5 Reasons Why Working in the Trades Beats a White-Collar Career

You might have heard “working in the trades” in conversations about career choices. But what does that mean, and why should you care? In the broadest sense, “the trades” refer to jobs that require advanced skills that you learn through specialized and generally short-term programs. The trades include industries like automotive, manufacturing, and cosmetology. For this post, however, we’re going to focus on construction-related jobs.

So, let’s look at the top five reasons careers in trades like construction, plumbing, electrical work, or masonry might be the right choice for you.

Avoid Massive Student Loan Debt – There’s a misconception that education is the key to unlocking your earning potential. The thing is, there are many paths to a lucrative career. And we all know people who have a degree but can’t find a job in their field – let alone one that pays well. When you opt for a trades career, you’ll get an education without burying yourself in debt.

While you can attend a trade school (typically two years or less), the cost is not comparable to a standard university. Often, it is possible to find an apprenticeship where you can learn while getting paid to work. In many roles, you can get free on-the-job training or get any necessary training paid for by your employer.

When you consider starting salaries and the cost of education, statistics show that by pursuing a career in the trades, you’ll be way ahead of the game. In just five years, you could be on the plus side of earnings, hovering around $80,000. On the other hand, a college grad is likely to still be in the hole to the tune of around $100,000.

Train for In-Demand Jobs – The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) backs up what those in the trades, especially construction, have been saying for years: The future is bright! BLS projects over seven million construction jobs by 2026.

In the building industry, the number of workers retiring exceeds the number of younger workers coming in. Somebody needs to fill those positions. With some training and the right attitude, that could be YOU! The skills you learn while working in the trades are completely transferable. You can take those skills anywhere and find great work!

Earn While You Learn – A career in a trade like carpentry or masonry generally begins with an apprenticeship. That means you’re learning the ins and outs from a journeyman who once stood in your shoes. And while you’re on the job, you’re earning a paycheck. In addition to the earn-while-you-learn benefit, apprenticeships often include career-building certifications that can open a lot of doors for you. The great news is that apprenticeships cost far less than a four-year college education. If you find the right company, they might even fund all or part of your schooling.

Take Your Skills Anywhere – Any certifications you might earn, plus your experience in the construction trades, make you very marketable. If exploring other parts of the country is a dream of yours, you can practically write your own ticket after you have a few years under your belt. Skilled tradespeople are in demand just about everywhere.

Build the Foundation for Your Own Business – Early in your career, you’ll be working for someone else, honing your skills in your particular discipline. However, if someday you’d like to be the boss and own your own company, this experience puts you in a great position to learn how to manage the business side of a job or project. By keeping your eyes open and asking questions, you can gain what essentially amounts to a master’s degree of knowledge without paying the hefty price tag that comes with it.

Intrigued by the possibilities the trades may hold for you? You can learn more by visiting the WorkforceNOW® section of our website. On the opportunities page, you’ll find a list of internships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and company-funded training available in the York County, PA area that can start you on the path to a fulfilling career that doesn’t require a lifetime of debt.

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