Are Skilled Trades Worth It?

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Yes. Skilled trades are worth it.

There’s no doubt about it: skilled trades are the future. In fact, they’re already the present!

And with the advent of new technologies and processes that can make even complex tasks easier and more streamlined, we’re only going to see more skilled trade jobs pop up in the future.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why skilled trades are worth it, what kind of jobs you can expect to find in this field, and why more people should consider entering skilled trade fields.

Let’s dive in:

What is a Skilled Trade?

Skilled trades are unique jobs that demand distinctive skill sets, typically gained via apprenticeships or on-the-job training. These aren’t your average jobs; they’re specialized roles that demand unique abilities, hands-on experience, and specific training.

In most cases, to be successful in this industry, most people have to go through vocational schools before starting their careers.

Now, it’s a common misconception to narrow skilled trades down to manual labor jobs. Indeed, many trades involve physical work, but they represent just a portion of this broad sphere.

You can divide skilled trades into 3 distinct categories:

The list goes on and on, but you get the point: Skilled trades are a diverse group of professions. Not only do they require different skill sets, but they also require a variety of education levels.

For example, welders are generally required to complete an apprenticeship program before becoming certified journeymen. So, assess your passion and commitment before diving headlong into the skilled trades industry.

Read this article that explains what the skilled trades are.

Realizing Rewards of the Trade Route

Skilled trades are a great way to secure your future. You can learn a trade in just a few months and then use that knowledge to earn money for the rest of your life.

Here are four reasons why skilled trades are worth it going forward:

1. Steady Wages

The skilled trades don’t just offer competitive wages but also experience wage growth over the years. As per data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings in private-sector industries have risen from $32.66 in October 2022 to $34.00 in October 2023. This increase illustrates the potential for relative income growth in skilled trades, making them an attractive career option in the long run.

2. Consistent Demand and Evolving Opportunities

Skilled trades aren’t just about stability—they’re also about evolution. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a promising picture, projecting consistent employment growth of 4% within construction and extraction occupations from 2021 to 2031. That’s a growth rate competing neck and neck with average U.S. jobs!

But there’s more value hidden in this growth chart. With bustling advancements in solar tech and electric vehicles, skilled trade professionals aren’t just fixing pipes and wires—they’re landing exciting gigs in cutting-edge sectors.

3. Immunity from Automation

As tech evolves, many fear automation might leave them jobless. But skilled trades are immune to this threat. Robots may perform exact, repetitive tasks, but they lack the ingenuity and flexibility humans possess.

Think of a plumber dealing with an unexpected pipe issue. It requires critical thinking, experience, and adaptability – abilities robots are yet to master.

4. The Luxury of Time

Choosing a career in skilled trades often leads to self-employment, freeing you from the rigid 9-5 shackles. It’s your life, your rules — decide when to clock in, take that breather, or wrap it up, all while earning between $40,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on your career choice and location.

This autonomy over your schedule, coupled with rewarding pay, can be instrumental in achieving the elusive work-life balance.

Highest Paying Skilled Trade Jobs

Skilled trade jobs are no joke. They’re some of the highest paying jobs out there, and they’re in high demand—but not all skilled trade jobs are created equal.

And we understand. When you’re looking for a job, you can’t afford to settle. You need a job that pays well, and you need it to be in an industry that interests you. So, here’s a list of some of the highest-paying skilled trade jobs that are out there according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

1. Boilermakers

Boilermakers are skilled craftsmen who contribute to every sector, from shipyards to construction sites, earning an impressive average yearly payout of $66,920 as of May 2022. Though the field forecasts a 4% decline from 2022 to 2032, there’s no shortage of opportunities — with approximately 1,100 annual openings anticipated due to workforce transitions and retirements.

2. Electricians

Electricians, bearing the weight of our electrified world, received a median annual wage of $60,240 as of May 2022. Jobs in this essential field are projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, above the average rate for all occupations. Around 73,500 new openings each year underscore the trade’s robustness as workers transition or retire.

3. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers

The industry for elevator and escalator installers and repairers is, fittingly, on an uphill ride. Elevator and escalator installers and repairers enjoy an elevated median annual wage of $99,000 as of May 2022. Although forecasted growth from 2022 to 2032 is minimal, around 2,100 annual openings in this niche sector emphasize its stability, mostly driven by workforce retirements or transitions.

4. Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters

With their critical role in society, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earn a commendable median income of $60,090 annually, reflecting data from May 2022. The job landscape exhibits steady evolution with a projected 2% growth from 2022 to 2032, which aligns with the average rate for all occupations. This robust trade, featuring an estimated 42,600 annual job openings, assures a stable future for professionals in this field.

How Much Will It Cost Me To Learn a Skilled Trade?

When it comes to learning a skilled trade, an investment between $12,000 and $20,000 is typical. This cost, however, isn’t set in stone. Depending on factors such as the learning institution and the complexity of the chosen course, you might find the price swings higher or lower.

Courses that are more involved or require a higher level of specialization may edge toward the higher end of this scale. While some schools may offer financial aid, it’s important to note that you will most likely be responsible for covering the cost of your education.

Where Can I Learn Skilled Trades?

It starts with understanding the requirements. Some jobs need you to have professional certificates, while others might require you to complete an apprenticeship. Your path could lead you to apprenticeships or trade schools.

Choosing the right trade school is key; it’s how you get that edge in a tough job market.  That is why our online skilled trade programs are offered in conjunction with a local school.  Thinking of starting now? Get in touch with us, ask your questions or secure your spot.

Let’s work together to build your future in the skilled trades.

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