Skilled Trades

Skilled trades offer the opportunity for those with a strong mechanical aptitude to work on a variety of exciting projects.

Many skilled trades are vital to things necessary for society to enjoy the conveniences of modern life. Whether it is plumbing, electricity or boat maintenance, a career in the trades is one full of new challenges each day with plenty of opportunities to grow and advance within the field. Below is more information on some of the rewarding careers in skilled trades.

Plumbing Careers

Plumbers have a role in just about every area of water and gas supply used in homes and businesses. Whether it is a broken drain, leaky faucet, clogged toilet or ruptured gas line, plumbers have the knowledge and skill to get things back in order.

Plumbers spend their day working with residential and commercial customers in analyzing problems and devising solutions, installing new water or gas lines, or performing routine maintenance. Although many plumbers work with residential customers to solve common household plumbing issues, some choose to specialize in other vital areas of water and gas.

Pipelayers are responsible for the outdoor system of water supply. They work with architects and builders to determine locations for main gas and water supply lines. Pipefitters, on the other hand, work in industrial facilities to install and maintain pipes that carry gas or other chemicals.

Many plumbers who specialize in sprinkler fitting also manage the fire suppression systems used in commercial buildings. Aspiring plumbers enter the field as apprentices, where they work under the supervision of experienced plumbers to gain on the job training. With a median salary of $52,590, plumbers enjoy a rewarding wage with plenty of opportunities to advance within the field.

Electrician Careers

Electricians make it possible to enjoy daily modern conveniences like indoor lighting, televisions, computers and more. They play an essential role in installing and maintaining the electrical infrastructure that countless households and businesses rely on.

Electricians install and repair electrical wiring, outlets, circuit breakers and all things pertaining to electrical systems. Electricians work in both residential and commercial facilities to diagnose and solve problems. These highly skilled professionals work across a variety of industries. Some work on new construction projects installing electrical work for new buildings. Others work for large corporations to manage their electrical systems. Still others work for utility companies establishing and maintaining the infrastructure that carries electricity from the main electrical facilities to homes and businesses.

Regardless of the career path chosen, all electricians must possess the ability to solve potentially complex, pay attention to detail and comprehend complex wiring diagrams and installation procedures. Those looking to enter the field should possess a minimum of a high school diploma. Electricians must then complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training as an apprentice. Although there are no formal requirements to enter the field, most electricians complete coursework in electricity at local colleges or vocational training programs. Electricians must possess an attention to detail

Carpentry Careers

Carpenters use their technical skill and creative ability to cut, shape and assemble building materials to construct a multitude of structures, such as homes, commercial buildings and bridges. They also apply their advanced math skills and technical aptitude to build everyday household items such as cabinetry and furniture.

Carpenters work with a variety of tools each day, including saws, hammers, drills and levels. While some may work alone on smaller projects, most work on a crew alongside other trade professionals such as electricians and plumbers. Much of their day is spent analyzing blueprint and building schematics, cutting and joining building materials and working with builders to ensure the success of a project.

A typical career path for many carpenters is that of a home renovation expert. These skilled professionals take on projects to do room additions, modify floor plans, install new flooring and cabinetry or complete room conversions. Other career paths include working on new construction projects to build homes or municipal projects to construct bridges.

Pay for carpenters varies across industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those working on non-residential projects earned a median wage of $49,690. Most carpenters begin their career through apprentices or as assistants to a more experienced carpenter. Others enter the field after completing coursework at a community college or vocational program along with completing an apprenticeship program.

HVAC Technician Careers

HVAC is an acronym that stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Experts working in HVAC careers help maintain the overall comfort level and climate in residences and commercial buildings.

In addition to ensuring safe indoor air quality for these structures, HVAC technicians spend their day installing and repairing components of the heating and cooling system such as air conditioners, furnaces, boilers and ventilation ductwork. They work with clients to diagnose problems in the HVAC system and make recommendations for a suitable repair.

While most HVAC technicians are generalists and work with the entire HVAC system, some choose to specialize in either heating systems or cooling systems. Others opt to specialize in refrigeration systems, which involves managing the equipment required to keep food safe in commercial refrigerators.

Most employers prefer hiring HVAC technicians with formal training through college coursework or vocational programs. Many employers hire candidates who hold certification from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that demonstrates their knowledge of handling hazardous materials.

Marine Mechanic Careers

The safety of marine watercraft depends on the vital work of marine mechanics. These highly skilled individuals install and maintain motors, boat electronics and HVAC systems. They repair boats large and small, from recreational boats to commercial shipping vessels. Their daily work involves diagnosing problems, making repairs and testing equipment to ensure the issue has been resolved.

Marine mechanics work in a variety of environments, including at repair shops, aboard commercial boats or in a boat manufacturing facility. Outside of mechanical tasks, marine mechanics also handle body work to repair damage to the boat’s exterior. Some common skills of successful marine mechanics are problem-solving, reading comprehension, teamwork and critical thinking.

With advancements in technology, marine mechanics are expected to know how to operate advanced digital equipment to perform their duties. The job outlook for this exciting role is positive especially for mechanics who hold certifications from boat manufacturers.

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