Over the years, society has praised young adults for graduating college and landing a white-collar job, making it seem like that’s the only way to be successful. With schools removing shop classes and guidance counselors emphasizing the importance of picking a major, few students even know there are other career paths available to them.
And those that are aware of skilled trade jobs have been told that blue-collar careers are a fallback for those who aren’t “cut out” for college. But some people are naturally more hands-on than others and don’t thrive in an academic environment. That doesn’t mean they’re somehow less intelligent; it means they learn differently and would likely be a good fit for a trade job that takes a different approach to education.
There are plenty of lucrative trades to learn that span a range of interests and skill sets. Curious about what trades make the most money? To learn about some of the highest-paying trade jobs, read our blog: 8 High-Earning Trades That Make Over $60k Without a College Degree.
In this blog, we discuss the benefits of pursuing careers in the trades and list some of the best trades for young adults to consider.
Benefits of Pursuing Skilled Trades Jobs
While traditional four-year college degrees have long been the go-to path for many, careers in the trades offer an exciting alternative that comes with a host of benefits.
Given the skilled trades shortage, skilled trades jobs are in high demand. With the older generation of skilled workers retiring and the stigma around the trades influencing the career decisions of young adults, a significant skills gap has emerged.
This shortage means there are ample opportunities for newcomers to step in and fill the void by learning a trade. Instead of spending months without work, which is the reality for many college graduates, young adults can find work immediately and enjoy job security when they enter the trades.
No college debt
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree can leave you buried under a mountain of student loan debt, the skilled trades offer a debt-free pathway to a successful career. Apprenticeships and trade schools often provide hands-on training and education without the hefty price tag.
During the 2021-22 school year, the average cost of attending a public, four-year college was $10,740 for in-state students. Trade schools, on the other hand, can cost as little as $5,000 per year. Plus, you can often learn a trade and enter the workforce in 18 months to 24 months, allowing you to begin earning money that much sooner.
Contrary to popular belief, skilled trades jobs can be highly lucrative. Tradesmen’s compensation can quickly rival or even surpass that of college graduates. And, with overtime opportunities and bonuses, tradesmen can further increase their earning potential.
Additionally, given the skilled labor shortage, employers are serious about finding the next generation of workers, so they’re offering even more competitive compensation packages to tradesmen. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is also driving the need for a higher level of skill. When tradesmen develop in-demand skills, they get paid more.
Many skilled trades jobs are at the forefront of technological innovation. As industries like manufacturing embrace automation, robotics, AI, etc., tradesmen are at the center of implementing and maintaining these cutting-edge technologies. This blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology ensures that skilled trades remain relevant and exciting fields to be a part of, especially for young adults who have an affinity for technology.
Some fear that technology will replace skilled workers, but not all human skills can be replicated by machines. As the trades become more advanced, it opens up opportunities for tradesmen to learn new skills and further develop existing ones to stay competitive in the job market.
Careers In The Trades for Young Adults to Consider
Whether you just graduated high school or have come to the realization that college isn’t for you, the following vocations are great trades for young adults to consider learning.
Most skilled trades jobs are entry-level, requiring only a high school diploma or equivalent. You’ll learn the trade through on-the-job training, an apprenticeship, or enrolling in a vocational program. It’s also common to get paid to work these jobs in trade school if the role requires post-secondary education.
In this section, we briefly list some of the best trades to learn.
In a world driven by technology and power, electricians are essential professionals. Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories. As the demand for clean energy and advanced technologies grows, electricians find themselves at the forefront of innovation and progress.
Millwrights are responsible for assembling, installing, troubleshooting, and maintaining industrial machinery and equipment. This trade requires a deep understanding of mechanics, hydraulics, and precision alignment. Millwrights often work in manufacturing plants, construction sites, and other industrial settings.
Construction workers are the backbone of infrastructure projects, playing a crucial role in building everything from towering skyscrapers to residential homes. As a construction worker, you'll perform various physical tasks, such as erecting structures, unloading construction materials, and operating heavy machinery to pour concrete and demolish buildings.
Behind the scenes of every functioning building, there's a network of pipes and plumbing systems. Plumbers are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining these vital systems, ensuring the flow of clean water and proper drainage. They often collaborate with general contractors, electricians, and other construction professionals.
If you have an interest in craftsmanship and an eye for design, a career in carpentry might be the perfect fit for you. Carpenters work with wood and tools such as drills, chisels, sanders, saws, and nail guns to design, build, install, and repair a wide range of structures, from furniture and cabinets to intricate architectural details.
Boilermakers assemble, install, maintain, and repair boilers, vats, and other large containers that hold liquids and gases. This trade is essential in industries such as manufacturing, energy, and chemical processing. Boilermakers work with heavy materials and use specialized tools to ensure the structural integrity and functionality of these crucial vessels.
Find Careers In The Trades
With rewarding opportunities that span a range of industries, skill sets, and interests, there’s likely a skilled trades job that’s the right fit for you.
If you’re looking for careers in trades like manufacturing and construction, contact Skillwork. As America’s premier skilled trades travel staffing agency, we help tradesmen find in-demand jobs across the country.
While we may have some jobs available in the trades for young adults mentioned in this blog, our open positions are always changing as employers come to us looking for workers. We encourage you to apply now to speak with a Skillwork recruiter about your eligibility for open positions.