Skilled Trades

If you are looking for a new and exciting career that offers highly competitive wages and a growing industry – considered a skilled trade such as a plumber, electrician, carpenter, HVAC technician or marine mechanic.

Each of these careers offer step by step career advancement opportunities that are clear from the very beginning of the career. Additionally, most skilled trades offer several paths that can get you started in this new career. It is worth knowing that skilled trades are often considered hard work, but they offer a lot of benefits. If you are considering a career in a skilled trade, it is important to learn more about the trade in order to know what to expect from the career path. To learn more about skilled trades, including plumbing careers, electrician careers, carpentry careers, HVAC electrician careers and marine mechanic careers, review the information that has been provided within the sections below!

Plumbing Careers

When a pipe bursts in your home or the water is simply not flowing properly, who are you likely to call? Plumbers ensure that water flows smoothly throughout your home and appliances as well install and repair pipes and household appliances. Plumbers are required to learn how to read blueprints and must follow all state and local building codes while performing work in a residential or commercial setting. They have extensive knowledge of piping systems, the types of pipes that may be used and how to connect them together.

If you are interested in a career in plumbing, it is important to be aware of the requirements needed in order to become licensed such as:

  • A high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • The ability to pass a basic math test
  • The ability to pass a drug test
  • The possession of basic knowledge of computers
  • The ability to earn a plumbing license, as required by the state that you reside within

It is also important to keep your driving and criminal record clean. Plumbers must be insured, and therefore an employer may turn you away if you have any reckless driving convictions, a large amount of speeding tickets, DUIs or felony convictions.

After obtaining your high school diploma or GED, you will need to enroll into a technical plumbing course. Generally, these courses are offered at trade schools and some community colleges. While a community college will require a two year commitment in order to obtain a degree, trade school courses can generally be completed sooner.

Next, you will need to find an apprenticeship program where you will work beneath a journeyman or master plumber. Apprenticeships are paid and include an average of 2000 on the job training and roughly 246 classroom hours in order to advance in your career. After you have completed an apprenticeship and obtained any certifications that are required by your state, you will be considered a journeyman plumber and you will gain the ability to work on your own. In order to become a master plumber, you must first complete two consecutive years working as a journeyman plumber. After you have met this time requirement, you can attempt the required examination, which will contain both written and practical portions.

Electrician Careers

If you consider how many aspects of our lives include some sort of electrical component, it is then easy to see why electricians are a key factor in our way of life. There are a number of types of electricians, including:

  • Residential wireman
  • Inside wireman
  • Telecommunication technicians
  • Outside lineman

Depending on the path you choose in your career as an electrician, you may be expected to work in either residential or commercial settings. Most electricians begin as a residential wireman, installing the initial wiring throughout private and multifamily homes and units. They also provide repairs and maintenance on residential homes. From here, plumbers are provided the option to advance their careers in different areas of the industry, if they so choose.

You can start on your journey towards becoming an electrician by attending trade school or community college in order to earn a certification or degree. These post education courses will provide you with key knowledge that will be needed in order to succeed such as electrical theory, electrical drafting and the national electrical code. After the completion of these courses, you can become an apprentice and work under an experienced electrician. Apprenticeships will generally take four years to complete and include 2,000 hours of on the site job training as well as 144 classroom hours. In some cases, the credits that you earned through post education can be applied to these requirements.

Most, but not all, states will require that you obtain a license in order to work as an electrician. After obtaining your license, you will need to maintain it, including performing license renewals. In order to earn your electrician’s license, you will need to pass a written exam and/or a practical test.

You can become a master electrician by working in your field for a specific amount of time. The amount of years required will be determined by your state. Typically, the period of time that you must work in the industry is between four and eight years. Many states also require that you submit to additional education and examinations before the title of master will be issue.

Carpentry Careers

There are a variety of types of carpenters employed in the United States, giving you an abundance of career opportunities to choose from such as:

  • Residential or farming carpentry
  • Commercial carpentry
  • Industrial carpentry
  • Bench carpentry or cabinet maker
  • Furniture finisher
  • Woodworking machine operator

Additionally, it is worth knowing that while there is a large job market for carpenters, it is estimated that 30 percent of all carpenters within the United States are self-employed. Self-employed carpenters will typically take on local contractors or provide services through their own business.

You will need to earn your high school diploma or GED in order to pursue a career in carpentry. After doing so, you will need to decide whether you would prefer to commit to a paid apprenticeship program or complete an educational program offered through trade school or community college. Should you choose to engage in additional education, the courses will teach you the fundamentals of carpentry and aid you in the development of hands on skills. Should you choose to take these courses through a trade school, you will likely complete the courses within one to two years. Alternatively, you can enroll in an apprenticeship program and learn directly under a skilled carpenter. While apprenticeship programs typically last four years, they are paid and considered employment.

As mentioned previously, there are several career paths for carpenters, including more advanced work such as pump work and scaffold building. If you are interested in a more advanced form of carpentry, you will need to earn a certification and receive the title of journeyman carpenter.

HVAC Technician Careers

HVAC technicians are charged with handling the installation, repairs and servicing of heating units, air condition units and ventilation systems in commercial and residential settings. In order to become an HVAC technician, you must be able to read a blueprint as well as earn an HVAC technician license and an EPA-approved certificate.

An HVAC technician career can be started in a number of ways including through on the job training, higher education courses and through an apprenticeship. On the job training will come when assisting an experience HVAC technician in order to earn the skills that you will need to obtain your certificate and licensing. It is less formal than an apprenticeship program, but it still a viable way to become an HVAC technician. An apprenticeship program is a paid form of employment that offers hands on training and some classroom instruction. As the end of your three to five year apprenticeship, you will be given the opportunity to take an exam in order to earn your HVAC technician license.

Alternatively, you can also begin your HVAC technician career by enrolling in community college, a technical academy or trade school. These courses can take anywhere between six months and two years to complete, depending on your chosen path, with community college taking the longest. Courses will primarily include classroom instruction, but they include some hands on experience. Many of these course programs will also provide you with access to internship programs that can provide valuable experience and potentially lead to employment as an HVAC technician.

Marine Mechanic Careers

A marine mechanic works on watercraft engines on a variety of aquatic vehicles such as private fishing boats, commercial fishing boats, cabin cruisers and yachts. Much of the work if performed outside and not always in the best weather conditions. However, a marine mechanic is a financially rewarding job. It is also customer service orientated as marine mechanics are expected to work directly with clients. In addition to great customer service skills,

  • An attention to detail
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Problem solving skills

Can all help you to get ahead within your career. Unlike other skilled trades, apprenticeship programs are rather rare and a marine mechanic career choice will lean heavily on furthering your education. You can learn the basics by attending classes in motorboat maintenance and repair. These courses are generally short, generally taking no more than two weeks to complete. From there, you can further your experience and education by obtaining some of the various certification courses that are offered through the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC). Depending on the type of marine mechanic that you would like to be, some of certifications may be required. There are a variety of certifications available, including:

  • Marine corrosion
  • Marine systems
  • Diesel engines
  • Support systems
  • Gasoline engines

In order to advance in your career and eventually become a master marine, you will be required to hold and maintain several of these certifications.

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