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When your air conditioner goes awry or your toilet starts overflowing, who do you call? Ghostbusters! Just kidding, you call your local trade or technical specialty company and have the trained professionals come and fix it! Yes, you could look up “how to get my dishwasher to stop spewing soap bubbles all over my kitchen floor” on YouTube but by the time you figure out what is wrong, buy the tools you need and spend the time to fix it, a professional would have already completed the job properly. This is why going into a specialty trade is smart. People will always need someone to get the job done right.

Workers in the trade field are trained to specialize in a particular field so they can master all aspects of it. Specialization with a certain piece of equipment or appliance is very valuable. Examples of trade jobs include electrician, plumber, electronic specialist, construction worker, welder, carpenter, HVAC specialist and surveyor. Good trade workers in the manufacturing industry are highly skilled, punctual, trustworthy and reliable. It is time for the younger generation to look outside of the white-collar careers and start considering a hands-on approach to work in the technical and trades field, where they can find steady work and good pay.

Read more about some popular trade and technical programs below to see what most interests you!

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Electrician

What is an Electrician?

Electricians install, repair and maintain all of the electrical and power systems for our homes, businesses, and factories. An electrician needs to know electrical code specifications and basic construction of a home or building to be able to do their work properly. If you’re good with your hands, physically fit, detail oriented and not afraid of heights, a job as an Electrician would be a great career for you!

What does an Electrician do?

  • Read blueprints and diagrams
  • Install, assemble and maintain wiring systems
  • Inspect electrical components such as a circuit breaker
  • Use a variety of tools to repair or replace electrical wiring and fixtures
  • Follow state and local building regulations based on the National Electric Code

The Pros & Cons

    Pros:

  • The work is consistent because electricians repair electricity for our lights, telephones, computers & televisions, which are a part of the American daily life, both in our homes and at work.
  • Opportunity to join a union such as IBEW.
  • One of the best paid trade careers; according to BLS, the average electrician earns $55,190 per year*.

    Cons:

  • Odd working hours; you may have to wake up in the middle of the night for a power outage repair during a storm.
  • Unpleasant or unsafe working conditions such as tight attic crawl spaces or on the side of a busy highway.
  • Electrical work may be hazardous (but trained professionals rarely have accidents!)

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of electricians is really great at an outstanding 10% growth rate through 2028.

Quick Facts: Electricians

2018 Median Pay

$55,190 per year
 $26.53 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs, 2018

715,400

Job Outlook, 2018-28

10% (Faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

74,100

*Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm

How do you become an Electrician?

Those who choose to become an Electrician need to enroll in an apprenticeship program that is a combination of both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. You can earn either an Associate’s Degree in about two years or a Diploma/Certificate in about one year. An apprenticeship program will require between 8,000-10,000 hours of on-the-job training, which will take you 4-5 years to complete. Some jurisdictions will allow you to substitute your educational training with on-the-job training hours. You must also take an exam from your state’s licensing board, which varies state to state.

In school, you will take courses such as installation planning, analyzing electrical systems, residential wiring, accident prevention and transformers & lighting.

There are many specialty careers in the industry available to you once you have completed your training:

  • Electrician
  • Electrical contractor
  • Code compliance inspector
  • Lineman
  • Powerhouse, substation and relay electrician
  • Construction electrician
  • Electrical drafter
  • Marine electrician

Plumber

What is a Plumber?

Being a plumber may not sound very sexy or appealing but it is a great trade career in which one works with their hands, solves problems and helps make others’ lives a little easier. A plumber specializes in installing and maintaining systems used for water, sewage, and draining in a plumbing system. The duties of a plumber include installing and repairing pipes and fixtures, opening walls and floors, welding and testing for leaks, and preparing cost estimates. A plumber also uses blueprints and designs to help open walls and floors to install, connect, and test pipes. Plumbers are needed in residential or commercial construction. They are usually self-employed or contracted to work.

What does a Plumber do?

  • Analyzes water distribution systems schematics
  • Installs, repairs and maintains plumbing systems and accessories
  • Diagnose and repair system problems such as leaks and malfunctioning parts
  • Prepares work estimates
  • Follows blueprints and properly uses a variety of tools

The Pros & Cons

    Pros:
  • Plumbing will not be outdated by technology anytime soon so you can expect great job security
  • Job variety; you can work in many different settings including residential, construction and city water systems
  • Social interaction; you will be interacting with clients daily; building good rapport will also help to grow your business
  • Opportunity for entrepreneurship. You can work for a company or start your own business
    Cons:
  • Unpleasant working conditions such as sewage and drainage
  • Overtime and unpredictable hours
  • Physically exhausting as you are standing on your feet for long periods of time or contorted in an uncomfortable position to repair hard to reach pipes and fixtures. You may also have to carry a 300-pound bathtub up a flight of stairs! At least you’ll get a good workout in!

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of plumbers is expected to grow much faster than the average at 14%. This is a great time to learn a trade that will be needed for years to come!

Quick Facts: Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

2018 Median Pay

$53,910 per year
$25.92 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

High school diploma or equivalent

Number of Jobs, 2018

500,300

Job Outlook, 2018-28

14% (Much faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

68,200

Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/plumbers-pipefitters-and-steamfitters.htm

How to become a Plumber

Like many other tradesmen, plumbers begin their career as an apprentice. Enrolling in a technical school that offers plumbing diplomas or certificates will help you get into a good apprenticeship program. Depending on the state you attend school, you may have mandatory requirements and courses to take before you get an apprenticeship such as a high school diploma or GED, a clean criminal record and letters of recommendation. While you are in school, you can join an apprenticeship with a local plumber’s union. Plumbing apprenticeships last typically anywhere from four to five years or on average, 2,000 hours.

During your apprenticeship, you will be learning the skills necessary to be a well-rounded plumber such as identifying leaks, repairing parts, installing new fixtures and unclogging plumbing systems. The concept of an apprenticeship program is to learn the knowledge in the classroom setting and then apply it in real world scenarios, alongside a licensed plumber. Don’t worry, you will be compensated for your hard work but at about 50% of the position’s normal rate.

After you have completed your apprenticeship program, you will then need to take a license exam to make it official. Even though it may not be glamourous, a career as a plumber will set you on the track to making a steady income for many years to come. Find a plumbing school in your area today right here at AmeriColleges.com!

Carpentry

What is Carpentry?

Carpentry is much more than just sawing some wooden boards. Carpenters use creative talent and hands on skills to create structures with wooden or light steel materials. A carpenters’ ability for calibrating, controlling, and operating a variety of machinery allows them to build or modify any kind of wooden object such as bearing walls, doors, or windows. In addition, carpenters must work well with other tradesmen to ensure the entire project is completed correctly and in a timely matter.

  • Builds, maintains, repairs or demolishes wooden structures in residential and commercial buildings
  • Uses power tools such as circular saws, power drills and table saws
  • Read and follow blueprints
  • Install windows and moldings
  • Use math skills such as geometry in order to accurately measure and cut materials

The Pros & Cons of Carpentry

    Pros:
  • Mobile and active lifestyle
  • Every day provides new projects and tasks
  • Opportunity to be self employed
    Cons:
  • Physically demanding
  • Hazardous environment and mechanical tools increase risk of injury
  • The economy may slow down work and your income temporarily

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of carpenters is expected to grow faster than the average at 8%. This is thanks to all of the new homes being built and remodeled across the country.

Quick Facts: Carpenters

2018 Median Pay

$46,590 per year
$22.40 per hour

Number of Jobs, 2018

1,006,500

Job Outlook, 2018-28

8% (Faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

80,100

Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/carpenters.htm

How to Become a Carpenter

Like many other trade and technical programs, you must be admitted to a carpentry apprenticeship program that generally lasts between three to four years. As an apprentice, you will work directly under the supervision of an experienced carpenter. On-the-job training, along with classroom instruction, is included in an apprenticeship program. Formal training at a technical school will help you learn building codes, concrete work, blueprint reading, building layouts and much more!

Apprentices are most definitely compensated for their work so you can attend school and make a living simultaneously. Also, if you are bi-lingual in English and Spanish, you will have an advantage in this industry.

Do you meet the following qualifications that make a great carpenter?

  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Detail oriented
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Problem solving skills
  • Math skills

If you answered yes to most of these, then you should absolutely consider a career in carpentry!

HVAC

What is HVAC?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. These systems provide thermal comfort (cool or heat) that is clean and acceptable in a residential or commercial building. They help control indoor climate, proper airflow and maintain clean air to avoid health issues from mold. If you live somewhere that is hot, imagine your life without an air conditioning system in the middle of summer. Or if you live up north in the colder states, you would be bummed to lose your heat during a winter’s storm. No matter what kind of environment you reside in, HVAC systems play an important role in the comfort of your home.

What does an HVAC Technician do?

  • Installs, repairs and maintains HVAC systems and equipment
  • Read and comprehend blueprints
  • Test pipes, circuits and tubing joints
  • Clean and repair systems; perform warranty services
  • Ensures compliance with appliance standards and with the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Pros & Cons

    Pros:
  • Work in a variety of settings
  • Wide range of specialty careers within the HVAC scope
  • You can start work as early as 18 years old
    Cons:
  • Continuing education is a must as new advancements arise in equipment and technology
  • Irregular work hours as many businesses offer 24/7 emergency services
  • Physically demanding on your body

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of HVAC technicians and mechanics is expected to grow much faster than the average at 13%. Continued commercial and residential new buildings increase the need for HVAC mechanics.

Quick Facts: Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers

2018 Median Pay

$47,610 per year
$22.89 per hour

Number of Jobs, 2018

367,900

Job Outlook, 2018-28

13% (Much faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

46,300

Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm

How do you become a HVAC technician?

You can earn your diploma or certificate in HVAC in about ten months or your Associate’s degree in two years. As with most trade careers, you will want to find an apprenticeship program that you can start during your educational commitment. Apprenticeships may last anywhere between three to five years. During your apprenticeship, you will be working under the supervision of a licensed HVAC technician and apply the techniques you learn in the classroom in real-world scenarios.

After completion of your HVAC apprenticeship, you must pass your state’s licensing exam. Make sure you check the guidelines for certification and licensing within your state before committing to a career in HVAC. Employers typically require that HVAC technicians also obtain certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

If you are looking to get moving sooner than later, you should start with earning your diploma at a local trade school and applying for an apprenticeship program. Some schools may even help you find a program through trusted HVAC associates. The good news is that you can always return to school down the road to potentially earn your Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in HVAC; boosting your income earning potential. You may also work towards earning specialty certifications such as commercial furnaces, unit ventilators or heat pump pool heaters. The greater expanse of knowledge and skills you have, the greater career you will have.

Whether you like to pump up the heat or cool out, a career in HVAC is an excellent choice!

Construction Management

What is Construction Management?

On your drive to work, the gym or the store, how many construction sites and buildings do you see? Does it seem like everywhere you look on your drive is new construction? From new residential neighborhoods, commercial buildings, highway lane extensions and condos, construction is all around us.

The good news for you is that these construction sites need managers and that could be you! Construction managers oversee projects to ensure they are being done correctly, timely and compliantly. They manage a team of construction workers and tradesmen that all have an important role in the competition of the project. They can work in a variety of settings such as commercial, residential, institutional, agricultural, industrial and heavy civil.

What does a Construction Manager do?

  • Plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from end to finish
  • Set schedules and monitor budgets
  • Ensure safety protocols are being followed on site
  • Manage construction contracts and compliance regulations
  • Address emergencies and work delays

The Pros & Cons

    Pros:
  • Earn significant wages
  • A chance to be authoritative and step as the decision maker
  • Upward mobility is granted through hard work and time
    Cons:
  • Highly stressful as you are overseeing a lot of people and work under strict timelines
  • Extensive travel required since your project may most likely not be in your city
  • Handling situations when things do not go as planned

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of construction managers is expected to grow faster than the average at 10%.

Quick Facts: Construction Managers

2018 Median Pay

$93,370 per year
$44.89 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

Bachelor’s degree

Number of Jobs, 2018

471,800

Job Outlook, 2018-28

10% (Faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

46,200

Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm

Construction Management Education

In order to start your career, you must complete your Bachelor’s degree in construction management, which will take approximately four years. You may also enroll in graduate school and earn your Master’s Degree in an additional two years. It is vital to learn hands-on skills and gain experience in the field as well. Many construction management students work during the day and go to night school. Some colleges even offer degrees through an online education.

Do you meet the following personality traits and skills that make a great construction manager?

  • Excellent verbal and written communication
  • Organized and trained to be highly productive
  • Copes well with stress and problems
  • Analytical yet creative
  • A strong leader and motivator
  • Problem solving
  • Enjoys challenges

If you answered yes to these traits, you should most definitely consider a career in construction management. Find a school near you or online today at AmeriColleges.com!

Whether you like to pump up the heat or cool out, a career in HVAC is an excellent choice!

Truck Driving

What is Truck Driving?

When you first got your license at 16 years old, you were probably ecstatic to get your hands on the wheel and finally have your teenage freedom. At a young age, driving may have been exciting and even fun but as you grew up and realized how much responsibility came along with driving and owning a car, it may have lost its magic. Driving on the roads is actually very dangerous. Nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. Every time you get behind the wheel, you are taking on the responsibility of following the road laws, being safe, alert and careful. Safe driving is for yourself (and passengers) and the thousands of other people on the road with you.

Truck drivers must be even more careful than the average driver. They are driving a semi-truck that weights anywhere between 35,000 to 80,000 pounds! The engines of semis or 18 wheelers are up to 6 times larger than that of a standard automobile. Your car may run for up to 200,000 miles but a semi engine can run for up to a million miles!

What does a Truck Driver do?

  • Operates heavy trucks in order to transport goods from one location to another
  • Performs mechanical checks to ensure all parts of the vehicle are working properly
  • Inspects cargo to make sure it was properly loaded and secured
  • Maintains records of their hours and goods transported
  • Adheres to the traffic laws
  • Minor truck repairs and maintenance

The Pros & Cons

    Pros:
  • You can qualify for health insurance benefits and retirement plans
  • You get to explore the world behind the wheel
  • Independent work
  • Does not require much physical labor
    Cons:
  • It can get lonely
  • May be stressful due to traffic and deadlines
  • Long hours spent away from home
  • May experience sleep deprivation

Occupational Outlook

Employment growth for truck drivers is steady. According to the BLS, the job outlook for drivers is projected to grow by 5% through 2028.

Quick Facts: Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

2018 Median Pay

$43,680 per year
$21.00 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

Postsecondary nondegree award

Number of Jobs, 2018

1,958,800

Job Outlook, 2018-28

5% (As fast as average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

99,700

Reference: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm

How to become a Truck Driver

There are many school options for truck driving and obtaining your CDL license. Truck driving school can require anywhere between 200 to 700 hours. Types of truck driving schools include certified schools, sponsored training, accredited trade schools, colleges, universities, state licensed and schools owned by truck companies. Some companies will train you on the job but you would only obtain your Class-B or Class-C license. If you want to earn more money, you must pass the test for your CDL license. Though it is not required, schooling is highly recommended by many truck driving companies.

You will learn the basic skills for advance handling in truck driving school such as road signs, regulations, map reading, route planning, operating heavy duty trucks, vehicle inspections and safety procedures. School will prepare you for the CDL license exam.

The CDL exam is a combination of a written and driving proportion. The written section has three parts: general knowledge, combination vehicles and air brakes. The written exam may be taken online. The driving exam also has three areas that must all be passed in order to obtain your CDL license: pre-trip inspection, road test and backing. You may take the test up to 6 times per year until you pass.

So if the open road and lots of isolation is calling your name, find a truck driving school in your area now at AmeriCollegs.com!

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