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Skilled Trades: 3 Myths About Becoming A Tradesman

Skilled trades used to be the center of America's economy until we started to move towards more desk-based jobs. We started pushing our children to go to college. We began to look down on blue-collar jobs. We focused on learning to code, instead of learning to become an electrician.

The result? Skilled trades cannot find enough workers, and college students are graduating with record-high debt and low pay. Unfortunately, many do not know that entry-level skilled trades position pay very well, and they have a lot of career growth. Let's explore the three biggest myths about skilled trades.

1) You Won't Make Any Money

We have an idea that plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians work hard all day for no money. The reality is that workers in skilled trades earn really good money. HVAC technicians have an average salary of $57,000, and oil & gas workers get paid even more.

After five years of an apprenticeship as a plumber, you can make $90,000 a year. Since there is a shortage of workers, companies will pay you to learn as an apprentice. Compare that to college, which costs tens of thousands of dollars, and it is a compelling choice to join the skilled trades.

2) You Must Go To College To Get A Good Job

College is great for some people, but not everyone. Everyone knows someone who has always been great with their hands. They took woodshop in high school, and they would rather build than sit in a classroom all day. They work on cars or doing projects around the house. They are obsessed with mechanical components or wiring.

We take mechanically inclined people, and we try to force them down the college path.

We take mechanically inclined people, and we try to force them down the college path. Why? They would excel in a skilled trade, enjoy the work they perform, and earn good money. That isn't even mentioning not having student debt or four years of experience before their colleagues even graduate.

3) There Is No Career Advancement In Trades

When people find out about the money in skilled trades, they often ask about career advancement. Sure, the starting pay is similar, but where do they end up?

Skilled trades have more career advancement than traditional jobs. Career advancement in skilled trades is due to the shortage of workers in the industry and a huge skill gap. Most workers in the skilled trades are 50+ since young workers have been pushed through college.

The industry is starving for competent young workers to move into leadership roles. Matt at SkillCat is a perfect example of this. He left his post-college job to become a cable line puller. In 2 years, Matt had moved to a team lead. He was earning significantly more than he was with a college degree and multiple credentials. He could always find work, and he regularly received offers at other companies. If you are interested in hearing more, you can read Matt's story here.

4) Skilled trade workers aren't smart.

This one always makes me laugh because it is so untrue. When we need someone to fix our AC, we call an HVAC technician. Generally, they try to explain the problem to us, and we look at them confused. Maybe we throw our hands up and ask them to fix it.

Skilled trade workers may not be coders or mathematicians. Still, they have a mechanical intelligence that most people do not possess. They are also incredibly practical and resourceful. You would never know it, but they find innovative ways to solve your problems. Don't believe me? Check out the HVAC worker Reddit.

5) Skilled Trades Are Just Manual Labor

If you haven't noticed the theme yet, this could not be farther from the truth. Skilled trades involve manual labor. Tradesman will work in hot environments, lift heavy objects, and move most of the day. To most people, that is what they see when someone works on their HVAC unit.

In reality, most of the job for a skilled tradesman is problem-solving. It is listening to the customer, running diagnostics and tests to find the problem, and then using creativity to create the best solution. Many technicians love their job because they feel like geniuses. They go from house to house, solving problems with creativity.

Imagine America without plumbing, AC, electricity, and oil. All of our desk jobs would become useless.

There is also a deep meaning in what skilled tradesmen do. Imagine America without plumbing, AC, electricity, and oil. All of our desk jobs would become useless. Blue-collar workers power the United States. They are the foundation for all of our jobs and our lifestyles.


Those are the five biggest myths when it comes to skilled trades. It is time that America brings back its blue collar workforce. They are responsible for maintaining most of the systems that we need to power America. We have neglected them for decades.

We continue to force people into college when a fulfilling and high paying career is available right out of high school—Interested in learning a skilled trade? Check out SkillCat. We provide free online training and job placement to graduates of our bootcamps. You can find our free online HVAC courses for the EPA 608, NATE Ready To Work, and more.


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