Skilled trades careers are those labor jobs which require specific training, such as a carpenter, a tile setter or an electrician. Much of the labor involved with skilled trades jobs is manual work and can be physically demanding. Many skilled tradesmen are self-employed, but a number of them find employment working for larger companies. Typically the hours are full-time and, at times, can even be long ones, extending into the evening or onto weekends when a construction deadline must be met.
Skilled Trades Education
A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for most types of skilled trades jobs. Technical and trade schools have courses and provide certifications on many skilled trades careers, but numerous tradesmen glean their skills through apprenticeships, learning on the job as they work for an experienced craftsman. Electricians are required to be licensed through the state in which they work, and typically must continue their education to stay up to date on building codes. Electricians must also renew their licenses periodically.
Skilled Trades Job Market
Skilled trades jobs are expected to increase faster than the national average of all jobs, which is 11 percent, over the next 10 years. Population and business growth, remodel and repair needs and maintenance of older structures are the reasons the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives for a roughly 20 percent average job growth rate in skilled trades careers.
Skilled Trades Salaries
You'll earn well above minimum wage with a skilled trade, but you'll put in a lot of hours and hard work for the money. The median annual wage among skilled trade jobs is around $42,000, but it does vary depending on which field you get into. Tile and marble setters average $37,040 per year, carpenters earn $39,940 and electricians make the most of the three, averaging $49,840 annually.