Traditionally, jobs in the skilled trades have been regarded rather dismissively, good only for those who were not academically oriented enough for college. Many believed these kinds of jobs could not provide the kind of income that a college education could.
But these stereotypes have become outdated. The skilled trades today not only require a great deal more technical expertise than in the past because of advances in technology, but they are more lucrative as well. Here are several reasons why, if you are looking for a career or looking to change careers, making a move to the skilled trades is a good idea.
Your trade skills are in high demand. Here’s how this can help you find a better job.
1. The training does not take as long.
Nor is it as expensive as getting a college degree. Annual expenses for four-year colleges can range from almost $20,000 to $50,000 or more. Most skilled-trade training programs, however, take anywhere from six months to two years and cost only about $30,000. So, not only are you saving a great deal of time and money compared to a college education, you are out in the workforce sooner earning money.
2. The pay is good
It is true that top-paying white-collar jobs do pay a lot better than blue-collar work. But there is not a big difference between the two if you look at average incomes and starting salaries. Comparing national averages for people working in skilled trades with those working in white-collar positions, the figures show that the white-collar folks earn on average just $1,000 a year more.
Moreover, starting salaries for skilled trades compare favorably with the average starting salary of college graduates, which is about $48,000 a year. For example, the starting salary is $49,000 for an aircraft mechanic, $44,000 for an electrician, and $49,000 for a pipefitter. Salaries for jobs at the higher end of the skilled-trade scale, such as locomotive engineers and elevator repairmen, are in the $60,000 to $70,000 range.
3. Job security
The job security for skilled-trade positions is likely better than white-collar jobs. Skilled-trade jobs cannot be outsourced like IT jobs. Plumbing, electrical work, and the work done by mechanics and machinists is the kind of hands-on work that requires a person to be on-site to do.
4. Job openings
There are more skilled-trade job openings than there are people to fill them. Millions more blue-collar than white-collar workers will be retiring in the next 15 years. In addition, within the next few years, 40 percent of all job growth is expected to be in the skilled trades area.
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