NAHB: Advocating for trade careers

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(This story was originally published by the National Association of Home Builders.)

Washington, D.C.—While you might be encouraging your kid to go to college, there’s another option you may not have considered: promising careers in the skilled trades. Today’s tradespeople are using technology in ways we never would have dreamed, they’re making great money and establishing lifelong careers. Here are 10 reasons why you should encourage your high schooler to enter the skilled trades after graduation.

  1. Trade school is less expensive than college
    While the average price of college is nearly $10,000 per year in the U.S. for tuition alone, trade school is just $5,000 to $15,000 total for a certificate of completion or trade diploma. College tuition doesn’t factor in extras such as housing and textbooks. Trade school is short enough that students don’t typically require long-term housing.
  2. They can start working (and earning money) quickly
    Most students finish trade school in as little as 12 to 18 months, and in between apprenticeship levels, they engage in paid, on-the-job training. After a few weeks in school, your teen could be earning money while gaining valuable work experience.
  3. The money is good
    While the average pay for skilled tradespeople varies depending on their experience and skill level, the trades usually offer a fantastic starting salary and a high income.
  4. Most skilled trade work comes with benefit packages
    In addition to the excellent pay, most skilled tradespeople in the construction industry receive benefits with their compensation packages.
  5. Feel a sense of accomplishment every day
    Encouraging your child to get into a trade means encouraging them to invest in a career that allows them to feel a sense of accomplishment each day and see tangible results of a job well done.
  6. The sky’s the limit when it comes to job growth
    Entering a skilled trade means committing to several levels of an apprenticeship before becoming a licensed journeyperson. That means that as soon as your child starts their career, they’re in line for several promotions (and pay raises), provided they complete their schooling and work experience at each apprenticeship level. Once they become a journeyperson, there’s still plenty of growth opportunities.
  7. There’s room for everyone in the skilled trades
    The skilled trades have plenty of opportunities for women, men and minorities looking for long-term work. In fact, by 2028, it’s predicted that there will be more than 3 million job openings in the skilled trades.
  8. They can choose a job they love
    There are plenty of choices when it comes to working in the skilled trades. From construction worker to painter to welder, there’s a job for just about every interest and skill level.
  9. They’ll receive safety training
    Skilled trades may sound like a dangerous career, but in most cases, workers receive continuous safety training and certifications to ensure that they’re working safely and within their industry’s regulations.
  10. Some skilled trades are close to recession-proof
    Utilities like electricity and plumbing aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and even in a substantial economic downturn, there’s always demand for skilled laborers who can work in these specialty areas.

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