In-Demand Trade Jobs

Tradesmen don't work at desks; they are physically involved in tasks such as building walls or installing wiring, and often learn through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. This article looks at some of the fastest-growing jobs in this field.

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Career Options for in-Demand Trade Jobs

Trade jobs involve skills that are typically learned through an apprenticeship or on-the-job training. They encompass skilled professionals who perform specific types of hands-on tasks that they've been trained to do. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 7% job growth rate for all professions from 2014 to 2024, and trade careers are seeing job growth rates higher than that.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Brickmasons and Blockmasons $49,250 19%
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (HVAC) $45,910 14%
Pile-driver Operators $55,070 17%
Electricians $52,720 14%
Insulation Workers, Mechanical $45,430 19%
Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers $47,600 23%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for in-Demand Trade Jobs

Brickmasons and Blockmasons

Overall, the BLS expects masonry workers to see a 15% job growth rate from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average. Brickmasons and blockmasons in particular surpass all masonry workers with a 19% rate of growth, making this one of the fastest-growing trades for the decade. These tradesmen use bricks or cement blocks to build or repair structures such as chimneys, fireplaces or walls. They can begin work with a high school diploma or GED, and may learn through on-the-job training or by completing a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship.

Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers (HVAC)

HVAC professionals must complete a certificate, associate's degree or a 3- to 5-year apprenticeship. They repair the systems that provide heat, air conditioning or refrigeration in residential or commercial buildings. They may also install these systems while construction is in progress or perform routine maintenance on existing systems. The BLS projects job growth of 14% for HVAC workers through to 2024, which makes this one of the trades that's growing at a fast rate.

Pile-driver Operators

Pile-driver operators work in construction and use equipment to drive piles into the earth; piles are long beams made of concrete or steel used to support structures such as bridges. Work schedules can vary between day and night shifts, and these tradesmen are expected to work in almost every type of weather condition. They learn through a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship, on-the-job training or by completing studies at a technical school, and typically need a CDL before they can use the heavy machinery. There is plenty of demand for these tradesmen, as the BLS expects a 17% job growth rate for pile-driver operators through to 2024.


Electricians can complete a 4- to 5-year apprenticeship or technical school program to prepare to earn their electrician's license. They work with electrical systems and install wiring to transfer electricity safely to devices like electrical outlets or lights. They may also repair or maintain existing systems in homes, companies or factories. The BLS anticipates electricians will experience a 14% job growth rate from 2014 to 2024, which means this trade is currently growing at double the national average.

Mechanical Insulators

Overall, insulation workers are projected to see a job growth rate of 13%, per the BLS, while mechanical insulation workers are expected to see job growth of 19% from 2014 to 2024. With a growth rate almost triple the national average, mechanical insulation workers are in demand. They normally prepare for their career by completing a 5-year apprenticeship, and their work involves tasks such as wrapping insulation around pipes or equipment in factories and businesses. Insulation workers may also be responsible for taking out existing insulation before they replace it.

Reinforcing Iron and Rebar Workers

Reinforcing iron and rebar workers are tradesman who can start their career with a high school diploma or GED and learn through on-the-job training or a 3- to 4-year apprenticeship. Certification is also an option for these professionals, who use iron and rebar in concrete so that structures such as overpasses to increase the strength of the concrete. With the BLS forecasting a 23% job growth rate, there is currently a very high level of demand for reinforcing iron and rebar workers.

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