Top reasons to pursue a career in skilled labor
Whether you’re on the verge of graduating high school or you graduated years ago, you might find yourself in the same place—wondering what’s next. Maybe you’ve navigated years of school and just don’t think the traditional four-year university experience is right for you. Or maybe you dread thinking about sitting behind a desk every day for another week.
Either way, if you’re ready to get into the workforce and like the idea of an active career working with your hands, a career in skilled labor might be right for you.
Check out some of our top reasons to pursue this field.
- You can get hands-on experience from the start. Whether you choose to pursue training at a tech school or get training on the job, in the skilled labor field, you’ll likely get your hands dirty from the start. Skilled labor is a hands-on field, and you could find yourself doing everything from working on a construction site to repairing an air conditioning unit. At a technical school, unlike in some other school settings, you might get to combine learning in the classroom with hands-on experience, including training on industry-standard equipment. This can provide a balance between knowledge and real-world experience that employers may be looking for.1
- Skilled labor is in demand.1 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2020, the U.S. economy had 6.8 million unfilled jobs, but only 9 million unemployed people. Many of those open jobs could be in the skilled labor field, such as construction. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects faster-than-average employment in the construction industry, with more than 7.5 million jobs projected by 2026.2 The specialty trade contractor subsector, which contains many skilled positions such as electricians, HVAC mechanics and roofers, is projected to grow fastest, with a nearly 20 percent increase predicted.2
- It can be less expensive and faster to enter the field.1 Many careers in the skilled labor field— from HVAC technicians and plant operators to drafters— don’t require a four-year degree to enter the field. The same is usually true in the construction industry. Instead, employers typically look for an associate degree, or a certification from a technical school or vocational program.1 Often, these programs can be completed in under two years, and sometimes under a year.3 Because of this, it can cost less than paying for tuition for four years at another institution.
If these reasons sound appealing to you, you might consider enrolling at a technical school to pursue a skilled labor career.
1 Employment is not guaranteed for students or graduates.
2 BLS statistics represent national job growth expectations and are not necessarily reflective of local market conditions.
3 Program completion times may vary based on individual performance/circumstances. Individual results may vary.
- Job openings as of January 2020
- Unemployment number as of January 2020
- The BLS projects faster-than-average growth in the construction field
- 5 million jobs projected in the construction field by 2026
- The specialty trade subcontractor field is projected to grow 20 percent
- How to become an HVAC tech
- How to become a plant operator
- How to become a drafter
- Many construction jobs don’t require a four-year degree