Trade Careers in demand

skilled labor jobsBy Dawn Papandrea

Ever glance at a home or car repair bill and think to yourself, "I'm in the wrong line of work!"? If so, it's with good reason. Skilled tradespeople who can build, repair or maintain equipment that most lay people cannot do on their own can rake in the big bucks, especially if they build their talents up enough to take the entrepreneurial small business route. What's more is that despite the high unemployment rate, skilled workers are hard to come by and therefore always in high demand.

Here's what it takes to break into six sought-after skilled trades:

1. Plumber

The training: Aspiring plumbers learn how to dismantle a kitchen sink and clear drainpipes - among way more complicated plumbing skills - during apprenticeships and/or technical school or community college programs. Apprenticeship programs are generally the preferred training, as they offer an opportunity to work alongside seasoned plumbing professionals. They are usually offered jointly by union locals and affiliated companies and/or sponsored by organizations like the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, among other groups.

The career path: Expect an apprenticeship to last about four to five years, during which time you'll be paid around 50 percent of the wage rate paid to experienced workers, with increases as you go. Classroom instruction will also be incorporated into your training period, teaching skills like mathematics, applied physics and chemistry, local plumbing codes and regulations, safety, etc.

Licensing 411: Most states require plumbers to be licensed. Though requirements vary, workers will have to demonstrate their knowledge on an exam, and have some experience under their belts, usually about two to five years.

Employment opportunities: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job prospects for plumbers, pipelayers, pipefitters and steamfitters is expected to grow 16 percent between 2008 and 2018.

2. Electrician

The training: Light up your career by becoming an electrician. Training usually begins via an apprenticeship program (which offers pay for on-the-job training, and can last up to four years), in conjunction with classroom instruction. Local unions of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and local chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association are among organizations that sponsor apprenticeship programs.

It's Interesting

  • The Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center is a high school-level institution that provides advanced education to meet the demand in the areas of agriculture, business and marketing, family and consumer sciences, health careers, and trade and industry arts to the students in Indiana's Area Career & Technical District #46 (ACTD-46...

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