How Get A Career In The Trades

Bearded carpenter planning woodworking project-cm

While more and more of the workforce is becoming prepared to work in a white collar office job, there is an ever-increasing need for the blue collar worker in the trades. White collar work has been pushed hard in schools over the last 20 years! Because of that, along with a building boom and retiring workforce, we’ve got a significant labor gap on our hands. This is driving a high demand for talented craftsmen, which also means the pay is more lucrative and competitive to white collar work.

For many workers, the white collar office job isn’t as satisfying because you often can’t see the solid results from your effort. In fact, about 40% of the office jobs are just coordinating and mediating rather than actually doing a task of some sort. Plus, some workers are surprised to realize that they may find more intellectually stimulating and creative work in the trades rather than in an office. If you’ve been thinking about getting into the trades, here are the steps to take to start or change a career to the trades:


Start a hobby.

Start at home or take up a hobby in an area that you’re interested in. If you want work in construction, put up drywall in your basement. I you want to be a carpenter, then take up word-working. Tinker around with different power tools and projects to see what and if you truly do enjoy working with them. And there are a lot of tutorials on YouTube and other online sources, where you can get good information without breaking the bank.


Get your high school degree.

Once you’ve decided you’d like to pursue this as a career, you’ll need to have to have a high school diploma. So if you don’t have one, then stay in school or go get your GED. And you’ll also need to take an SAT or ACT test, even if you don’t plan to go to a four-year college, because your scores will be needed in order to get your vocational training.


Begin some training.

Next, you’ll want to choose your area of interest, and enroll in classes in that field at your local community college. You could also go to a technical or trade school, depending upon your interests and how specialized they are. Start learning about the basics in some beginning classes. You may or may not need some of this classwork before you can enroll in an apprenticeship program, but most experts agree that it will help you get better apprenticeships if you do.


Apply for apprenticeship.

If you’re ready to pursue it further, many community colleges have apprenticeship programs, or you may find one through a local union chapter or even non-union contractors or businesses. An apprenticeship program essentially facilitates you getting hands-on experience while also taking classes. The Madden Apprenticeship Program we offer is in partnership with Portland Community College, and it’s a great way to learn while you’re getting paid on the job. Once you’re accepted into a program, you’ll usually learn under a Master Tradesman (or several) for a set amount of required hours until you’re ready to take the Journeyman test, which is just a test that says you’ve officially completed your apprenticeship program.


Become a Journeyman.

Depending upon the trade, your apprenticeship training could take up to 4 years. You’ll be required to pass a test that demonstrates the required skills and knowledge before becoming a Journeyman. Once you’ve passed the test, you are a certified licensed tradesman and no longer required to work under someone else’s license. After 3-6 years as a Journeyman, you can then work towards becoming become a Master Tradesman. Master certification usually requires additional schooling and experience. Master Tradesman get higher pay, but they also have additional responsibilities such as supervising apprentices and managing projects at a higher level.


No matter what level you’re at in your trades career, Madden Industrial Staffing can answer your questions and help guide you to the next step. We work with employers that are looking for talented craftsmen (or wanna-be-craftsmen) like you!