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Which Skilled Trade Is Right for You?

Which Skilled Trade is Right for You?

If you caught our last blog post on why you should join the trades, you may now be wondering which industry within the trades is right for you. While the electrical path is our (biased) favorite, we truly believe in the value of all the skilled trades and hope you can find a career path that is the best fit for you.  

To help you decide, we’re going to breakdown the four commonly-recognized skilled trades; electrical, carpentry, plumbing, and welding.

As you read through, you may realize that our bias is more grounded because while there is more rigorous training required, the financial reward in the electrical field is greater than all of the other trades. 



  • 2018 Median Annual Wage: $55,190 
  • 2018 Lowest 10% Annual Wage: < $32,940 
  • 2018 Highest 10% Annual Wage: > $94,620+ 
  • Job Availability: Projected to grow 9% by 2026 to 726,500 jobs 
  • Requirements: High school diploma, training through a 4- or 5-year apprenticeship program, licensure and training requirements vary by state.  

 An electrician installs, maintains and repairs electrical power, communications, lighting and control systems in housing, businesses and factories. There is a wide variety of career paths within the electrical field, but most careers fall within three categories: Residential, Commercial and Industrial. While the foundational training and education may start very similarly for these three paths, the ultimate result is very different.  



  • 2018 Median Annual Wage: $46,590 
  • 2018 Lowest 10% Annual Wage: < $28,860 
  • 2018 Highest 10% Annual Wage: > $82,750+ 
  • Job Availability: Projected to grow 8% by 2026 to 1,109,400 jobs 
  • Requirements: High school diploma is typically required. Apprenticeship programs are available. 

 A carpenter constructs, repairs and installs building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials. Carpenters are a versatile occupation in the industry. Where one may build fixtures such as doors and cabinets, others may help construct homes, buildings and bridges.  



  • 2018 Median Annual Wage: $53,910 
  • 2018 Lowest 10% Annual Wage: < $32,100 
  • 2018 Highest 10% Annual Wage: > $93,700+ 
  • Job Availability: Projected to grow 16% by 2026 to 555,800 jobs 
  • Requirements: High school diploma, training through a 4– or 5-year apprenticeship program, licensure and training requirements vary by state.

plumber, pipefitter or steamfitter installs and repairs pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from and within businesses, homes and factories.  Although these three titles perform distinct roles, their duties are often similar. From installing bathtubs, toilets and appliances to installing and repairing pipe systems in power plants, the general role is the same, just more complex as the job setting evolves.  



  • 2018 Median Annual Wage: $41,380 
  • 2018 Lowest 10% Annual Wage: < $28,560 
  • 2018 Highest 10% Annual Wage: > $63,740+ 
  • Job Availability: Projected to grow 6% by 2026 to 427,300 jobs 
  • Requirements: A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder.

Welders use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams in metal products. They work in a variety of industries, from car racing to manufacturing. There are over 100 different process a welder can use and they type of weld is determined by the metals joining and the conditions under which the process is happening, which is ultimately determined by the industry the welder is a part of. 


Taking the Next Step

For each of these skilled trades, or any that you choose to enter, the next step requires formal or on-the-job training. If you are looking for a company to join, rather than a specific training or vocational program, ensure you’re finding a company with a formal in-house training program.  

We place a strong importance on training our employees with a combination of in-house classroom training and on-the-job experience. Without creating our own program, we didn’t feel many industrial electricians we’re getting the exact training they needed. More to come on that conversation. 

Until then, if you’re interested in joining the electrical trade, check out our Careers Page and give us a call to learn more about the work we do. 




Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Electricians, 
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm (visited May 19, 2019). 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Carpenters, 
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/carpenters.htm (visited May 18, 2019). 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters, 
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm (visited May 19, 2019). 

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers, 
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm (visited May 12, 2019). 

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