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How To Get Into A Skilled Trade

skilled trade

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A skilled trade career can be very rewarding, with great potential for professional development and a solid salary. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in a trade like welding, carpentry, masonry or auto mechanics, there are some great ways to prepare to enter these challenging fields. 

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The Right Attitude

Many people see studying for a trade as an alternative to college. In fact, a trade is a skilled option that is more than equal to more traditional academic studies. No matter how many PHDs you have, if the boiler breaks down, the smartest person is the person who can fix it, regardless of qualifications. 

A skilled trade career can be very rewarding, with great potential for professional development and a solid salary.

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It’s important to take on a trade with the right attitude to your learning. You should be choosing this as a career option because you want to learn a skill and earn through this skill, not because you think it will be easier than a college course. 

Trades can be very challenging jobs, and you will need to be prepared to work under difficult conditions occasionally. In most skilled trades, you will need to be physically fit, and willing to work in less than ideal environments. Work may be outside in the cold and rain, or it might be in cramped, dirty spaces. You need to be ready to work with your hands, even when it may be uncomfortable. You’ll need good communication skills to work with customers and be able to handle difficult customers in a professional manner. 

Safety Knowledge

One of the biggest challenges of skilled trades is that they can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s important to take the proper safety training for the career you’re considering, so you can keep safe while on the job. Depending on the trade you choose, different safety knowledge is required. For example, roofers will need to know how to work safely at a height. Plumbers and electricians, and several other trades should take confined space training, as you might find yourself working in very cramped conditions at times.  Electricians will, of course, need to know how to work safely and reduce the likelihood of injury or property damage.

Secure An Apprenticeship

One of the best ways to get into a skilled trade is to learn while on the job. There is a certain amount of academic style learning in most trades, but practical skills are easiest to earn by doing them. If you can, find a local tradesman who is willing to take on an apprentice.

“Vocational training provides very specific skills versus many four-year college programs which offer general knowledge but may not provide transferable skills. Vocational training programs are “hands-on” programs taught by industry professionals. Many programs lead to apprenticeship or internship opportunities.” – Kick-Start Your Career with Vocational Training

Working with someone already in the field is a great way to learn. You’ll pick up essential job skills, and also learn things you won’t learn from books, like communicating with customers, overcoming problems that come up during a job and construction site etiquette. Once you’ve finished your training, you’ll also have already built some contacts in the industry, and will have some feedback from customers behind you to help you find that first job out on your own

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