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List of Trade Jobs

For individuals who prefer working with their hands to sitting behind a desk, a trade job may be the perfect fit. Those who work in trade jobs require specialized skills, so they receive training that is specific to the trade field that they enter. Many trade workers belong to unions that provide training opportunities and advocate on behalf of workers. Individuals may choose among trade jobs that utilize electrical, mechanical, creative and other skills.

Electrician

Electricians install and repair electrical equipment in homes and businesses. Some electricians specialize in construction projects, while others work in the maintenance and upgrade of existing electrical systems. Construction electricians usually follow blueprints to identify where circuits, panel boards, load centers and outlets should be placed. They then connect wires to the components, so electricity reaches all systems. Maintenance electricians may update fuse boxes with circuit breaker boxes or install new light fixtures and electrical appliances. Most electricians receive their training through apprenticeship programs, where they learn on the job and receive classroom instruction. Local chapters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers or the National Electrical Contractors Association offer apprenticeship programs. Most states require electricians to earn a license in order to work, which usually requires passing a licensing exam. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for electricians was $23.96 in 2012.

Carpenter

Carpenters are trade workers who build and repair structures made out of wood. Some carpenters work on construction projects, while others remodel homes or build kitchen cabinets. They build wall frames or partitions, construct staircases, install windows and doors, and put in molding and cabinets. On construction sites, carpenters erect scaffolding or build wooden forms used to pour concrete. Some carpenters design, build and repair furniture. Most carpenters receive their training on the job through an apprenticeship or work as a carpenter’s helper. Vocational and technical schools offer carpentry trade programs that train individuals for work in the field. Carpenters who complete formal apprentice training programs are eligible for certification. According to the BLS, in 2012 the median hourly wage for carpenters was $19.20.

Mechanic

Mechanics repair and maintain cars and other vehicles. They perform routine maintenance services or repair serious problems. When mechanics perform a service inspection, they test all parts of the car. Because car engines and systems have become so complex, mechanics must possess computer skills in addition to mechanical skills. As a result, many mechanics complete formal training programs at vocational schools or community colleges, where they receive practical hands-on experience and classroom instruction. Certification by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence requires experience in the field and the successful completion of a certification exam. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for mechanics was $17.60 as of 2012.

Plumber

Plumbers repair and install water, drainage, waste disposal and gas systems in homes and businesses. They also install showers, bathtubs, toilets and sinks, as well as dishwashers, water heaters and garbage disposals. Some plumbers receive their training through apprenticeships, while others attend training programs at vocational schools or community colleges. The National Association of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors offers apprentice programs and provides trainees with paid on-the-job training and classroom instruction. According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for plumbers was $23.62 in 2012.



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