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Pathway to the Trades: 5 Reasons to Choose a Skilled Job

January 22, 2023
There are a lot of job and career opportunities in the trades. These include carpenters, mechanics, welders, electricians, plumbers, as well as energy sector technicians. So, why should you or someone you know consider the trades? Here are five good reasons why your next career move should be into the trades.

Learn More about the Trades

Need a refresher on the trades and why you should even consider them? Check out our articles about the service trades, skilled trades, and construction trades and what they have to offer.

There’s a LOT of Opportunity

In case you missed the news, there’s an ever-present shortage of tradespersons. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the industry is expected to grow by upwards of 10% overall this decade. Some specific jobs, such as wind turbine technicians, could grow by as much as 44% by 2031. By 2028, experts estimate there will be more than 3-million open trade jobs to be filled.

The Pay is Good (and sometimes Great)

Whatever the job you want, one of the first things to consider is the pay. From the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor and Statistics, electricians can expect to make somewhere around $60,000 per year, woodworkers up to $37,000 per year, and plumbers earn a median pay of $60,000. Those are great wages. And instead of climbing up the corporate ladder, which is necessary with office and executive jobs, tradespersons start earning good wages right away in most cases.

Education won’t Break the Bank

A career in marketing, law, finance or other corner-office type job takes a college education. That degree can cost an average of $27,940 per year for an in-state, four-year public college education according to the College Board. If you can finish in four years, that adds up to $111,768 in tuition, books, room, food, and other living expenses.

In contrast, trade schools offer a shorter timeline from classroom to the workforce. Some vocational certificates can be earned in two years, and some offer apprenticeships and the opportunity for employment while in school and after graduation. And the cost? The U.S. Department of Education cites that trade school can range from $3,000 to $15,000 per year. 

Best of all, financial aid is available for trade schools, including federal student loans. Look into it at

You’ll Advance Quickly

Each of the trades has a different path to employment, management, and supervisory positions. For example, electricians begin as students or apprentices. After hours of study and on-the-job-work programs, they earn a license, become a journeyman, then financially become a master electrician. Instead of that progress taking decades, qualified and motivated individuals move up in years. It’s a similar path for mechanics, plumbers, technicians, and more. If you want to advance your career quickly, the trades are a great place for you.

Entrepreneurship is Encouraged

Go-getters in the trades move up quickly and often find themselves at a self-employment crossroads. Do you continue to work for someone else, or do you take the leap and start your own company, hire new people, and earn even more? For many, the path leads to self-employment. In the U.S., there are currently 31 million entrepreneurs. And that number is going to grow. Do you need a college degree to start a business? No. Just 56% of small business owners have any college experience. Plus, those who start a business that aligns with their current career (electricians, etc.) are 125% more likely to succeed, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Coastal Loves the Trades

Our stores are packed with everything tradespersons need to stay safe and comfortable in any weather, including boots, jackets, pants, shirts, hats, socks, and so much more. Plus, you’ll find aisles of tools, welding equipment, and everything else the country needs.