Why It’s Important to Consider a Skilled Trade as a Career Option

For many people, the pressure to find a good-paying job right out of college adds stress to an already overwhelming event in their lives. Many college graduates today are finding that it’s difficult--or impossible--to find their dream job even months after graduation, a disappointment that often leads to them taking a job they don’t really want just to pay the bills. For older adults who choose to go to college, not being able to find a job in their field can be an even bigger letdown, as they often have families who depend on them.

One of the ways this can be avoided is by choosing a trade to become skilled at. Over the years, learning a trade has been considered "blue-collar” and has been linked to a lot of hard work for not much pay, but nowadays, that just isn’t true. While one can’t expect a meteoric rise to management with a six-figure paycheck within a few years with most trade jobs--as opposed to, say, a lawyer or doctor--many of these skilled trades pay well simply because of the demand for them.

If you’re thinking about learning a trade or going back to college, here are a few things you should consider.

You’ll save money at school

There are many benefits to acquiring a 4-year degree, but one of the biggest downsides is the cost. Traditional colleges cost a lot more in the long run than trade schools, and they take more time to complete, meaning most graduates find themselves in quite a bit of debt from student loans when they’re just starting out in the workforce. Not only that, but because trade school takes a lot less time--most have programs that can be completed in two years or less--you can graduate and start making money long before someone in a traditional college can. Go here for a list of skilled trades and how in-demand they are.

Job security

With skilled trades, you’ll pretty much always have job security because a person can’t just walk into your place of employment and start doing what you do. Job training for a skilled trade is very different from any other job, and when you’re good at your chosen profession, your skillset will be in high demand. Not only that, but your trade most likely can’t be outsourced or phased out; while there may not always be a need for a salesperson, there will almost certainly be a need for people who have a working knowledge of plumbing and the mechanics of a car.

Homeadvisor.com has put together a helpful guide for contractors on what to look for in an employee, and it can also help you get a feel for what employers are looking for in the trade industry.

Less competition

With skilled trades, you usually don’t have to worry about too much competition in the job market because there are plenty to go around, especially if you are good at what you do. The key is to look outside your city for the job you want. While making a move may not sound desirable, it’s possible that there are thousands of unfilled trade positions scattered across various states, so do some research before giving up on the idea of learning a skill. Not only that, but the older generations will be retiring soon, leaving several thousand job openings for the next generation.

"You can get a particular skill in a particular field and make more than a college graduate," says Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. According to Carnevale, the average electrician makes $5,000 more per year than an average college graduate, with about 300,000 electrician jobs opening up in the next decade.

"The baby-boom workers are retiring and leaving lots of openings for millennials,” he says.

Learning a skilled trade has certainly not gone out of fashion over the years; we simply have to look at it in a new way. Training for a job that will keep you employed--and well-paid--for years to come will allow you to plan for your future without worry.


Photo Courtesy: Photo via Pixabay by Pexels

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