Skilled Trades for Millennials

skilled trades for millenials

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Millennials have some important decisions to make like what they want to do for a living. What type of training do they need? Are there jobs available for what you want to do?

Where Are the Jobs?

As experienced technicians who are close to retirement, fewer young people are filling the vacant positions they leave behind. That’s why younger people need to be encouraged to get training for skilled trades. 1

Skilled trade jobs include HVAC technicians, electricians, solar installers, construction workers, plumbers, carpenters and more. These hands-on careers are a far cry from simple assembly-line work, challenging the notion that blue-collar professions are menial jobs and the only way to earn decent money is with a four-year university degree.

Should Millennials Consider the Skilled Trades?

skilled electrician

Is going to an electrician school really the right option for you? What are the benefits of working in a skilled trade? Take a look:

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  • Short training time: Vocational schools have programs lasting between a few months and two years to complete. Compare this taking four years (sometimes more) to earn a Bachelor’s degree and often trade workers benefit from early entry into the workforce.
  • Lower tuition expenses: Tuitions at four-year universities cost more than private vocational schools and take longer to complete. Having to apply for less financial aid further increases the chance of entering the workforce quickly with little or no debt and potentially paying off student loans faster.
  • High earning potential: There is an assumption that everyone with a four-year degree earns more than trade workers. This is not true. Many in the skilled trades make more than a typical four-year college graduate. 2

How to Start your Skilled Trade Career

If going into the skilled trades sounds like a good option, here are the steps to consider:

  • Consider your career priorities and goals to pick the right trade for you. Do you want a chance to earn extra money working overtime? Work outdoors? Have plenty of advancement opportunities? Enjoy hands-on work rather than sitting in an office?
  • Assess your qualities and skills. Depending on the trade, these may include time-management, attention to detail, dexterity, troubleshooting, physical strength or customer service.
  • See if you qualify for financial aid or scholarships to help fund your training. You may qualify for multiple options, significantly decreasing your out-of-pocket cost.
  • See if there are any professional associations related to your field to found out more information about the industry and what professional development opportunities are available. Many trade careers have promising advancement opportunities, especially if you get additional training.
  • Network with job providers to land a position in your chosen trade. This may include industry conferences, trade conventions, job fairs, etc.
  • Research your training options before committing time and resources.

Don’t be discouraged by some of the negative stereotypes surrounding the skilled trades. Working in a skilled trade can be an attractive option for millennials. This has already proven to be a rewarding and stable career choice for those who are unsure if college is right for them and whether attending will lead to better career options.

Additional Sources

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