Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Exploring Careers in Skill Trades

If you have an interest in tools, creating something out of nothing, or possess a knack for building - a career in the skills trades industry may suit your talents. A trade occupation involves specific skills that often require manual labor. In the United Stares and Canada, millions of skilled trade workers find employment in various areas, including auto repair, farming and ranching, hairstyling, plumbing, electrical work, printing, forestry, and landscaping. A sample of possible careers includes:


The assembly and repair of pipe systems that come in an array of shapes, sizes, and pressures is the main duty of a pipefitter, who is also in charge of making sure pipes are properly aligned and situated as it pertains to a blueprint or other instructions. In order to begin this career path, a high school diploma or its equivalent is required. Zero to two years of experience within the field (or in a related area) is another requirement of this kind of job with a typical salary found between $28,484 and $53,042.

Brick and Stone Mason - Assistant

The preparation and laying down of concrete blocks, brick, title, marble, and other related materials becomes the responsibility of a brick and stone mason. One must become familiar with a variety of tools, including trowels, hammers, chisels, and other hand implements. A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually needed for consideration. Some may have to undergo an apprenticeship or receive formal training in a specialty. An employer generally likes an applicant to possess around two years experience within the field. Salaries for this position range between $16,377 and $36,751.

Structural Ironworker

In order to create the framework for a building, a structural ironworker is responsible for installing girders and columns. Some employees will also construct and assemble iron and steel material. Reading blueprints and following instructions are important skills to possess for this type of job, as you are in charge of ensuring proper placement and alignment. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required and one may need to complete an apprenticeship in this field. Salaries for this job are found between $34,017 and $48,785.

Railroad Worker

Usually, a worker within this field is required to complete specific trade school courses and acquire the necessary certifications that come with this job. A railroad worker spends most of his or her time throwing back track switches within yards of railroad that may or may not have a connection to an industrial plant, quarry, construction project, or any other location that needs someone to switch cars for loading or unloading of trains. They will also supervise the creation and disassembly of trains. This position usually pays an annual salary of $31,479 to $45,386.

Drywall Installer

Without a drywall installer - the walls of some homes would cease to exist. It is this career that oversees the planning, installation, and repair of drywalls, which covers walls, ceilings, soffits, and other parts of residential and commercial structures. A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for one to apply to this sort of job where completing an apprenticeship or undergoing formal training is considered a plus and sometimes a requirement. The ideal candidate for this position should have around two to four years of experience in the field. Drywall installers usually make between $27,014 and $56,178 a year.

Getting a Skilled Trade Education

The most common method of education is training and apprenticeship, which also ensures the best chances for securing a position that offers decent wages. An apprenticeship deals with on-the-job training and classroom instruction with programs easily located throughout the United States and Canada.

Skilled trade programs are also plentiful for high school students, who may have access to a wide range of youth apprenticeship programs that allows individuals to acquire a skill while still attending high school. Depending on the employer and career choice, an apprentice may receive pay while gaining work experience, but are sometimes expected to pay fees for various services along the way. It is also not uncommon to receive no pay for apprenticeship training.

Certain skilled trades require a Certification of Qualification, which states that an individual has passed a qualifying exam that proves they are equipped with the proper knowledge of a skilled trade. Community colleges also offer skilled trades training programs and apprenticeships for industrial occupations. Some programs consist of a single course while others could last for 15-week sessions to an entire year-round program. Automotive mechanics, machine repair, refrigeration and air conditioning, plumbing, welding, and some engineering are just some of the college courses a student may encounter.

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