Exploring The Skilled Trades

3 Careers In The Skilled Trades That Can Pad Your Bank Account

Jason Burns
Sr Content Strategist

Posted 05/30/2019

 

If you're looking for a career path with excellent job security, a workday that's always different and an annual salary that leaves plenty of money for travel and other leisure activities in your off time, give these three trades a look.

1. Electrician

Electricians are one of the highest-paid trades, and while there are some classes you have to take, most of the training is hands-on, and you can find apprenticeships that get you straight into the action. Work your way up to master electrician and you can expect to see pay rates above $60,000 a year, with the top 10 percent of electricians earning almost $100,000 annually.

 

  • Mean annual wage: $54,110
  • Job growth outlook through 2026: 9 percent
  • Training: Requires classroom and on-the-job training through an apprenticeship.
  • Average length of training: It depends on your location and where you plan to work. Licensing requirements vary from state to state. To become a full-fledged journeyman electrician can take several years, but you can begin your career and get paid to learn through apprenticeships and training programs
  • Some of the subjects you might study:
    • Reading
    • Basic algebra, geometry, and other mathematics subjects including ratios and proportions
    • The physics of electricity
    • Electrical power distribution
    • Blueprint reading
    • Electrical safety
    • The National Electric Code
    • Electrical components like conduit, panels, switchboards, motors, controllers, generators, and transformers
    • Grounding systems and overcurrent devices

2. Plumber

From unclogging drains to installing eco-friendly bathrooms, plumbers are always in demand, and that's why they have the highest job growth rate of any trade on this list. The 16 percent projected growth from 2016 to 2026 means there's plenty of room for newcomers to get into the field. Commercial plumbing is one of the best-paid sectors and can net you over $80,000 a year, depending on your skills. Bonus: Commercial plumbing usually deals with new builds, which means the pipes are brand new and squeaky clean.

 

  • Mean annual wage: $52,590
  • Job growth outlook through 2026: 16 percent
  • Training: Requires classroom and on-the-job training through an apprenticeship.
  • Average length of training: The average length of an apprenticeship can be anywhere from 4-5 years. But remember, that is paid, on the job training.
  • Will I need to be certified? If you plan to go into business for yourself, you will need to take and pass the certification exam in your state. Generally, having 2-5 years experience should be sufficient in order to pass the exam.

3. HVAC Installation and Repair

If you've ever enjoyed central air conditioning or forced air heat, you can thank an HVAC installer for your comfortable climate. The HVAC industry is expected to enjoy a much faster than average job growth outlook and a hefty mean salary of almost $50,000, with master level and commercial installers usually seeing much more.

 

 

  • Mean annual wage: $47,080
  • Job growth outlook through 2026: 15 percent
  • Training: Requires classroom and on-the-job training through an apprenticeship.
  • Average length of training: The average length of an HVAC apprenticeship can be anywhere from 3-5 years.
  • Will I need to be licensed? Depending on the state that you are going to be performing HVAC work in, you may have to pass a state exam and get an HVAC license. All states are different, and some states do not require you to become licensed at all.

What career choice are you most interested in? Jump over to our career assessment tool to find out which skilled trades career best suits your skill set, then find training and career opportunities available in your area.