Job Growth across 3 Skilled Trades

skilled trade job growth

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If you prefer working with your hands rather than working in an office, you might want to consider getting vocational training for an in-demand skilled trade.

1. Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (HVAC-R)

hvac technician

  • Job Overview: These are the technicians who install, maintain, and repair heating and cooling systems inside buildings. They may also address ventilation and refrigeration problems that arise. 1
  • Salary: Median pay in this field runs $21.69 per hour for Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (49-9021), states the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2
  • Job Growth: Job growth in this field is expected to be 14 percent over the next eight years—much faster than average. That means job prospects will likely be good for individuals with HVAC training.
  • How to Get Started: The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends training at an accredited vocational school for a period of 6 months to 2 years. Certifications and licenses may be required in certain states and areas of the industry and in some cases may even increase career opportunities. 3
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Advancement opportunities are best for skilled workers familiar with and comfortable with technology. As systems become more and more complex, consistent training is necessary to keep up with skills and learn new ones. 4

2. Electricians


  • Job Overview: The term “electrician” covers a wide industry, but for the most part, those who enter into this field will find themselves responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of electrical wiring, fixtures, and equipment. This may mean working indoors or out, in commercial or residential environments. 5
  • Salary: The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the median pay of Electricians (47-2111) as $24.94 per hour or $51,880 annually.
  • Job Growth: The projected job growth for this industry is just as promising as it is for HVAC-R technicians: 14 percent through 2024. 6
  • How to Get Started: To become one of these professionals, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED, usually followed by electrician training at a technical school. Depending upon where you land a position, you may be required to obtain a license. 7
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests training in as many areas of this field as possible to provide the best opportunities for advancement. Those who can install industrial component wiring as well as perform electronic systems repair, for instance, will have more opportunities for advancement. 8

3. Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators

boiler room operator

  • Job Overview: In this industry, you’ll manage boilers, stationary engines, and generators to provide power to buildings. 9
  • Salary: The annual median salary reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators (51-8021) is $58,530 annually. This equates to $28.14 per hour.
  • Job Growth: Job growth in this sector is expected to peak as older workers begin retiring. 10
  • How to Get Started: As this industry becomes more complex, applicants who have received specialized technical training will likely have the best opportunities. This means pursuing training at an accredited technical school. 11
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Those who obtain licensure and certifications within the field stand the best chance of career advancement.

Get Career Ready in a Short Amount of Time

All of these industries provide strong median salaries without the need for 4-year college degrees. If you’re ready to start a new career, consider pursuing training in one of these in-demand fields to give you a quick leg-up on your future.

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