Many industries offer professionals the opportunity to learn a skilled trade through vocational school, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training. Learning a trade is an excellent way to begin a rewarding and lucrative career. If you are interested in working with your hands and starting your career while you’re young, then you may be interested in learning more about different, high-demand trades. In this article, we discuss what trades are, explore the benefits of learning a trade, and share some of the most popular types of trades across industries.
The trades refer to manual labour jobs that require training or a highly specific skill set. Examples of types of trade jobs including being a plumber, hairstylist, or landscaper. While you can choose to go to a vocational school to receive occupation-specific training in your desired trade, employers may provide on-the-job training depending on which job role or industry you choose. Trades exist within a wide range of industries, making it easy for professionals to find a career that is both financially and professionally satisfying.
While the benefits of learning a trade may vary slightly from one industry to the next, there are several common benefits, including:
Although many trade professions do not require a degree, they typically have an earning potential that equals or exceeds the average salaries of individuals who have completed an undergraduate program. Unions are also very common in many trade industries and they can empower employees to negotiate for higher wages. Once you have gained enough hands-on experience working in your chosen trade, you may even consider starting your own company, which can help you generate more income.
One of the most popular benefits of pursuing a trade career is that you can start gaining work experience and earning a desirable salary right after high school or a two-year trade program. Entering the workforce while young can help you accumulate more wealth throughout your lifetime. It can also help you save up for large purchases, such as a new car or a house, while many of your peers are still attending school.
Since most trades do not require a degree, you can begin your career without collecting a significant amount of student loan debt. Trade professionals can save a lot of money by attending a cost-effective vocational program, pursuing an apprenticeship, or starting an entry-level position after they graduate high school. This can provide you with more financial stability as a young adult.
If you enjoy working with your hands to build, install, or create new things, you may find a trade career very fulfilling. Professionals who work in the trades hone their skills to become highly specialized. Many trades are well-respected and held in high esteem, which can help you take pride in your work.
Although the job outlook for trades may vary based on the industry, most trade jobs project strong prospects in the future. By mastering a trade, you can learn a useful skill set that is in high demand. This can provide you with job security and opportunities to advance throughout your career.
Some of the most popular residential trades include:
National average salary: $48,826 per year
Primary duties: a mason works with natural materials such as brick, concrete, and stone to build structures. They can work on both commercial and residential projects. Some of their primary duties include setting up project sites, diagnosing structural issues, rehabilitating buildings, and using construction equipment.
National average salary: $67,626 per year
Primary duties: a carpenter installs and repairs structures made from wood, concrete, and other raw materials. Some projects a carpenter may work on include building furniture or installing kitchen cabinets. The primary duties of a carpenter include reading blueprints, building frameworks, and repairing damaged fixtures.
For more career options in residential fields, consider one of these trades:
Some of the most popular cosmetic trades include:
National average salary: $41,543 per year
Primary duties: a nail technician is a cosmetic professional who specializes in caring for clients’ fingernails and toenails. Some services nail technicians offer include manicures, pedicures, and nail shaping. They may use their creativity to craft unique nail designs for clients and offer hand and foot massages to promote relaxation.
National average salary: $61,711 per year
Primary duties: barbers specialize in cutting, styling, and caring for their client’s hair. They also offer beard and moustache trimming and shaving services. Barbers may use their skill set to help their clients achieve their desired look by using different techniques, such as tapering.
If helping others look and feel great appeals to you, here are a few more trades you might consider:
Laser hair removal technician
Some of the most popular medical trades include:
National average salary: $80,150 per year
Primary duties: a registered nurse provides patient care and provides emotional support to patients and their family members. They usually work with a team of other nurses, doctors, and medical professionals. They may also oversee a team of licensed practical nurses, home health aides, and nursing assistants.
National average salary: $82,221 per year
Primary duties: dental hygienists are licensed dental professionals who administer preventative oral care under the supervision of a dentist. Some of their primary job duties include cleaning patients’ teeth and inspecting their mouths to ensure they are healthy. Dental hygienists also teach patients how to maintain or improve good oral health.
If you are interested in pursuing a medical trade, some options you can explore include:
Licensed practical nurse
Medical laboratory technician
Some of the most popular energy and industrial trades include:
National average salary: $51,846 per year
Primary duties: a welder uses specialized equipment to fuse pieces of metal together by applying intense heat. They also shape and polish the final metal product to ensure it adheres to all assembly and safety protocols. They may work as braziers, cutters, solderers, or with large infrastructures.
Related: What Does a Welder Do: Duties and Potential Jobs
National average salary: $51,757 per year
Primary duties: an HVAC mechanic repairs, maintains, and installs heating and cooling systems. They may work on commercial or residential projects. Some of their primary job duties include identifying potential heating and cooling issues, recommending energy-efficient options to customers, and ensuring all units are up to code.
Here are some additional industrial and energy field trades you can explore:
Automotive service technician
Wind turbine technician
CNC machine tool programmer
Rotary drill operator
Electric power line technician
Heavy equipment operator
Some of the most popular technology trades include:
National average salary: $75,422 per year
Primary duties: a software engineer is a skilled technology professional who designs computer programs. They start by identifying what their customers need to determine what functions and features to include and the level of security required. Then they develop software instructions to share with programmers who write and test the computer code.
National average salary: $65,196 per year
Primary duties: application developers are IT professionals who create software applications for computers, mobile devices, and other technology platforms. They use market research and client consultations to develop user-friendly applications. Application developers are also responsible for creating upgrades for existing applications, performing maintenance tests, and staying informed about the technology industry.
Technologically inclined professionals may excel in one of the following tech trades:
Technical support specialist
Search engine optimization specialist
Some additional skilled trades you might consider include:
National average salary: $55,033 per year
Primary duties: interior designers develop strategies to make indoor building spaces purposeful, visually appealing, and safe. They work closely with their clients to identify their needs, ensure each project stays within the designated budget, and create blueprints or models of final designs. Interior designers often collaborate with architects, engineers, technicians, and stakeholders to make sure they complete projects on schedule.
National average salary: $77,270 per year
Primary duties: a landscape technician creates gardens, lawns, and designs structures for commercial and residential properties. They work closely with their clients to sketch designs that meet their specifications and source the right plants and materials for each project. Some of the primary duties of a landscape technician include preparing job site plans, calculating costs, tracking project progress, and evaluating the environmental impact a design may have on the surrounding area.
There are many excellent trade options to consider as a career, including:
Air traffic controller