Over the years, job openings in the trades have remained steady and even grown in some areas. It provides a good living without years of expensive schooling and teaches students valuable skills that not only serve them at work, but in their home lives as well. You don’t have to want to be a construction worker to see the value in learning the basics of the trade. Trades are unique in that the best way to learn them is through practical experience, not exclusively from books.
To break into a trade, you’ll need to apprentice. In the past, this would mean living as an indentured servant to a master craftsman for seven years. Now, you can learn your trade by attending colleges that specialize in the skilled trades, such as construction, electrical, and plumbing. This allows you to learn your craft both theoretically, through classroom instruction, and practically, with hands-on instruction. Doing an apprenticeship program through a trade school is the best way to get into the construction field.
The level of schooling available to students varies with the college. You might have the option to get a four-year degree or complete a certificate instead. Some also offer post-graduate instruction, as well. There are also short, intensive training programs, such as pre-apprenticeship programs, that offer more focused instruction. High school students can also find programs designed for them that can be completed alongside their regular secondary education. In general, you can expect to complete two to four years of instruction to earn your certificate, diploma, or degree and several weeks or months to complete a pre-apprenticeship program.
Your basic entrance requirements will depend on the school to which you apply and the type of instruction you want to complete. You will most likely be required to demonstrate a firm grasp of basic English and mathematics, whichever type of instruction you’re interested in. Obviously, programs designed for high school students will have fewer requirements than those needed to be accepted in to a post-graduate program. You might also be required to offer proof of other things, such as work experience or certain coursework in addition to these basic requirements.
With most trade colleges, you’ll have options as to how you complete your coursework. For example, they may offer courses that you can take once a week or full time scholarship, which requires 15 to 20 hours a week of class time. They may even offer distance learning courses, that is, those that can be taken online. You can complete your degree more quickly by studying full time, or work a part-time schedule around your other obligations, such as work or family life.