Planning for Long-Term Success in the Skilled Trades

skilled trade opportunities

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If you’re not interested in four years of school but still want a rewarding career, trade school can put you on a path toward professional success, but before you become an HVACR technician or any other skilled worker, it’s important to plan ahead and take the right steps to ensure your future success. Here are five strategies to help.

1. Obtain Certifications

hvac tech working on unit

Enrolling in vocational training programs like HVAC training and electromechanical technology is a great start, but getting a certification like NATE can give you a competitive edge that will make you more marketable to employers. Not only will can it increase your earning potential, but your customers can feel more confident in the work you do because you took the time to learn a specialty and tested for certification. 1

2. Learn “Soft” Skills

Going to a trade school will teach the basic, technical skills to get an entry level job out of school. However, technical skills will only get you so far. Developing soft – non technical skills – like customer service, time management, and paying attention to detail will be useful to be successful in your first job and future ones. 2

3. Attend Competitions, Conferences & Trade Shows

If you want to become a full member of the HVAC community, you can start now. Attend as many industry events as you can, as these events allow you to get an impression of your future career field, network with fellow professionals and potential employers, and learn about the latest trends your industry. Some events also offer workshops and certification exams. 3 Examples include ASHRAE Annual Conference and the AHR Expo. Also, pay attention to events that focus on broader industry themes such as sustainability or building. It is important to stay competitive and relevant while marketing yourself as an interested and engaged professional.

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4. Join Professional Organizations and Network

Professional organizations like associations or unions are still the top choice for skilled workers who want to receive real career support, access to job opportunities and to connect with their peers and industry leaders. Consider, joining a professional industry organization to stay on top of industry news and innovations. Like pursuing certification, being an active member of a trade association shows that you are dedicated to your industry and is willing to do more than just the bare minimum.

5. Seek Career Services for Help

Trade schools want their graduates to succeed, so they provide professional career development resources for students. Students of RSI can reach out to the Career Services to help students write resumes, find and apply for jobs, prepare for interviews, pursue professional certifications, and anything else you may need to succeed in your field.

Prepare to Excel

As you gain valuable skills and learn a new trade, it’s important to make the most of your preparation. If you have concrete goals in mind and you take advantage of every opportunity to develop your profile, you will likely have more career options available to you in the future. Instead of focusing only on your next step, try taking a broad approach for long-term career success: think about your entire journey and make sure your choices reap long-term rewards.

Additional Sources

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