safely and efficiently. They work in automotive repair shops, dealerships, or as independent contractors.

The responsibilities of an automotive technician may include conducting comprehensive vehicle inspections, diagnosing vehicle issues, performing mechanical and electrical repairs, replacing worn or faulty parts, and performing routine maintenance tasks.

For the Mechanically Inclined

A career as an automotive service technician is rife with equal opportunities, with the industry increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusivity, opening pathways for women interested in pursuing careers as service technicians.

  • Great Pay: Automotive service technicians often earn competitive salaries, offering women financial stability and the potential for a comfortable living.
  • Challenging Work: Further, the career features complex mechanical and technical challenges that engage one’s problem solving and critical thinking skills, which can be an intellectually rewarding pursuit for women interested in troubleshooting and repair work.

Overall, the automotive service industry is dynamic and expansive, with ever-evolving technologies and systems that allow women to continuously learn and develop their skills while advancing their career.


11. HVAC Technician

female HVAC

HVAC

HVAC technicians are skilled professionals responsible for installing, maintaining, repairing, and servicing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems in residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

HVAC technicians’ duties primarily pertain to system installations, routine maintenance and inspections, diagnostic tests and repairing malfunctions, and interacting with customers, providing cost estimates and maintaining accurate records while adhering to safety regulations and building codes.

Why You Might Like It

  • Always in Need: HVAC technicians are in high demand, with various career opportunities available in both residential and commercial sectors.
  • Good Pay: The need for HVAC technicians means they often earn competitive salaries; further, experienced technicians can explore opportunities for career advancement, such as specializing in specific HVAC systems or transitioning into supervisory or management roles.
  • Work for Yourself: Women with entrepreneurial goals additionally have the flexibility to work independently or for an agency, providing them with autonomy both in their daily tasks and in their career as a whole.

In general, a career as an HVAC technician offers women the chance to work in a hands-on field with excellent job prospects, financial stability, and opportunities for tremendous growth and development.

HVAC training, including online options


12 Welder

female welder

welder

Welders are skilled professionals who join metal parts and components through various welding techniques, such as arc welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, and more. They work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, and automotive, and their responsibilities include interpreting blueprints, preparing materials, operating welding equipment, and ensuring the structural integrity of welded components.

Why You Might Like It

A career in welding offers women a unique opportunity to excel in a traditionally male-dominated field. Welding is a profession that values precision, attention to detail, and skill over physical strength, making it accessible and appealing to women. It provides job stability, competitive salaries, and opportunities for advancement. By becoming welders, women can contribute their talent and expertise to industries that rely on strong, skilled professionals to build the infrastructure and products that power our world.

It’s a career path that offers personal satisfaction, financial independence, and the chance to break down gender barriers while crafting a promising future.

Welder Training Courses


13. Electrical Engineering

electrician

electrician

Electricians are highly skilled professionals responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.

Their duties include reading blueprints, wiring buildings, connecting electrical components, troubleshooting electrical issues, and ensuring electrical systems operate safely and efficiently. Electricians play a critical role in powering homes, businesses, and industries, making their work essential to modern society.

Why You Might Like It

A career as an electrician offers women an opportunity to thrive in a technical field.  Some reasons to people like this career path include:

  • Requires Technical Expertise: Electricians work with precision and technical expertise, valuing critical thinking skills over brawn.
  • Job Security: This profession provides job security, competitive salaries, and opportunities for advancement.

It’s a career path that offers personal fulfillment, financial independence, and the chance to empower themselves while illuminating a brighter future.

By becoming electricians, women can break stereotypes, contribute to innovative technologies, and play a vital role in shaping the future of electrical systems.

Related:


14. Carpenter

woman working with wrenchCarpenters are skilled tradespeople who work with wood to construct, install, and repair various structures, including buildings, furniture, cabinets, and more. Their duties encompass reading blueprints, measuring and cutting wood, assembling structures, installing fixtures, and ensuring the structural integrity of their projects. Carpenters play a crucial role in the construction and woodworking industries, combining creativity with technical expertise to bring architectural designs to life.

If You Like Working With Your Hands

Becoming a carpenter is an excellent choice for women looking to embark on a path that blends craftsmanship with practicality. Carpentry offers job stability, competitive wages, and opportunities for advancement. Women with creative inclinations have the opportunity to create beautiful and functional structures by pursuing a career in carpentry–overall, it is a  career path that provides personal satisfaction, financial independence.

Carpentry Classes


15. General Contractor

woman construction worker

general contractor

General contractors are professionals who oversee construction projects from start to finish. They collaborate with architects, subcontractors, and clients to plan, budget, and manage construction activities. Their responsibilities encompass project coordination, scheduling, budgeting, quality control, and ensuring that work meets safety standards and local regulations. General contractors play a pivotal role in bringing construction visions to reality, from residential homes to commercial buildings.

A Chance to Lead 

Becoming a general contractor offers women an opportunity to lead and excel in the field of construction project management.

  • Leadership: This profession values strong organizational and leadership skills over physical strength, making it a strong choice for women interested in managerial pursuits.
  • Great Earning Potential: General contracting provides job security, the potential for substantial earnings, and opportunities for professional growth.
  • Shape the Future: By becoming general contractors, women can break gender barriers, influence architectural landscapes, and take charge of diverse construction projects.

Construction Classes


How do You Become a Tradeswoman?

Education

To become a tradeswoman, start by obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, as this is typically the minimum educational requirement for most trade professions. A strong foundation in math, science, and technical skills can be beneficial during your academic journey.

Consider enrolling in a trade school program that offers specific training in your chosen trade. These programs often provide hands-on experience and classroom instruction tailored to your interest.

Some careers, like electricians or plumbers, may require additional coursework or associate’s degrees. Research the educational requirements for your desired profession and pursue the relevant education to build a solid foundation for your career.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are crucial for tradeswomen. Seek out apprenticeship programs offered by trade unions, industry associations, or employers in your chosen field. These programs provide on-the-job training and mentorship, allowing you to learn the practical skills and gain real-world experience necessary for success.

During your apprenticeship, you’ll work under the guidance of experienced professionals, honing your craft while earning a wage. This hands-on training often leads to higher pay and job security as you progress. Apprenticeships may vary in duration, depending on the trade. Some may last up to a few years, while others may be shorter.

Certification

Certification is essential in many trades as it demonstrates competency and adherence to industry standards. After completing your education and apprenticeship, check the certification requirements for your career and region. Sometimes, you may need to pass an examination or meet specific experience criteria to become certified. Obtaining certification not only validates your skills but can also improve your earning potential and job prospects. Remember that certification requirements can vary from one jurisdiction to another, so it’s crucial to research and understand the certification process relevant to your chosen trade and location to ensure you meet all necessary qualifications.

For more ideas, check out this article with over 20 trade school career options.

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