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Pandemic Proof Careers – Skilled Trades

Pandemic Proof Careers in Skilled Trades

While things quickly shifted in February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world looked to those in the areas of installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, also known as skilled trades, to help them keep it all together. These individuals were some of the first to head back to work due to the unmistakable importance of their jobs. While some were able to shift the scope of their job and work from home at the start of the pandemic, skilled trades workers had to be on the job each day to get their work done. People stuck in their homes also relied on skilled trades workers to show up so they could have those things essential to their lives including, heating, water, and electricity.

As the world began to open up, people who had been stuck in their homes for far too long unknowingly needed skilled mechanics to keep trucks, trains, and planes operational so they could get supply chains up and running again. The sheer importance of these skills has led to the assurance of stability, demand, flexibility, and return on investment in the skilled trades. Growth in this career sector comes from emerging technologies, such as solar and wind power, which require skilled tradespeople to operate, as well as from an aging workforce that will be heading into retirement over the next decade. Education for skilled trades is often found at a career or technical school, and a quarter of high schoolers are more likely to attend a career or technical education school than they were pre-pandemic.

Here is a look at the 5 hottest emerging careers in skilled trades:

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanic or technician
Projected percent change, 2020–2030: 11% Faster than average Projected employment change: 17,400 new job openings
Median annual wages, May 2020: $66,680
Education: FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school

 

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technician
Projected percent change, 2020–2030: 11% Faster than average Projected employment change: 24,300 new job openings

Median annual wages, May 2020: $53,370 Education: Postsecondary nondegree award

 

Industrial machinery mechanic, machinery maintenance worker, or millwright
Projected percent change, 2020–2030: 19% Much faster than average

Projected employment change: 95,200 new job openings Median annual wages, May 2020: $54,920
Education: Postsecondary nondegree award

 

Solar photovoltaic installer

Projected percent change, 2020–2030: 52% Much faster than average

Projected employment change: 6,100 new job openings Median annual wages, May 2020: $46,470
Education: Technical school certificate

 

Wind turbine service technician

Projected percent change, 2020–2030:  68% Largest change across all industries

Projected employment change: 4,700 new job openings Median annual wages, May 2020: $56,230
Education: Postsecondary nondegree award

If one of these careers sparked your interest, a job in the skilled trades industry might be the perfect fit for you. For more information about the skilled trades industry, including additional careers within it, make sure you download the Imagine America Foundation’s full brochure on Pandemic Proof Careers in Skilled Trades.

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