The Trades Need YOU!
Why Parents Should Be Pushing their Kids Toward the Skilled Trades
It’s time to change the narrative around trade labor jobs. College, Bachelor’s degrees, and even Master’s degrees are constantly being shoved down high-schoolers throats by parents and teachers alike. However, a four-year degree and traditional college education aren’t always the best option for every student.
I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t encourage your kids to go to college, what I’m saying is explore and encourage a skilled trade as a career option. A four-year Bachelor’s degree has a lot of benefits and can propel a young person into a great career; however, speaking from experience, finding a job right out of college with a four-year degree alone is getting more and more difficult. Luckily, with skilled trades opportunities there’s another option for highschoolers that is affordable, secure, and beneficial.
There’s more skilled laborers retiring than there are entering the field, and the current laborers aren’t getting any younger. If you’ve tried to get a remodeling project done recently, you’ve probably felt the impact of this issue through longer project completion times and more expensive materials and labor. With the ongoing pandemic leading to a spike in demand for home improvement and remodeling work and the “Great Resignation” leaving more job opportunities, we need electricians, welders, plumbers, carpenters, truck drivers, and construction workers now more than ever.
If you’re still not convinced, here’s 10 reasons you should push your high schooler towards a career in skilled labor.
- Trade School is Cheaper and Takes Less Time to Complete than College: College is around $10,000/year for tuition while a trade school is around $5,000-$15,000 total! That 10,000 doesn’t even include housing and books. Additionally, trade schools take on average 3-18 months to complete compared to two to five years for traditional college.
- Can Start Making Money Right Away: A key benefit to skilled trade jobs is the opportunity for paid apprenticeships where students will get paid while they’re in school to learn their trade from a skilled professional! Rather than waiting four years until you’re done with school to start making money, most trade schools and certifications can be completed in 12-18 months and offer paid apprenticeships and on the job training. No unpaid internships for these students!
- The Trades Pay Well: While the exact wage depends on skill level and experience, trade jobs offer a great, competitive starting wage with lots of room for growth and raises. Pay ranges anywhere from $37,000 to $89,000 depending on the trade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the median annual wage for construction occupations was $48,610 in May 2020, with the median annual wage for all occupations being $41,950.”
- You Get Benefits: Most trades positions offer a benefits package in addition to a competitive wage. There is also an opportunity to join a union with a skilled trades position.
- Safety and Proper Training is Required: While these jobs may sound more dangerous than an office job, you won’t have to worry as much as you’d think about your child getting hurt in the trades with their extensive safety training and procedures. To ensure complete safety throughout their entire career, safety training happens continuously.
- There’s a Ton of Trades to Choose From: Does your child like to work with their hands? If the answer is yes, there’s likely a trade that’d suit them. A few trade options include: auto-work and transportation, boilermaking, carpentry, plumbing, building inspection, masonry, maintenance, roofing, sheet metal, electric work, and there’s more.
- Job Security: Skilled trade work is considered “recession proof” because society can’t function without skilled labor. As long as people need houses and buildings, they need skilled labor. When there isn’t residential work, there’s commercial; specialty trades in particular are always in high demand. This is evident now more than ever with the trade labor shortage we saw before the pandemic and that’s continuing to pose a problem. No job shortage in this field!
- The Trades Report High Job Satisfaction: If the phrase, “if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life,” rings true, the trades may be the place to be. According to Angi, “83% of tradespeople report being either somewhat or extremely satisfied in their choice of work.” Everyone knows how difficult it can be and the toll it takes to have a job you don’t enjoy, encouraging your kids to explore a trade may be a way to help them avoid that pain.
- Tradework is Hands-On From the Start: If your child likes to work with their hands, they may also learn best with a hands-on technique. In the trades, you receive on the job, supervised training as you learn the trade. Additionally, there’s a tangible accomplishment when you’re done working. There’s no better feeling than seeing your hard work pay off and being able to say, “I did that.”
- There’s Room to Grow in the Field: In the trades, there’s room to grow within a company and field. Starting off as an apprentice, then becoming certified and up to journeyperson, and eventually becoming a master of the trade and capable of opening their own business and having employees under them. And of course, with an increase in responsibilities and title comes an increase in pay.
If we want to try and fix the labor shortage, we need to be encouraging young people to explore the trades as a career option. By doing so, you can sleep peacefully at night knowing your child is being extensively trained for their field, being paid well, has benefits, won’t be unemployed any time soon, and that any formal trades education and programs cost a fraction of college tuition!