The need for trade workers is on the rise, just in time for more adults to recognize the value of trade jobs. Learn why the demand for trade careers is increasing, and which trade jobs are in high demand.
High school seniors experience a lot of pressure to go to college and obtain a bachelor’s degree. It’s reported that over 60 percent of teenagers receive pressure from their parents to “get into a good college.” Many students, particularly those from the millennial generation, have felt the need to go to school on a traditional campus, even when they do not yet know what they want to do in their career. This is one of the leading reasons why so many students – almost 75 percent – end up working outside of their major.
While 82 percent of students agree that their degree was a great financial investment, the majority also stated that they would go back and change their major if they could. Over 40 percent of college graduates, in fact, end up working in other, great jobs that don’t require a college degree at all. Many of these are trade jobs, which are increasing in demand (and in benefits, too).
Trade jobs, generally speaking, are jobs that require advanced training and technical skills; however, training is acquired through means other than a bachelor’s degree. For example, nursing can be a considered a trade job because it requires an associate degree. Dental hygienists, electricians, and CNC machinists are also examples of popular trade careers.
Why are Trade Jobs In-Demand?
Many trade jobs are in need of highly skilled employees, with U.S. job openings reaching record highs in the year 2021. To meet the shortage of skilled labor workers, many trades professions are now upping the ante in terms of benefits. Employers are offering highly competitive salaries in order to appeal to today’s generation of aspiring professionals—some of which are higher than you can earn with certain bachelor’s or master’s degrees. And, in turn, more individuals are starting to recognize the value of a trade job: You can, in fact, earn a great salary, enjoy job security, maintain room for upward growth, and obtain a rewarding job without investing four or more years in school.
Today, about one in 12 students at community colleges have previously earned a bachelor’s degree, but have decided to further their education in some way. Many of these bachelor’s degree holders are going to a community college, or a career-focused school like Goodwin, to earn postsecondary certificates that will qualify them for in-demand trade roles.
Many of these students didn’t know that trade careers were even an option, back when they initially chose to earn a bachelor’s degree. According to a recent study, only 32 percent of high school students felt that their high school promoted trade education as a potential path following graduation. Up to half did not know about their trade school options. However, 93 percent of their parents agreed that skilled trades can be a credible career path, and one they would support their child to fulfill via some postsecondary education.
The number of students going back to school for another career path, combined with the number of students unaware of trade job options, only underlines the trend noted earlier in this article: High school students almost innately go to college, often without knowing why or what for. As Jane Oates, prior assistant secretary for the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor, explains: “Somewhere along the line it became ingrained that in order to succeed, whether your children wanted to go to college or not, they had to go to college.”
Amy Loyd, VP at the organization Jobs for the Future, supports this sentiment, claiming that four-year universities can be a “really expensive career exploration program” for teens who are unsure of what they want to do down the road. Rather than pushing the traditional college experience out the gate, many are now seeing the value in a career-oriented approach to college.
Career-focused education prepares students for their desired careers, providing them the skills and experience needed to be successful in specific roles. This makes every moment of their college experience worth it, as they are making a thoughtful investment in their future career path. Of course, many careers still require degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and post-graduate level—there is still room for these programs, and still demand for these advanced jobs. There is also room for people to move into these upper-level programs, as they look to grow and advance their careers.
Goodwin University is a career-focused university in Connecticut, offering a range of educational options for those interested in in-demand trade jobs. Due to our career-focus, programs are carefully curated to teach students the skills they need in their desired careers. Students also gain hands-on experience in their program of study, network with other peers and professionals in the field, and have the opportunity to apply their skills to practice in a real-world professional setting before graduation.
If you recognize the value of trade jobs, and desire job security and pay benefits, you may consider taking the next step. Perhaps you, too, have a bachelor’s degree in a field you are no longer passionate about. Perhaps you pursued a field you do not want to work in, or are having trouble finding work in. Now, like the many students out there, you may recognize the potential to be had in a trade career.
Before diving in, however, it can be helpful to know which trade jobs are in highest demand. Below, we outline some of the top contenders for in-demand trade jobs in 2021.
Which Trade Jobs are Most In-Demand?
According to resources like Indeed and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the fastest growing and most in-demand trade jobs today include:
- Occupational Therapy Assistants:
Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) careers are expected to increase 32 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is about 8x the rate of the national average for all occupations. Occupational Therapy Assistants require an associate degree and certification to enter the field. Learn about how to become an OTA here.
- Registered Nurses:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing can expect a high-number of job openings in the coming years. Specifically, between 2019 and 2029, an estimated 221,900 job openings will become available to trained Registered Nurses (RNs). Registered Nurses require at least an associate degree to enter the field, along with a license to practice. You can learn more about the requirements here.
- Medical Assistants:
Medical Assistant careers are also expected to increase within the next decade. Between 2019 and 2029, Medical Assistant employment will grow at a rate of 19% — almost 5 times faster than the national average. The number of Medical Assistant job openings in the U.S. is expected to exceed 139,000 by 2029. And to get there, all you need is a postsecondary certificate from an accredited Medical Assisting program. Job opportunities may increase with a two-year associate degree. You can learn more about the job requirements here.
- Cooks at Restaurants:
Chefs in restaurants are also in high-demand, according to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They were listed among the fastest growing jobs with the most job openings in 2019. Specifically, employment of chefs is expected to grow 10 percent by 2029, with over 256,000 jobs getting added to the field. Many restaurants require cooks to have culinary training, which is a common program offered at many trade schools.
- Manufacturing Workers:
There is a severe shortage in the field of manufacturing. Employers need skilled and qualified workers to step up and fill high-paying positions, as more and more baby boomers retire from the field. According to data in a 2019 Connecticut Manufacturing Report, 60 percent of manufacturing companies cite that workforce staffing is their most significant, immediate need. In-demand trade jobs within this industry include machine operators, CNC programmers, mechatronics technicians, quality managers, and more. Most manufacturing careers require only a postsecondary certificate and/or hands-on training to get started. However, opportunities will increase with a college degree.
Get Started in the Trades
Goodwin University is a career-focused school with a variety of job-oriented programs in trades fields. Through Goodwin, you can pursue careers in dental hygiene, nursing, manufacturing, respiratory care, laboratory clinics, medical assisting, law enforcement, public safety, welding, and more. Walk away with an associate degree, postsecondary certificate, and the skills needed to launch a successful trades job today.
Call us at 800-889-3282 to learn more about why Goodwin is a leader in career-focused education.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.