Industry Articles From Kaempf and Harris

A Career In Trade 101


Trade careers are becoming increasingly popular among graduates, and for good reason. Industries like sheet metal fabrication and welding offer good pay, strong job growth, and a relatively quick path to a reliable career.
Once you get established in a trade, you can enjoy stability and the job satisfaction that comes from excelling in an industry that requires attention to detail and creativity.
Common Questions About a Skilled Trade Career
  1. What are the financial benefits?
    When considering a career, it only makes sense to ask questions about money. After all, you need a career that will let you live comfortably. The financial benefits of working in trades like sheet metal and welding can be great, especially once you get established.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median pay for sheet metal workers in 2017 was $47,990 a year. Median pay for welders in 2017 was $40,240. The BLS indicates that the median hourly pay for sheet metal workers was $23.07 and $19.35 for welders that year. Keep in mind that these numbers are based on the pay for many, many tradespeople across the country. The pay you would make in your area may be higher or lower — although when you are just starting out you can expect to make less until you get some experience.
    Of course, another huge financial benefit of a trade career is that you can likely get an apprenticeship — which means you will get paid a living wage while learning on the job. And the longer you are in your career, the more you can expect to make
  2. What are the educational benefits?
    In trades like sheet metal and welding, you are always learning. That means you may be asked to take additional courses to update your skills by your employer. Fortunately, your employer will most likely pay for those courses. As you gain more skills, you can expect to be paid better and be trusted with new responsibilities.
  3. Do you need a lot of experience to get started?
    Employers in the trades are well-aware of the fact that most people do not have experience in their industries. How many people get the chance to work with sheet metal or weld in their day-to-day lives? 
    That is why employers make training new people, usually through apprenticeships, a standard part of the hiring process. You should be able to find an employer or a trade union that is more than willing to take you on as an apprentice and show you the ropes.
  4. What are apprenticeships like?
    Apprenticeships are one part school, one part work. Depending on the trade, you may need to take classes, study various resources, and take tests. At the same time, you will be spending time on the job with experienced professionals who will guide you through the learning process. By mixing schooling with real-world, hands-on training, you can learn the basics of your profession fairly quickly.

    Different trades have different apprenticeship programs. Sheet metal apprenticeships generally last four to five years. Once completed, the apprentice becomes a journeymen. A journeyman is considered skilled enough to work alone without direct supervision.

  5. Why should someone consider a sheet metal fabrication job?
    At Kaempf & Harris, we focus on sheet metal fabrication — so we know a lot about the sheet metal trade. We can tell you that a skilled trade career in sheet metal has numerous benefits. You can come on board to a growing industry that offers satisfying, lucrative, consistent work. If you are the kind of person who likes to use your hands, are fascinated with overcoming real-world challenges, and appreciate the value of hard work, you are likely to excel in this industry.
If you would like more information about sheet metal apprenticeships in Maryland, please contact us. Our team is here to help you determine if this is the right path for you.
To learn more about whether a career in sheet metal is right for you, download our Guide to Starting Your Career in Sheet Metal:

Topics: Apprenticeships, Industry

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