Why Teenagers Don’t Consider Careers in Skilled Trades

Having a career in the trade industry offers reliable work and income. Yet many teens never consider a trade career when planning potential paths for their future. Here are three reasons why your teen may be overlooking a lucrative career path that can lead to long-term success.

1. They haven’t been shown the earning potential.
Most people underestimate the earning potential of any job that doesn’t require a college degree, even though many skilled trades pay more than jobs that require a four-year degree plus experience. Another thing to consider, this earning potential starts immediately for most people as training begins in an entry-level position or paid apprenticeship. For the trades that do require a couple years of school, the cost of those programs is far less than traditional college!

Here are a few comparisons so you can see the difference in earning potential for yourself:

  • Plumbers make $25.92 per hour on average compared to Social Workers who make an average of $23.79 per hour.
  • Carpenters make $22.40 per hour on average compared to Customer Service Reps who make an average of $16.23 per hour.
  • Electricians make $26.53 per hour on average compared to Retail Managers who make an average of $21.61 per hour.  

2. Surrounding culture doesn’t support the trade industry. 
The truth of the matter is our culture glorifies careers that require years of expensive schooling. Characters in shows and movies often praise the son or daughter who is a doctor, lawyer, actor, or sports star rather than a construction worker. Our culture, as a whole, doesn’t seem to support the trade industry. We’ve never understood this! And frankly, we think it’s silly.

It’s up to parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and neighbors to change the stigma about working in the trade industry. If your teen shows interest in the industry, be sure to let them know it’s a valid option!

3. The traditional education system pushes college. 
Teens may not be considering trade career options that don’t include college because our educational systems aren’t considering them as an option. Now, hear us when we say there is nothing wrong with a teen wanting to pursue an education after high school. There are some students that would thrive in a skilled trade career, but they don’t realize it’s a valid option because schools aren’t educating students on all of their options. It’s time to educate guidance counselors on the rewarding careers in the construction trades and bring back shop programs in our schools.

The bottom line for anyone advocating for their teen’s future, skilled trades positions are a valid and reliable career path. In fact, by 2028 there will be 3 million job openings in the skilled trades. The industry is looking for reliable, hardworking individuals who want to learn and build their skillset. If you or your teen has questions about the industry, let us know! We’d love to help you find answers.

The information in this post was found through The News Blog of the National Association of Home Builders.