Small Business

8 Perfect Jobs for Trade School Grads Who Like Getting Their Hands Dirty


It is no secret that the workforce is requiring job applicants to have some type of postsecondary education or training. The Center on Education and the Workforce estimates that almost two-thirds of job offers will require such training by 2020. However, not everyone is interested in a academically based four-year college education and not all jobs necessitate such a degree. Vocational and trade schools effectively provide skill training and educate individuals for specific roles in the labor markets, both traditional and new. These jobs are available in practically every industry and are well-served by those who prefer hands-on work. Interested in a specific job function? Rest assured, there’s an opportunity to prepare and be ready to work in relatively rapid time.

  1. Home Improvement Services

In 2015, Americans spent over $326 billion in the area of home improvement. These types of projects include external activities from gardening and lawn care to garage build-outs. Although many of these undertakings involve the do-it-yourself concept, a large percentage will require the professional services for more difficult tasks. Furthermore, some will need the expertise and labor of general contractors and subcontractors to be complete. This demand generates many job opportunities in a range of fields related to the improvement of properties. Everything from exterior house painting in Massachusetts to home builders in Northville, MI, will drive well-paid work in many markets.


As a reaction to the growing demand for specialized training, many community colleges and vocational schools are designing courses that teach students power tool operation, interior design and decorating, electrical repairs, plumbing, and other specialized techniques applicable to the many jobs in the home improvement orbit. Whether a company is offering tree removal or restoration services in West Michigan, these companies need employees that are well-versed and skilled in their specialized tasks.

  1. Fitness Trainers

The health movement is generating growth in such subfields as fitness training. Work in this area requires training and some certifications that future trainers can obtain through accredited companies, vocational colleges, or bachelor’s degree programs. Others are not accredited and include online options and internal gym programs. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for fitness trainers and instructors in 2017 was almost $40,000 a year.

The BLS suggested that certified trainers lead, motivate, and instruct others in performing exercises that includes strength and cardio for people of all levels and that employers will typically prefer those with formal certification. This job sector is projected to grow 10 percent throughout 2026, a slightly faster pace than the average for other industries. Such growth is fueled by private and public entities that are realizing the benefit to a healthy workforce and, as such, are incentivizing individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle, often with subsidized memberships for a gym or yoga center. This has increased demand for fitness experts in a range of genres.

  1. Recyclers

Social and economic activity today must increasingly be environmentally friendly. Recycling provides a balance between economic development and environmental protection given that the process provides a secondary use to the materials retrieved from many classes of products, such as paper, plastic and glass. These materials, including metals, are kept out of landfills. As such, many businesses like the commercial scrap metal recycling center in Mobile, AL, offer services that include electronic, ferrous metal, and non-ferrous scrap recycling. These companies pay great rates for scrap, creating revenue streams for businesses and individuals looking to recycle materials.

A result of the services offered by recycling companies is the opportunity for individuals to learn what materials are used in common products and how to retrieve these core components. All that is needed is a basic knowledge of substance types and how to disassemble different products, and a truck to carry the items.

  1. Auto Tech and Mechanics

With so many cars and trucks on the road, it is inevitable that these will require some sort of repair at some point. But mechanics cover all types of machines, not just passenger vehicles. Many businesses, for example, invest in new forklifts. Product transport machines will also need maintenance and repair throughout their lifetime. Careers in this sector tend to be both recession proof and always in high demand.

Businesses such as an auto repair shop in Lincoln City, OR, can perform services related to collision repairs and realignment for cars and noncommercial trucks while other garages and shops specialize in electrical work on these same vehicles. Others focus on commercial trucks or big rigs. The sector is so diverse that individuals interested in vehicle upkeep can find job opportunities almost anywhere in the country.

  1. Electricians

Electricians get paid over $50,000 a year to install and maintain electrical connections in homes and businesses. This type of job requires a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some people obtain the necessary training with apprenticeships; most go through the vocational training route and then obtain the state licenses required to operate legally. The outlook for job growth is estimated to be about 9 percent through 2026, in line with average job growth since 2016.

It is practically impossible for any home or business to run without the use of electricity. Even solar-powered connections need professional service. All kinds of companies run different types of machines that need specialized wiring or connections. For example, a company selling material handling equipment in New Jersey will require assistance with specific equipment like scissor lifts, burden carriers and charging stations.

  1. Computer and Technology Experts

The information technology is another exploding sector of the economy that creates jobs at every level of training and education. Furthermore, the sector’s demand is requiring specialization. You can start with simple computer repair certifications like Comptia’s A+, which validate a person’s knowledge of computer hardware and software, or pursue more specific fields, including networking or software development. The more high-level formal certifications or degrees you complete, the higher the pay scale. This provides scalability of knowledge in a field that will only continue to expand as innovation flourishes.

  1. Cosmetologists

Cosmetology is an area where the salary and earning potential of a worker depends greatly on the amount and quality of work done by the individual, whether in hair, makeup, nails or other new trend. That said, the average cosmetologist earns about $14 an hour. Tips increase the earnings. To become a professional in this field, prospective earners will need a high school diploma and a license obtained through a state-approved program. The license will require the passing of a state exam. Depending on the type of training, the program can last from a few months to up to two years. Once completed, students can move into a wide range of jobs within the physical aesthetics industry that can include positions at salons, resorts, spas, hotels, and related places with on-site beauty services.

  1. Home Health Aides

Home health aide workers are compassionate individuals who provide daily assistance to patients of limited physical or mental means. The work generally entails visiting patients at their homes and performing normal household tasks while also overseeing a person’s general well-being. Health-associated tasks can include administering prescribed medications, hygienic and bath care, monitoring vitals, assisting with mobility or nutrition, collecting specimens for laboratory testing, and maintaining health records, among other activities. With the aging US population, this sector is one of the fastest growing. Jobs paying a median salary of roughly $22,000 a year. To become a home health aide, you will need a high school diploma or GED before enrolling in a vocational school for training and assessment. Although the field does not have an overarching licensing system, certain certifications are available.