If you’re a women looking for a more profitable and fulfilling line of work, you may want to consider a career in the skilled trades. Skilled trade jobs typically pay better than child care, accounting, and administrative work—some of the jobs women tend to gravitate toward. They also offer plenty of room for career advancement and don’t require a costly, time-consuming university degree. Women in conventionally female-dominated jobs often already have the skills needed to transition to higher paying positions in traditionally male-dominated fields like welding, HVAC, and electrical work.
Choosing a Skilled Trade
Consider your existing skill set when choosing a skilled trade. Women who work as packaging and filling machine operators in manufacturing, for instance, often have good hand-arm steadiness, manual dexterity, and the control precision needed to become welders. With welding training, they could upgrade from earning about $26,000 a year to a median $39,000 annually.
Trade schools offer training in welding, electrical wiring, plumbing, pipe fitting, HVAC work, and a host of other professions. It typically takes less than a year to complete a trade school program and the average cost is $33,000; this is significantly lower than the expense of going to a 4-year college or university, which could run you $127,000.
Selecting Your Career Path
Once you know what you want to do, take a moment to consider your future career path. HVAC technicians and electricians can, for instance, climb the ladder to become managers or engineers, respectively. Alternatively, you could opt to work for the Federal Government. The U.S. Government employed over 170,000 blue-collar workers in 2013, and they not only enjoyed great job security but also generous benefits and a median annual wage of over $50,000 a year.
Yet another career path to consider is working for an employer for a number of years and then striking out on your own to become a contractor, small business owner, or entrepreneur. As Tulsa Welding School points out in the below illustration, 15 percent of HVAC mechanics, 11 percent of electricians, and 7 percent of welders are self-employed.
Skilled trade jobs have much to offer women of all ages and walks of life. If you are a young woman who is choosing a career path for the first time or already have job experience but are looking for a better line of work, take some time to consider skilled trade job options and see which one may be right for you personally.