Whether you’re an adult looking to make a career transition or a high school student nearing the end of your senior year, you may want to consider a career path working in the trades. Not only can you get a great-paying job in the trades without a pricy four-year degree but you can also build a valuable skill set that will serve you and others for many years to come.
At Bituminous Roadways, we’re a trade contractor specializing in asphalt installation, repair, and maintenance for industrial and commercial properties throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro. We’ve proudly served the Twin Cities area for more than 75 years, and in that time, we’ve worked with hundreds, even thousands, of individuals like you who’ve built rewarding careers in the trades.
If there’s any company that has valuable insight into what it’s like to work for a specialized trade contractor, it’s us. And if you’re considering a career in the trades, we’d like to share some of that insight with you in this blog.
Read on for a brief rundown of what you can expect should you choose to pursue a career in the trades.
No College Education Necessary
Although you can certainly get a two- or four-year degree in an area of study that pertains to a specialty trade, you can also get a job with a specialized trade contractor without a college degree. Of course, you’ll need to undergo position-specific training to learn how to perform your job, but you’ll complete much of that training on-site, so it won’t cost you tens of thousands of dollars to educate yourself.
Near-Endless Training Opportunities
If you want to get started in a skilled trade today, there are plenty of jobs available that don’t require any prior experience. Keep in mind, though, that positions that do not require experience will pay less than those that need some background in a specific skill set.
However, many positions in the trades have solid opportunities for growth, and plenty of companies are willing to train employees who demonstrate strong work ethic and commitment. Even if you’re not interested in going to school for a trade, you may have opportunities to increase your pay and get a better position the longer you work for a specific contractor.
If you’d like to learn a specific skill set, you can continue working in the trades and supporting yourself while you enroll in a skill-specific, two- or four-year program. Even a two-year education in a specific trade can put you on the fast track to a high-paying, in-demand career with great job security.
If you want to get a four-year degree in something like engineering or architecture, you can do that, too. Almost as soon as you complete school — in some cases, even before you finish — you’ll have many high-paying jobs available to you.
What’s more, you’ll continue gaining experience and skills even when you're done with school. When you work in the trades, there’s always something new to learn, which gives you the opportunity to continually build your skillset long after you complete formal training in a school program.
Plenty of Good-Paying Jobs Available
According to Project Build Minnesota, 53% of general contractors in the state are looking for skilled laborers, which means there are plenty of jobs available. According to the same organization, construction workers take home nearly $10,000 more per year than new college grads.
Whether you want a well-paying job right out of high school or are searching for a new career that offers a good salary and room for growth, working in the trades may be for you. The average construction trade worker in Minnesota makes roughly $61,000 annually.
Excellent Job Security
Unfortunately, not all industries offer great job security. Specialty trades, however, is one industry that will always provide excellent job security no matter what your skill happens to be.
Specialized trades not only need manpower but also problem-solving ability, so in most cases, they’re not subject to the whims of the public. Skills in the trades are always required in some capacity in every community, especially in industries like construction, asphalt paving, mechanical repairs, plumbing, welding, and electrical work.
Skills like these cannot be automated by machines or computer programs, which means humans (like you, perhaps?) will always be necessary to perform these jobs. If you want to get started in a career that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, working for a specialty trade contractor may be the job for you.
Opportunity to Be a Union Worker
As a specialized trade contractor, you’ll have opportunities to belong to workers’ unions that can offer you several benefits. Not only can a union help ensure you receive fair pair for your skills, but it can also help ensure safe worksites, fair vacation time, and fair working hours. According to OSHA, trade workers who are part of unions are less likely to suffer fatal accidents on the job than non-union workers. They’re also less likely to be issued safety violations while working on a project.
Being part of a trade union gives you more negotiating power throughout your career because you'll have support not only from other skilled tradesmen and women like you but also from the union board. If you want to ensure fair pay and treatment throughout your career, belonging to a trade union can help ensure you’re able to do that.
Are you interested in learning more about working for us in the asphalt installation, repair, and maintenance trade? Check out What It’s Like to Be a Mechanic for BR and What It’s Like to Be an Estimator/Project Manager for BR for more insight into what you can expect if you join our team! You might also enjoy our Why Do I Work at BR? complication video, which offers insight from some of our staff.
Want to Join Our Bituminous Roadways Team?
If you’re interested in becoming part of the Bituminous Roadways team, check out our career opportunities page for a full list of the open positions you can apply to! We’re an equal opportunity employer; we frequently promote from within, and we offer excellent benefits. If you have any questions or concerns about working for us, feel free to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll reach out promptly with additional information.