How To Enter The Trades

How Do I Join the Trades?

Careers in the trades are stable, recession proof, professional and well-paid. They make a great career choice! However, lack of information can make it difficult to figure out how to enter the trades, especially if you don’t have any connections to the industry.

There is a vast number of trade careers, which can be overwhelming for someone who does not know much about them. In addition, trade careers can be found in all different places and can be in both new construction as well as in repair and maintenance. Scroll to the bottom for a partial list of careers.

How Do I Know This Career Is For Me?

Starting a career in the trades is a lifestyle choice!

Do you like to be an independent worker? Maybe a career as an HVAC technician is for you. Do you like to work as part of a team? Maybe a career in construction is your style. Do you like regular hours in a warehouse setting? You might want to be a machinist.

One thing all these careers share is the love of working with your hands and the aptitude to manage mechanical functions. People in the trades don’t sit behind desks all day, they are up and moving. But it isn’t all about the hands, trades people are also excellent mechanical problem solvers who love to see a project come together.

If any of this sounds like you, here are some steps you can take to get involved in the trades and to find your perfect career.

  1. Connect with someone in the trades, a friend, a neighbor, a relative.
  2. Connect with a local trade business. Whether it is a residential service contractor such as a local plumbing company or a contractor in new construction, business owners love to talk to people about the careers they have available.
  3. Ask to job shadow or do a ride along. Many companies are open to this and will arrange for you to get a taste of what it is like to work in the trades.
  4. Didn’t like one experience, try a different company or a different type of trade.
  5. Remember your local technical college. There are always professors willing to share information about trade careers!

The best way to learn about the trades are from the people in the trades! Ask lots of questions, not just about how to get trained, but about what people like about their careers. This is the best way to find a trade career that fits you!

Partial List of Trade Careers

Industrial Trade Careers are often found in manufacturing and include job titles such as:

  • Welding
  • Machinist
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Steel worker

Commercial Trade Careers involve working for larger companies and include careers such as:

  • Electrical Line Repair
  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Boiler Maker
  • Carpenter
  • Glazier
  • Plasters
  • Pipe layers

Service Industry Trade Careers are different in that they involve working with customers as well as having a trade skill. They include careers such as:

  • Residential plumber
  • Residential electrician
  • Heating and AC technician (HVAC)
  • Lock smiths
  • Cable technicians
  • Food and pop machine technicians