Blog Post

Making a Career Change into the Skilled Trades

By UA Local 486 | Oct 11, 2023

In a world where career choices are expanding rapidly, the skilled trades remain an enduring and rewarding path for those seeking to explore a new professional journey. While many individuals tend to gravitate towards traditional careers, there is a growing trend of people considering a career change into the skilled trades. This blog aims to shed light on the benefits, challenges, and steps involved in transitioning into the world of skilled trades.

The Appeal of Skilled Trades

The skilled trades encompass a wide range of professions such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, welding, and more. While they might not be for everyone, many find that it is the perfect opportunity for them.

Here are a few reasons why making a career change into the skilled trades can be an attractive option:

1. Job Security: Skilled tradespeople are in high demand and often enjoy job security due to the ongoing need for their expertise.

2. Hands-On Work: If you thrive on tangible, hands-on tasks, working in the trades can provide a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

3. Variety and Creativity: Each day in the skilled trades presents new challenges and opportunities to showcase your creativity and problem-solving skills.

4. Earning Potential: Skilled trades often offer competitive wages and the potential for substantial earning growth as you gain experience.

Many individuals find themselves in a career they thought they would love, but discover it’s unfulfilling. When starting their careers, they likely never thought of the trades as an option, but as we discover ourselves and other career opportunities we realize there might just be something there for us.

Check out this wonderful documentary From Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) and Prager U on how one individual broke the mold and found her dream job in the trades. 

If you’re thinking about making a change into the skilled trades, we want to show you how. 

How to transition into Skilled Trades

Skilled trades offer a variety of different jobs and can be a great career choice, bu it’s not a job that one can simply apply to and get started. There is some work you must do first in order to transition into a career in the skilled trades. 

  1. Understand if transitioning into skilled trades is right for you

To start, you must first ensure that a skilled trade is right for you. Consider the various career options, future outlook, the physical demands of the job and the income potential. 

Will the pay, both now and in the future meet your needs? Can you handle the ruggedness of the day to day job duties? Do you have an aptitude for the career?

Before beginning your transition, it’s important to do the research and work through these types of questions. Meet with individuals in your desired field and them about their day to day jobs to get a clear understanding of what the career will entail and what it will be like for you. 

  1. Get the right education, training, and qualifications

To embark on a new career in the skilled trades, you will need proper education and training. There are a couple of options for your training depending on the trade you want to enter and your current certifications and experience.

You can explore local vocational schools, community colleges, and apprenticeship programs. Each will offer classroom learning, hands-on training and certifications to provide you with the practical experience and the qualifications necessary to start your career. However, each program will vary in the certifications they offer and the level of commitment required.

For example, an apprenticeship program offers certifications for multiple disciplines, pays you while you learn, and provides extensive on the job training and classroom learning, while a vocational school may offer individual trade programs you pay for but that can be done in less time. 

Do your research and find which program will best meet your needs. 

  1. Make connections

Networking is often overlooked but it’s a great way to get a job once you have been trained and certified. Knowing others will allow you to get a heads up on job opportunities and can help you get your foot in the door for some job openings. 

If your desire is to own your own business then networking is a must. It will allow you to get your name and business out into the community. 

Making a career change into the skilled trades can be a transformative and fulfilling journey. By assessing your interests, pursuing education and training, seeking apprenticeships, and building a network, you can navigate the path towards a successful and rewarding career in the trades. 

Embrace the opportunities for personal and professional growth, and prepare to embark on a new chapter filled with practical skills, job security, and the satisfaction of creating and building tangible outcomes.

Get Started on Your Career Journey

If you’ve decided to say yes to the skilled trades then your first step is to get proper training and to get certified. Discover which programs in your area offer the best training for the trade you want to pursue.

If you are in the Maryland area, we encourage you to check out our Plumbers & Steamfitters Apprenticeship program. It’s a program that allows you to earn a good income while learning the trades. Throughout the program, apprentices receive both on-the-job training and classroom education. Upon completion, apprentices walk away with 10 certifications and 45 college credits plus the skills to pursue the career skill of your choice. 

We wish you the best of luck and hope your new career is a fulfilling one.