How to Get into the Trades

How to get into the trades

It’s a pivotal time when high school seniors make a college decision. Some are wondering if the four-year college degree route is the right choice for them. Nowadays, students need to consider many factors before deciding on a college.


For starters, not all youths are adept for four years of classes before they can get a job. They would rather spend their time gaining hands-on experience. Not to mention, a four-year college degree doesn’t seem worth it when you assess the cost, i.e. crippling student debt. Many students get unmanageable student debt every year. This is because they don’t know about the options available to them.

The Benefit of Joining the Trades

If you think that describes your situation, then a career in the trades is the perfect choice for you. Unlike common misconceptions about the trades, it will provide you with consistent opportunities. There is job security and the chance to earn while you gain a skilled qualification.


You can choose from many trade skills, like plumbing, construction, and welding. Learning any trade skill opens up a world of opportunity. Skilled trades are for anyone looking for a lucrative career.

How to get into a trade

Let’s navigate through the process of acquiring a trade skill license. Plus, we will look at accessing a great job opportunity in the market.

Graduate From High School

A major misconception about the trades is that you don’t need a qualification. While you may not need a college degree, you do need a high school diploma. So if you were planning on dropping out, don’t! Finish your degree and make sure to develop better analytical skills. If you don’t have a high school diploma or dropped out some time ago, an equal, such as a GED, will also work.

Get Training

Next up, you need some training before you can start working in an apprenticeship. Although there’s a low influx of students joining the trades, there’s still a lot of competition. Master plumbers look for students who show confidence in performing hands-on work. They must prove skills in the trades, like handling tools, taking measurements, etc.


You can start by taking up a summer job as a helper or assistant for an electrician or plumber. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the field before starting formal education. Next, you can take a few courses at a vocational school. These introduce you to concepts in a classroom setting, so you understand better.

Apply for an Apprenticeship

After you complete a few weeks of vocational training, it’s time to apply for an apprenticeship. This is the college equal of qualifying for a license. It also allows you to practice your specific trade. Like a degree program, most apprenticeships last around four years. Some states have a higher rule of around five years.


The benefit of an apprenticeship, over a four-year college route, is that it allows you to work at the same time. This allows you to learn the trade, get hands-on experience, and earn a decent wage. Also, by the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll have paid for it by yourself. You won’t get massive amounts of debt.

Where do I Find an Apprenticeship

You can find apprenticeships as sponsored by the U.S. military. Others include labor organizations, workforce agencies, colleges, industry associations, unions, and employers. According to federal standards, you need at least 144 hours of classroom training. Plus, 2,000 hours of hands-on experience for each year of an apprenticeship.


Generally, apprenticeships last between one and six years. Once you start, you’ll be making around half as much as a licensed journeyman. Your wage increases as you learn more skills and get closer to completing the training.

Fill In an Application for the Licensing Exam

After completing your apprenticeship, it’s time to apply for a license. Visit the office for the licensing authority in your state or district, or go onto their website. There, you’ll find the application form for the licensing exam. Fill it in and submit it along with the licensing fee (this fee can vary from state to state).

Take the Licensing Exam

The licensing authority will review your application. They will accept it if it meets the requirements. Then, you can take the exam, which will cover a range of topics based on the trade skill you’re applying for. If you applied to get a plumbing license, the exam will ask about plumbing and building codes. Other trades will ask specific questions related to the skillset.

Get Your License and Start Working

After giving your exam, you qualify for a license if you get a passing score. Once you get a license, it’s easy to secure a job in a company, organization, or as an individual contractor.


Most states provide a state exam. Contact your state licensing division for details about exams. And, look on your state’s website to contact the licensing department.


You can search for trade jobs on websites like Indeed.com, monster.com, and any local newspaper. You can also target specific companies you would like to work for and send a resume. Most companies are always hiring for a skilled trade. It’s important to know what you want out of a job so you can select the best match.

How to Decide about the Trades

It’s always a good idea to shadow a particular trade that is appealing. But, with the trade shortage, many businesses welcome the opportunity to give a demo. You can look at the National PHCC website for career resources in Plumbing or HVAC. This video explains what a trade career can offer. The state of Indiana offers a website explaining the best career for you. There is a program centered on inner-city students with a career path for the trades.

Learn about Different Trades

There is a wide variety of trades. In fact, there are 100’s of different kinds of trades. It’s a matter of doing basic research as you would about choosing a college degree. Everything from A to Z when it comes to trades. A wide variety of types of trades. Lists of the highest paying trades. Websites with lists of trade careers. There is a list of skilled trades and student scholarships.

Trade Life is Exciting!

One benefit of the trades is the satisfaction of physical work and accomplishment. If you like building things, then the trades may be for you. Trade jobs are more active versus sitting at a desk all day. Hands-on jobs use motor skills that keep the brain sharp to master a skill. Plus, hands-on jobs pay well. This brings satisfaction for the payment of a skill maintained.


Skilled trade is a vocational path so it’s clear cut. This gets you where you are going without distraction. It’s a clear cut path to learn and earn. What a great sense of accomplishment knowing you mastered skills that are in high demand. Your value as a person with ability increases.


Having a trade serves others because generally there is a service provided. Most people have a car to drive and need auto mechanics skills to help them. People who fly depend on the aviation mechanic to maintain the plane. There is construction and mechanical trades that build housing. While these are obvious trades, there are many specialized that benefit others. The satisfaction of knowing your skill helps others is priceless.

Trade Life™ gives back to the Trades

The management and employees at Trade Life are passionate about helping the community. We have chosen to partner with Boys Town and donate 10% of our sales to this organization. Boys Town works to create opportunities for America’s underprivileged youth. It serves as one of the largest nonprofit childcare agencies in the country. They focus on helping children and families with behavioral, physical and emotional problems.


Along with providing online resources, Boys Town has 9 locations across the country. These locations provide in-person counseling as well as other resources. Among these resources is the Trade Life Program. The Trade Life program in Boys Town provides education in the skilled-trades to youth. Those who take part in this program are able to master skills that they can take outside of Boys Town. Participants are able to enter the workforce by means of a skilled-trades profession.
The program also serves as communication between Boys Town mentors and youth participants. Training in the skilled-trades creates a bond between the mentee and mentor. Boys Town mentors are able to continue to counsel participants and provide guidance.

Trade Life™ is a Lifestyle

Trade Life™ is a lifestyle brand for the tradesman or tradeswoman. People who live the trades as their professional career will love Trade Life™ t-shirts. Our mission is for the tradesman or tradeswoman to be proud to wear their gear. Trade Life™ is a life-calling vocational journey and represents a style of work. Represent your trade with Trade Life™!