If you’re looking for long-term employment with good pay and lots of ongoing opportunities in your area to work, it might be worth considering the skilled trades as an employment option. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the best skilled trade jobs. These positions not only pay well, but are almost always hiring and offer you the chance to work with your head and your hands.
Plumber. As long as there are homes and offices, there will be the need for someone to keep their vital systems up and running. Plumbing is more than working as a glorified pipe unclogger and its pay commiserates with what the job really entails. Plumbers must have a detailed understanding of water flow, construction materials, and architecture. Average pay is between $26 and $43 per hour.
Crane operator. Those giant building building machines have to be operated by human hands. A crane operator is responsible for using his or her machine to load and unload expensive equipment and to help get large pieces of building material in place. Strong attention to detail and a willingness to work long hours is compensated with an income of up to $96,000.
Brick mason. Hands-on apprenticeships or the option to pursue a masonry certificate in as few as two semesters make this all-season job an attractive option. A brick mason, which is also called a block mason, or brick setter, may work in new construction, landscaping, or home repair and earn around $50,000 per year.
Machine mechanic. If you have an interest in how moving parts work together and don’t mind getting dirty, working on commercial and industrial machinery may be the job for you. A machine maintenance tech starts out at around $16 per hour while a more experienced professional can expect $41 per hour or more.
HVAC tech. As an HVAC technician, you’ll will be responsible for keeping residential, commercial, and industrial heating and cooling systems up and running and you’ll enjoy a salary of more than $43,000. You will maintain and perform preventative maintenance and diagnose issues. With an HVAC license you may work independently, as a property maintenance specialist, or for any number of large HVAC company United States.
Welder. According to Chron, welding is one of the most prolific blue-collar jobs in existence. It’s a physically exhausting job that requires a steady hand and a highly-technical mind. Nationally, welders can expect to make around $40,000 per year but those living in high-demand areas, such as Alaska and Texas, earn as much a $70,000 annually.
Carpentry. No matter where you live, there are entry-level carpenter jobs just waiting to be filled. Unskilled construction site assistants earn around $15 per hour. After a few years of experience your belt, you can expect to earn more than 2 ½ times that. Construction jobs are always in demand and will offer you the opportunity to stay at the forefront of architectural and design trends.
Elevator mechanic. If you can easily distinguish the difference between a hydraulic and traction lift system, you are a prime candidate for a position as an elevator mechanic. Jeremy Anderberg recently interviewed an elevator mechanic for The Art of Manliness blog. His questions reveal that elevator mechanics average more than $76,600 per year but that it’s one of the most difficult skilled trade jobs to acquire.
There are hundreds of trade schools across the country that can give you a hand up when looking for a new job. But if you’re ready to jump right in and roll your sleeves up, many industries offer training and apprenticeship programs for qualified candidates. While skilled trade jobs may not be as trendy as tech-centric careers, they are proven to stand the test of time and offer a stable foundation upon which to build a lifelong career.
*SPACC Blog Editor’s Note: Learn more about skilled trade training and program opportunities with the following SPACC members--Saint Paul College, Century College, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps. Also, if you would like a more in-depth look at the shift in thinking from pushing Bachelor’s Degrees to pushing skilled trades training certificates and degrees please consider looking at the PBS News Hour Program, seen on SPACC member tpt, found here. Finally, many of our SPACC members hire skilled trade employees, see our directory for a list of employers as well as the other school programs that host secondary opportunities such as certificates in construction management.