High school students are increasingly looking for alternatives to a four-year college degree. Don't get me wrong; a traditional route is not a terrible option. However, students want more than one avenue to success. A noticeable gap has become apparent with the increasing demand to improve US infrastructure. As necessary, in-demand, and lucrative as trade careers are, they have not been pursued in recent years with the same frequency as in the past.
The right initiatives are needed to demonstrate the tremendous potential of trade careers. Guidance on getting started is always helpful. Yet, it can be more challenging to come by unless you already have a friend or family member in the field. Suppose you want to pursue a trade and are unsure how. There is no need to stress. Try following these three basic tips to help you get started.
#1 Do your research
When pursuing any new career, it's critical to keep yourself well informed. Don't just jump into the first thing you find. Make sure to take the time to read over the requirements, processes, and opportunities of each trade. There is more than one path you can take. Apprenticeship programs, for example, are required and can be acquired through different types of organizations. Depending on the trade, apprenticeships can take different amounts of time. Sometimes a couple of years are required.
Your household necessities and financial position should always be a part of your decision-making process. Talking to a professional in the field or someone getting their license will be very helpful. Consider also the physical requirements and growth opportunities of each trade. Think about your options thoroughly. You should always consider your personal goals, physical limitations, and time constraints.
#2 Build your network
Like most things in life, having a group of people to look to for support will be a helpful tool. In your journey to find the perfect trade career, look for people who can help you along the way. There will undoubtedly be individuals going through the same thing you are.
Use your resources to your advantage. In very hands-on professions that often require entering people's homes and businesses, references and professional relationships are your most significant advantage. Thankfully, modern technology gives us a networking advantage our parents and grandparents did not have. You can find those with similar goals by turning to social media, labor organizations, and social groups.
#3 Consider the pros and cons of joining a labor union
Unions are a significant factor when it comes to trade careers. Therefore, understanding the pros and cons of union vs. nonunion groups is also very important. To start, a labor union is an organization of workers who discuss and make decisions surrounding wages, work conditions, and employee benefits for those in their organization and trade.
The decisions made in union groups tend to influence their industry. Yet, being an actual union member has its strengths and weaknesses. When starting, having additional assistance from a group of knowledgeable professionals can help lift a weight off your shoulders. Unions offer a structured environment and knowledge that could be useful to someone new in the field. Networking, apprenticeship, and even employment opportunities could be facilitated.
However, keep in mind that union fees and policies could also prove to be somewhat limiting. To be a part of the union, you must give them a percentage of your pay. Additionally, the views of the union will almost always overshadow your own. Therefore, your personal goals and aspirations must be brought to life within the parameters of the union's policies. Overall there are benefits to be had from either path. The most important part is to research and consult a professional with experience in your trade.