Learning a Trade: The Benefits

Learning a skilled trade has fallen by the wayside over the years, with more and more Americans choosing professions in the medical, teaching, or digital media fields over those that don’t require a four-year degree. And even though the advantages of learning a trade far outweigh the disadvantages, there is a serious lack of individuals willing to pursue these jobs.

“Consider the reality of today’s job market. We have a massive skills gap. Even with record unemployment, millions of skilled jobs are unfilled because no one is trained or willing to do them. Meanwhile unemployment among college graduates is at an all-time high, and the majority of those graduates with jobs are not working in their field of study. Plus, they owe a trillion dollars in student loans. A trillion! And still, we push a four-year college degree as the best way for the most people to find a successful career?” says Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe.

While the monetary benefits of working a so-called “blue collar” job differ from state to state and year to year, there are many advantages to being able to learn a skill in two years or less, the first being that you can get to work sooner than someone who is earning a four-year degree.

Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of learning a skilled trade.

There are plenty of jobs to go around

With a skilled trade such as welding, plumbing, or working with electricity, there are always plenty of jobs to go around because there are a limited number of people who are trained to work them. The people who do these kinds of jobs literally keep the country going from day to day, yet their knowledge and expertise in a given field could retire with them due to the lack of willing trade labor.

It’s cheaper to learn

Most skilled trades require one or two years of school with plenty of on-the-job training, meaning not only do you pay less for education, you’ll also be able to start working and earning more quickly. Depending on the job, you might even qualify for help with your tuition if you work there while you’re in school, meaning you won’t be in debt up to your eyeballs by the time you graduate.

You can likely set your own hours

Many skilled trades workers are independent contractors, meaning they work for themselves and make their own hours. This is a huge benefit, as it allows you to be self-employed and set your own rules about the way you run your business. Of course, this also means that you have to be very aware of what your clients are looking for and how to make them happy; read this informative guide to find out more about what customers want in a contractor.


Learning a trade means doing something you enjoy, that you’re good at, and that you can parlay into something else down the road if necessary. For instance, you might learn to weld and get a job with a fencing company, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in the same business for your whole career; you might decide to try a different type of welding later on. This kind of flexibility is a huge advantage for individuals who like to try new things and don’t like feeling “stuck” in one place.

Learning a skilled trade isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a career that won’t require a four-year degree and will allow you to set your own schedule, consider checking it out. Go here for a list of the highest-paying trades around.