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Country Lifestyle

A Look at the Mechanical Trades

February 6, 2021

This school year, the National Center for Education Statistics estimates there will be 3.7 million high school graduates. What will they do after high school? If they follow the trend, over 60% of them will head off to college. But that trend has shifted in recent years to include associate degrees, trade schools, and on-the-job training. This week, we’re looking at mechanical trades.  

Defining the Mechanical Trades

Mechanical tradespeople are those who design, use, or understand tools or machinery. They include mechanics, installers, locksmiths, and others. While some of the more technical jobs may require years of school, most require just two levels of qualifications. Those include the journey or journeyman level and the master level. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the mechanical trades.

Elevator Mechanics service, install, and repair the 900,000 elevators in the U.S. as of 2021. Other aspects of the job include work on escalators, wheelchair lifts, and moving walkways. An apprenticeship is the most comment way of entering this career. There can be state-required licensing.

HVAC Mechanics specialize in repairing and installing heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration systems. Courses to a career can be found at technical school and community colleges. Certificates can be obtained in as little as six months.

Locksmiths repair, install, unlock and work on locks and doors in homes, businesses, automobiles, safes, and more. Some will also provide security consulting and emergency on-call services. Locksmith training programs are available, which include hands-on training and coursework.  

Mechanical Drafters prepare detailed layout schematics for machine assembly and parts. They often work with architects, manufactures and engineers. An associate degree or certificate from a vocation school is often required for employment.

Machinery Mechanic These experts fix and maintain machinery, including automobiles, industrial mechanisms, as well as machines used in oil, gas, or chemical refining. A strong aptitude in machinery is a necessity. Some trade schools do offer training.

Machinists operate and understand the fine details of machine tools and how they work. These can include milling machines, lathes, drilling machines, and grinders. An associate degree could be obtained for this career, but a degree is not always required.

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