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Country Lifestyle

Exploring the Industrial Trades

January 30, 2021

Education beyond high school has been preferred by employers since the mid-1980s. But that education doesn’t have to take four years and add up to a bachelor’s degree. Certificates have remained hugely popular for careers in the industrial trades, which we’re going to cover this week in our look at trade work.

Education Has Many Avenues
According to Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, some of the most commonly awarded certificates are in healthcare and blue-collar fields. In a recent study titled The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate’s Degrees: What Students Need to Know Before They Go to College, researchers found that workers with certificates in blue-collar fields earn more than other certificate holders in states such as Oregon and Washington. Some of the fields mentioned include construction trades, mechanic and repair, and die technology.

To make a long story short, not every good-paying career requires an extended stay at a University or years for an associate’s degree. Certificate programs are also an option when looking at long-term careers.

Digging into the Industrial Trades
Some of the more common industrial trades include welders, ironworkers, boilermakers, line installers and repair persons, tool and die makers, skilled laborers, paving equipment operators, cargo freight agents, and programmers. Let’s take a closer look at a few of those trades.

Boilermakers repair, re-pipe and retube commercial hot water and steam boilers for heating buildings. Experts in this field are usually skilled in oxy-acetylene gas torches as well as arc welders (gas tungsten, shielded metal, and gas metal).

Skilled Laborers are some of the unsung heroes of the industrial trades. They are the workforce that help build roads, buildings, tunnels, bridges and more. They work with hand tools, power tools, heavy equipment, and blasting tools to get the job done.

Plumbers also include pipefitters and steamfitters. These tradespersons install, adjust and repair pipes for the distribution of water, natural gas, or sewage for residential or commercial applications. Apprenticeships are an option, but many people go to a trade or technical school first. Most states require licenses.

Machinery Mechanics 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.

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Machine Tool Programmers use a computer to process a piece of metal, plastic, ceramic, wood, or composite to exact specifications. The end result can be small internal machine parts or larger finished products. Most employers look for workers with a certificate or apprenticeship.

Tool and Die Makers are sometimes called artisans in that they can be integral in every aspect of crafting jigs, fixtures, dies, molds, gauges, and manufacturing tools. Many learn their trade through certificate programs and on-the-job learning.  

Wastewater Treatment Experts monitor and work with municipal water systems to remove contaminants from wastewater and sewage to be returned to the domestic water cycle. A certificate in addition to some form of degree in science or engineering may be required.

Welders are always in high demand. Technical schools and programs prepare workers for the job and can help with the proper certification for each state and industry. On-the-job training and apprenticeships may also be available.

Coastal Salutes the Industrial Trades
Stop by your Northwest and owned Coastal where you’ll find all the workwear you need for safety and comfort in any industrial career. That includes boots, socks, hats, belts, and reflective gear.