The “skilled trades” refers to a job where a worker is specialized in a specific task. Many people may think that there’s more bad than good when working in these fields, and some may think that there’s nothing good about it at all.

There are some very good reasons to pursue a career in the skilled trades, though many people may not be aware of them. Here are a few of the pros and cons associated with working in the skilled trades— some of which may surprise you.


School is Less Expensive

Receiving a four-year degree from a university or private university costs thousands upon thousands of dollars. Continuing education after a Bachelor’s degree can cost even more. Without scholarships and grants, it can be hard to pay for school. This is just one reason why many people choose to go to a trade school.

Trade schools generally cost less and they take less time to complete. Once you’ve received an Associate’s degree and completed job training, you’re able to work in your field of choice. Some programs don’t even require an Associate’s degree; you can complete an apprenticeship and receive on-the-job training in addition to getting licensed and certified. Some programs may also require courses to renew your license once it has expired.

Job Security and Availability

Over the years we have seen that many jobs are not secure, but skilled trades jobs are not one of them. There will always be a need for trade jobs, whether it’s construction, plumbing, mechanics, electrical work, welding, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning), or any general contracting work. These types of jobs just simply can’t be outsourced.

You may also think that with such excellent job security, many of these jobs have been filled and that many are not available at the time. This isn’t true; many men and women working in the skilled trades are older, and therefore closer to retirement age. In the near future, more blue-collar workers will be retiring than white-collar professionals. So if you’re a young man or woman looking to learn a trade, now is the perfect opportunity.

Trade Jobs Pay Very Well

Briefly going back to education, you may believe that you can’t make a lot of money without a Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree. That is true to an extent, depending on which field of work you are planning to enter. With trade jobs requiring special skills and being so hands-on, they pay pretty well. Some of the highest-paying skilled trades include:

  • Sonographer: $38.49 per hour
  • Dental hygienist: $38.10 per hour
  • Respiratory therapist: $35.13 per hour
  • Boilermaker: $27.18 per hour
  • Electrician: $24.83 per hour
  • Plumber: 24.58 per hour
  • HVAC technicians: $23.25 per hour


Potential to be Dangerous

Whether you’re working in construction, HVAC, or as an electrician, trade jobs tend to be a little more dangerous than other jobs. With construction, there’s the risk of falling, being struck by heavy objects, and collapsing trenches.

Electricians run the risk of electrocution. The good news is that there are many safety rules and regulations put into place to protect these workers from the hazards their jobs may pose.

These jobs almost always require hard, physical labor as well. Years of physical labor can be stressful on the body. This strenuous physical work can be too much to bear for some, which could be a reason why many people don’t go into this particular field.

Perceived as Being Less Intelligent

Unfortunately, people working in the skilled trades are often perceived as less intelligent than people working white-collar jobs. This is not true at all, as a skilled trade worker receives just as vigorous education and training as other jobs, maybe even more. There are skilled trades workers with higher degrees, although higher degrees don’t equal more intelligence.

Generally, the pros outweigh the cons, and each con has a solution. The skilled trades are a very rewarding profession, as you get to work with your hands and create solutions to real-world problems.


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