Are you interested in working with your hands or learning more about what it might take to make a career for yourself in the trades, but not sure where to start? We hear you. Knowing what resources are out there to help you make an informed decision on what path is best for you can get confusing.
We’re here to help. The trades industry can often be overlooked as a career path, but with an estimated 880,000 new jobs in infrastructure created by 2030 in a variety of work industries like construction, warehouse and logistics, delivery and more, there’s never been a better time to consider joining the trades.
First things first, there’s a few pre-requisites you’ll want to consider before jumping into the trades:
- Earn a high school diploma (or GED). You will need to have a high school education for most jobs so you’ll most likely want to earn your GED as a first step into a career in the trades.
- Take courses at a community college or technical/vocational school. Figure out what you want to do! Think about what interests you the most about joining the trades. What skill might you like to hone in on? There’s countless options from plumbing to welding to home renovation. Then, research any community colleges or technical schools in your area. You’ll be able to gain hands on knowledge and hone your skills from professionals.
- Start an apprenticeship. Now comes the fun part. Get your hands dirty by working directly in the industry you want to be apart of. You’ll gain valuable hands-on information and have a longer period of time to work on bigger projects with the oversight of an expert laborer.
- Become licensed through a union or trade association. Generally this means you’ll earn the tile of Journeyman or Master and will be officially certified to start work.
- Continue to hone your skills and earn more niche certifications. There’s endless opportunities to expand your skills in the trades industry, whether you want to become more of an expert in one specific field or try something new.
Below is a list of more resources or organizations that can be beneficial as you start your journey in the trades.
Explore the Trades
Explore the Trades is a great resource for anyone just getting started, with a mission focusing on getting more workers into the plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical trades. With resources for anyone new to the trades, parents and educators of students, and even a quiz to help you figure out what career path might be a good fit for you, there’s ample help to help you make the best educated decision for you.
NAWIC Career Center
It can be daunting as a women to join what has been a traditionally male dominated industry. A group of women working in the construction industry in Texas founded the National Association of Women in Construction in 1953. Today, the organization has more than 115 chapters across the U.S. and helps to provides its members with career development opportunities and a network of support. One of the best resources the NAWIC offers is its Career Center, a thorough, easily searchable database of job opportunities.
People Ready Skilled Trades
The site is a great place to find out the latest news in the trades industry and to learn more about a particular career you might be interested in with profiles on specific tradespeople and articles about the future of the trades. People Ready Skilled Trades connects tradespeople and work across a wide range of trades, including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, solar installations and more.
TradeSchools.net helps students find academic or vocational trade schools for training. They offer search by program or location to help find the best match for you.