Everything You Need to Know About Skilled Trades

Skilled Trades are Fundamental to our Society

America is facing a skilled labor shortage which is affecting the efficiency of different industries and impacting the success of the economy. Only through an effective and accessible program of schooling and training opportunities can the skills gap be bridged.

In just two months of 2021, 388,345 jobs were seeking skilled workers, suggesting either a decline in the number of skilled laborers available or an increase in the number of positions requiring skilled labor.

Whether you’re interested in finding skilled trades jobs or simply interested to learn more - here you’ll discover what skilled trades are, which sectors offer them, and what qualifications are needed.

What Exactly are Skilled Trades?

Skilled traders are different from unskilled workers. While low-skilled employees don’t require specific training to effectively complete their tasks, skilled trade jobs are filled by applicants with particular knowledge or skills obtained in a learning environment.

Unskilled work includes such sectors as fruit picking and cleaning, which don’t require expertise. They are low-risk activities. Skilled workers complete tasks that can be dangerous if managed by someone without the required knowledge.

For a worker to be considered skilled, they must have gained the tools for their role through college, apprenticeships, or training programs.

Skilled trades services cannot be completed by anyone, and evidence of adequate training and learning must be provided to obtain a skilled job.

Which Jobs are Considered Skilled Trades?

Two of the most popular skilled trades careers are electricians and plumbers - the former responsible for working with live wires and the latter responsible for working with running water. Both are high-risk activities that can lead to electrocution or flooding. There are 711,200 electricians and 469,000 plumbers operating in America.

Other career paths that lead to the skilled trades sector include welding, masonry, construction, mechanic, cooking, and teaching. Pharmacists, technicians, and doctors are all skilled workers, too - doctors undertaking one of the longest periods of training of all professions.

What Kind of Schooling do Skilled Trades Require?

To develop the unique skills needed to join a skilled industry, you’d need to attend a learning environment. Here you can earn the qualifications necessary to secure employment. For most skilled roles, you’ll be required to study for at least three years - learning the craft and specifics of the industry in detail.

This learning tends to happen in a community college. Completion of a course in your chosen area will result in you receiving trades certification - which is vital when applying for jobs in your specialist sector.

You could instead, or additionally, learn skills through completing an apprenticeship. In this type of learning, you’d be working in the real-life sector - building experience and developing your skillset. You’d often shadow qualified skilled workers, able to ask questions and follow their example.

The benefit of completing an apprenticeship over studying at a community college is that many apprenticeships become full-time jobs, making apprenticeships more desirable for people seeking employment.

Attending a skilled trades college or completing an apprenticeship are the best ways to secure a good job in a skilled trades industry.

Standard schooling doesn’t go into enough detail to award the required qualifications, so it’s not a suitable alternative to college or apprenticeships.

Benefits of Learning a Skilled Trade

Learning a skilled trade has a range of benefits. These benefits are unique to the skilled sector and aren’t enjoyed by those in low-skilled work.

Firstly, you’ll experience greater job satisfaction because you can put into practice the skills you’ve obtained, providing a rewarding feeling of accomplishment.

Skilled professions also offer higher wages than unskilled sectors, making your investment in college worthwhile.

Being in a skilled industry also offers more opportunities for promotion - and thus higher wages - because you have the skill set to teach newer members of staff in a management role.

Final Thoughts

The skilled trade industries are vital for the American economy. People working in high-skill trade jobs are responsible for fixing boilers, teaching children, installing cables, and performing surgery - among other essential tasks. Without skilled workers, our society wouldn’t function effectively or safely.

Skilled trades require a degree of learning, whether in an academic setting or through an apprenticeship. Some skilled jobs require shorter training periods of three years, while others may take as much as ten years to complete.

The benefits of joining the skilled economy are greater job satisfaction, higher wages, and good progression opportunities.