The Top 7 Trade Careers That Don't Require a Degree [Infographic]
If you are thinking a career change, moving into a skilled trade might be more appealing than you think. A skilled trade is a job that requires highly specific training but doesn't need a tertiary education.
The jobs are often physically and sometimes outside, but the wages can be quite high and there is often lots of room for career advancement, self-employment, and travel.
Going to university to train can be a good option for some, but there are also many factors that deter.
The cost of degrees can be significant, depending on where you live. Many people have to go into high levels of debt to get a masters degree. These debts can be crippling on a graduate wage and often take decades to pay back.
So if a career that requires both mind and body, but is still highly skilled look no further than this list of seven trade careers that don’t require a degree that can be transitioned into from almost any other job.
1. Construction manager
A construction manager (CM) is responsible for the planning and management of building projects. A CM will oversee both the projects budget as well as act as a liaison between the different trades that are required on site.
They are also responsible for the project being completed to the engineer's specifications. The job is perfect for someone with a technical interest and understanding as well as good communication and diplomacy skills.
A Construction manager can be expected to earn around $68,000 USD annually. You can train as a CM either on the job starting as a site supervisor and working your way up. You can also do some trade school qualifications to try and skip the queue.
2. Offshore Oil Rig Operator
An oil rig operator works on an offshore rig, operating and maintaining the equipment required to extract oil or gas from the ground.
The benefits of this job are very high salary and low overheads as accommodation and food are generally provided when it on the rig. Workers on rigs are often given lots of time off to compensate for the 24-hour nature of the work when they are on the rig.
This work can be physically demanding but skilled operators may have the opportunity to work at rigs all over the world. The average wage is around $63,000 USD per year.
To get started as a rig operator you might be able to start with training on the job or be required to complete some offshore training first.
At its simplest, a mechanic maintains and operates engines. Depending on your specialty, these might range from truck to boat engines.
A mechanic will almost certainly need to complete some formal apprenticeship that may take several years to complete. But once qualified mechanics have the opportunity to work across the world thanks to the consistency of engine designs.
You’ll earn about $36,000 USD once fully certified.
An electrician installs, plans, designs, maintain and fixes anything to do with wiring, equipment, electrical circuits, systems, and appliances. There are a variety of specialties you can go into including domestic, industrial and solar.
Due to the specific and potentially dangerous nature of the job, extensive training is required that can be done through a combination of trade school and apprenticeship.
Electronics is a constantly expanding field so there are lots of chances to specialize at the cutting edge of technology.
Salary starts at about $35,000 USD.
A plumber is responsible for the installation, and maintenance of piping systems. These can range from water to gas to other substances.
A plumber’s work can be done in a variety of settings from domestic properties to large-scale roadworks to specialized system installs in factories and industrial locations.
Depending on the specialty a plumber can train on the job as an apprentice or in combination with trade school. An average salary might be $32,000 USD.
A joiner creates cabinets, permanent furniture, window frames and other fittings usually made from timber. The work is highly skilled and is a skill that is often in high demand.
The work can be done in domestic dwellings as well as commercial fit-outs. A joiner often works with other trades like a plasterer or plumber to install their fittings.
Usually, joiners learn their trade through an apprenticeship in conjunction with a trade school that has a highly practical element. The work is really varied depending on where you live as local building codes and available materials influence the tasks.
A joiner can expect to earn about $30,000 USD per year.
7. Landscape Gardener
A landscape gardener's role can include design and in installing gardens to maintain them as well as installing hardscapes like brick and gravel driveways and pathways.
There are lots of opportunities for people to start their own business. A landscape gardener often gained their skills on the job and can expect a salary of around $28,000 USD per year.