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Is a Career in Skilled Trades Right for You?

Describe your dream job. Is it one that offers you financial stability? How about an opportunity to work with your hands and feel satisfied by the work you do?

If you said yes to any or all of these traits, we’re happy to tell you that your dream job is out there–and you need look no further than a skilled trades profession.

Skilled trade jobs are crucial. They are responsible for maintaining, installing, and improving many things that we rely on in our daily lives.

And pursuing a profession in skilled trades has more to offer than the average person might realize.

Today, we’re taking a deep dive into skilled trade careers by addressing the difference between skilled and unskilled work, explaining the importance of skilled labor, illustrating the benefits of a skilled trade career path, and sharing our top 4 in-demand skilled trade jobs for 2022 and beyond.

What are Skilled/Unskilled Jobs?

Skilled jobs are occupations that require a level of training or vocational education. These roles must be performed by someone with a specialized skill set.

Unskilled jobs, on the other hand, are jobs that can be carried out by individuals without any specific technical abilities. They can typically be executed at an entry-level without any expertise in a particular field.

Both skilled and unskilled workers have an important role to play in supplying and maintaining things we use in our daily lives: The main difference is that skilled trade workers have earned specific qualifications as a result of occupational training and/or education.

Why are Skilled Trades Important?

Skilled trades exist in a wide range of industries and play a role in the things we use and interact with daily.

Some are responsible for installation, maintenance, and repair services, such as HVAC technicians, electricians, and plumbers.

Others lay a foundation for new structures, like construction workers, heavy equipment operators, and brick masons.

We even depend on skilled workers like hair stylists for personal care, and bus drivers for transportation.

Needless to say, skilled trades have a far-reaching impact, providing many of the services we rely on routinely.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Skilled Trade Worker?

Job Securityskilled trades professional

To begin with, a skilled trade career will offer you ample working opportunities.

The market for skilled trade jobs is consistently very high, but this is perhaps truer now than ever before.

As it stands, more than 77% of skilled tradespeople believe that a severe shortage of skilled workers is a growing concern.

One cause for this may include a rising demand for skilled services, as people found themselves with more free time for home projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A compounding factor comes from the fact that the Baby Boomer generation will soon be exiting the workforce.

With 27% of skilled trade workers swiftly approaching retirement age, it’s becoming increasingly important that new tradespeople enter the workforce: making now the best time to pursue a skilled trade career for yourself.

Excellent Salaries & Room for Growth

A competitive salary is consistent across the board for most skilled trade professions.

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average wage for skilled workers is around $20 an hour; however, it’s important to note that there is a high degree of variance in the data collected.

This average accounts for everyone from new tradespeople to industry veterans. As such, many of the reported salary ranges were significantly higher, suggesting that the range of experience levels is vast.

And this is a great indicator for these positions–it suggests that there is room to learn and grow in your trade over time, which will in turn, increase your price tag.

Faster and More Affordable Education Programs

While skilled jobs do typically require some form of education, these programs are substantially shorter and less expensive than the traditional 4-year university degree.

College expenses rack up an average of more than $35,000 per student, per year: This one-year expense is just about equal to the cost of a completed certification from a vocational school program.

To put it another way…trade school tends to be about a quarter of the cost of a 4-year university program.

What’s more, trade school is much faster to complete. Most programs offer certification in 2 years or less, meaning you can start making money and advancing your career twice as quickly as those pursuing jobs that require a college degree.

Top 4 Skilled Trade Jobs in 2022

We’ve established that the outlook for new tradespeople is incredibly positive right now, but you may be wondering which industries are seeing the most growth.

To answer that, we’ve compiled a list of our top 4 choices for skilled trade professions that we expect to see rising this year and into the foreseeable future.

1. Electricians/Electrical Technician

For all things powered, big and small, you can thank an electrician. They are responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining everything from industrial control panels to appliances in your home.

With more than 700,000 new jobs created in 2020 and a projected 9% growth rate by 2030, the future is definitely bright for individuals with electrical trade skills (in more ways than one!) Plus, their average annual salary exceeds $56,000.

With a stable industry outlook and healthy salary, a career as an electrician/electrical technician is another great choice for those looking to get into skilled trades.

2. Quality Control/Assurance Specialistquality assurance specialist checks the products

Quality Control or Quality Assurance Specialists are responsible for assessing, documenting, and organizing tasks to support the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s supply chain.

Their goal is to monitor operations, ensure the product meets required standards, and recommend adjustments to the assembly or process. Ultimately, a Quality Specialist’s goal is to make sure the end-user receives a product that meets industry and consumer expectations. 

Quality Control/Assurance Specialists require a keen eye for detail and strong analytical skills. The role requires training, which is often on-the-job, as each industry and factory has unique guidelines for quality inspection.

In today’s job market, with such high demand for supply chain positions, Quality Control and Assurance Specialists earn an annual average salary of $62,000.

3. Machine Operator

Machine operator is another role on the rise, and they are often found working in manufacturing or light industrial industries. Machine operators are responsible for monitoring, maintaining, and operating warehouse equipment. Common machines used, like a CNC machine or forklift, require advanced knowledge or training.

A computer numerically controlled (CNC) machine, cuts, grinds, and drills into raw materials. Training is required due to the machine's highly technical nature. 

Forklift operators transport heavy materials around warehouses, factories, and storage sites, and often work under the supervision of supply chain or warehouse managers. As a specialized vehicle, forklifts require training to safely operate. The standards and guidelines for this safety training are provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A forklift operator is not legally allowed to operate a forklift without supervision until they’ve completed the training.

Salary varies based on the machine type and required training, but machinists, like CNC operators, earn an average annual salary exceeding $40,000.

4. Machine Maintenance Technician

Machine operator

Last but certainly not least on our list of in-demand trades for 2022 are machine maintenance technicians, who handle repairs and maintenance to machinery like CNC machines and lathes used by manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities.

Like other positions on this list, these positions are consistently in demand. Their current projected growth rate is 19% by 2030, which is considered by the US BLS to be “much faster than average.”

The high demand for machine maintenance technicians is accompanied by a high pay scale, with an annual salary averaging about $55,000.

With a high school diploma and some hands-on experience from on-the-job training or an apprenticeship program, a profitable and stable career in machine maintenance is within your reach.

In Conclusion

When you pursue a skilled trade career, you open yourself up to tremendous possibilities. From ample job opportunities to above-average salaries, these positions have a lot to offer both personally and professionally.

And FrankCrum Staffing is the perfect partner to help you find the trade skill job you’ve dreamed of.

We are consistently hiring skilled professionals in a variety of industries: Click here to explore our current job postings, and contact us today to learn more about how FrankCrum Staffing can help you build your career!


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