Overview of Different Skilled Trade Jobs
The National Association for Business Economics polled 103 corporate planners and financial analysts to find that approximately one-third of their companies are experiencing difficulty hiring skilled workers. For those seeking labor positions throughout the U.S. this is the best time to obtain certification. HVAC, plumbing, and piping are a few industries with varied job opportunities and room for advancement.
With an HVAC certificate, you can diagnose and fix heating and air-conditioning problems and install equipment. Most trade schools across the country offer six-month to two-year HVAC certification programs.
Refrigerator Installer: As a refrigerator installer, you perform unit placements and provide servicing for industrial and commercial refrigerating systems. By obtaining certification from an accredited school, advancement opportunities may be available.
The median salaries by location for a mid-level installer are: Los Angeles: $50,100; San Francisco: $52,400; Chicago: $47,900; Detroit: $49,100; Austin: $43,400; Philadelphia: $47,200; Boston: $49,600; New York: $52,500
HVAC Repair Mechanic: HVAC mechanics are called into businesses and homes to repair heating, ventilating, and refrigeration systems. With an HVAC certificate and approximately two years experience, entry-level mechanics are qualified to understand the layout of various airflow systems. As your technical skill grows, salaries and job advancement are probable.
The median salaries by location for entry-level repair mechanics are: Los Angeles: $41,500, San Francisco: $43,400; Chicago: $39,700; Detroit: $40,700, Austin: $36,000; Philadelphia: $39,100; Boston: $41,100; New York: $43,500
Electric Technician: Electric technicians install fuel lines, water supply lines, air ducts and vents within air-conditioning or heating systems. You will connect electrical wiring and check the installed unit by using carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide testers, a procedure that requires on-the-job training or electrician certification. Certified training and advanced skill may lead to further job opportunities.
The median salaries by location for a certified electric technician with two to five years of experience are: Los Angeles: $49,000, San Francisco: $51,200; Chicago: $46,900; Detroit: $48,000; Austin: $42,500; Philadelphia: $46,100, Boston: $48,500; New York: $51,300
HVAC Contractor: Contractors carry the responsibility of overseeing the proper installation of HVAC systems in new buildings and homes. Because you hold greater responsibility as contractor, you will be responsible for training employees and managing company operations.
In addition to a HVAC certificate, this position may require a bachelor's degree and several years of work-related experience. The median salaries in major cities are: Los Angeles: $54,900; San Francisco: $57,400; Chicago: $52,400; Detroit: $53,800; Austin: $47,500; Philadelphia: $51,600; Boston: $54,300; New York: $57,500
Contract Sales Manager: In a sales management position, you play a more administrative role in the HVAC industry. Here you are responsible for selling contracts to businesses and residences that provide customers with regular heating and cooling system maintenance. In addition to understanding product contracts, you may need marketing experience, an understanding of profit goals, and approximately four years experience. Advancement and salary increases in management and sales positions are promising.
The median salaries for major cities are: Los Angeles: $58,900; San Francisco: $61,600; Chicago: $56,300; Detroit: $57,800; Austin: $51,000; Philadelphia: $55,400; Boston: $58,300; New York: $61,700
Project Manager: As a project manager you are responsible for directing and assisting other HVAC engineers. You will oversee plans and provide your understanding of system functions, construction, design, and efficiency. This higher-level position requires HVAC certification, at least seven years experience, and a bachelor's degree.
The median salaries within major cities are: Los Angeles: $104,900; San Francisco: $109,600; Chicago: $100,200; Detroit: $102,800; Austin: $90,800; Philadelphia: $98,700; Boston: $103,800; New York: $109,900
Piping and Plumbing Certificate
Jobs in the piping and plumbing industries vary quite a bit and training for each position often consists of 4 to 5 years on-the-job experience in addition to classroom education. These certification courses cover blueprint reading, math, chemistry, and plumbing codes. Additionally, apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn hands-on skills. With current labor shortages in these industries, employment trends are favorable.
Pipe layer: An entry-level pipe layer position involves laying clay, concrete, plastic, or cast-iron piping for drains, sewers, and main waterways. You prepare the trenches for the waterways and also weld the pipes together. A high school education, plumbing certification and on the job training are the basic requirements, but an accredited degree will assist in advancement.
The median salaries by location for this position are: Los Angeles: $46,400; San Francisco: $48,500; Chicago: $44,300; Detroit: $45,400; Austin: $48,900; Philadelphia: $43,600; Boston: $45,900; New York: $48,600
Plumber: Your work as a plumber can vary quite a bit. You will be qualified to install and repair water systems in homes and commercial buildings as well as provide routine maintenance. Additionally, you will often be responsible for the installation of plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs, showers, sinks, and toilets.
Technical plumbing training in a two-year trade school is often required for job advancement and employment prospects for this field are excellent.
The median salary ranges by location are: Los Angeles: $42,000; San Francisco: $43,900; Chicago: $40,100; Detroit: $41,200; Philadelphia: $39,500; Austin: $37,300; Boston: $41,600; New York: $44,000
Pipe fitter: Pipe fitters install and repair high and low pressure piping systems used within industrial buildings. A pipefitting certificate and job training are necessary for this position with opportunities ranging from sprinkler system maintenance to working for a city's water facility. Further experience and certification increase your chances of employment advancement.
The median salaries for an entry level pipe fitter by city are: Austin: $40,100; Los Angeles: $40,000; San Francisco: $45,000; Chicago: $41,100; Detroit: $42,200; Austin: $37,300; Philadelphia: $40,500; Boston: $42,600; New York: $45,000
Waste Water Treatment Technician: As a wastewater treatment technician, you ensure that pumps, chlorinators, and waste treatment equipment are functioning properly. Entry-level positions generally require one-year waste treatment certification. Job opportunities are generally concentrated in the local government or private water utilities, and job prospects are excellent.
The median salaries by location are: Los Angeles: $35,200; San Francisco: $36,800; Chicago: $33,700; Detroit: $34,500; Austin: $30,500; Philadelphia: $33,100; Boston: $34,900; New York: $36,900
Contract Supervisor: With plumbing and piping experience, you may be qualified to move into a contract supervising position. This role usually requires additional training and allows you to oversee mechanical and plumbing contractors, ensuring that the piping and plumbing projects are up to code and standards. You will assist in preparing and reviewing contracts related to projects. This position usually requires piping and plumbing certification and two years experience in the field.
The median salaries for contract supervisors are: Los Angeles: $49,100; San Francisco: $51,300; Chicago: $46,900; Detroit: $48,100; Austin: $ 48,900; Philadelphia: $46,200; Boston: $48,600; New York: $51,400
Self-employed Contract Plumber: With more experience and further training, you may be qualified to open your own plumbing business, employing many workers and managing operations. You will lead plumbing projects and often oversee other people in your company. This role generally requires certification, a bachelor's degree, and often around 7 to 10 years of experience.
The median salaries for contract plumbers by location are: Los Angeles: $111,400; San Francisco: $116,400; Chicago: $106,400; Detroit: $109,200; Austin: $81,100; Philadelphia: $104,700; Boston: $110,200; New York: $116,600
With more job opportunities than workers, this is the best time to achieve certification in one of the skilled trade industries and get your career started.
"Poll: More Companies See Skilled Labor Shortage", USA Today
U.S. Department of Labor Pipe layers, Plumbers, Pipe fitters, and Steamfitters
U.S. Department of Labor Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
U.S. Department of Labor Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and System Operators