Skilled technicians are critical to plumbing, HVAC and electrical service industries. They are also one of the best paid positions in the service industry. It is not unusual for a good technician in a profitable company to earn more than $100,000 a year. These employees do the front line work of repair in residential homes and commercial properties. They also spend their day interacting with customers and need to understand how to explain complex repairs to people unfamiliar with their work.
If you enjoy working with your hands, seeing your accomplishments at the end of the day, and interacting with people so that you can improve the quality of their lives, this is the position for you.
How to Enter the Technical Trades
Step One: Learn about your trade of interest, there are many ways to do this:
- Read what others have to say about the career
- Contact your local technical college and speak to an instructor
- Visit with a local company, ask them if you can do a ride along, job shadow or internship at their office
- Contact a company in the Troops to Trades Business Network for information on what they are looking for in a new technician
Step Two: Two options
- Enroll in a technical college program
- These programs last 18 to 48 months
- Be sure to talk to your instructors extensively about the opportunities you can pursue
- Visit local businesses while you are training to learn more about how they operate, not all businesses are equal
- Apply for a Troops to Trades scholarship
- Sign on as an apprentice with a service industry business
- Contact local businesses and learn if they have apprentice programs
- You can also contact local unions to learn about their openings
- Apply for a Troops to Trades training grant
Step Three: Check out options
If you haven’t already done this, you will want to look at the different opportunities in the field to learn which work environment suits you. Not all service industry companies are the same. You will want to seek out a company that has a culture that you feel comfortable in. In addition to the service industry, technicians are needed in a variety of other places including industrial, commercial and construction.
You can also visit with companies listed on the Troops to Trades Business Network to learn more about the industry.