Trading Up: Trade Careers

Find out how to start a career in the skilled trades with job tips and advice from the pros at Ferguson.

Are you picturing your future after earning your high school diploma or equivalent? If you want to establish a lifelong career, and not just a job, with the opportunity to be your own boss and write your own paycheck, the skilled trades could be right for you. Consider trading up—four years of college not required.

With more than 466,000 construction-industry job openings in May 2022, a secure trade career is worth exploring. Learn about the wide range of opportunities and benefits tradespeople can enjoy and see if becoming a tradesperson is the right fit for your future.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines specialty trade contractors as:

  • Carpenters

  • Construction laborers

  • Electricians

  • First-line supervisors/managers

  • Plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters

The average mean annual wage for specialty trade workers was $62,700 in May 2022.

Women in the trades

A woman contractor wearing a safety vest holds a level on a jobsite.

Women are underrepresented in the trades. For example, BLS reports that women make up just 10% of the construction workforce. The expected job growth presents even more opportunities for women to enter the skilled trades and grow their careers. This untapped potential will help employers meet demand and complete their projects in the coming decade.

To celebrate the success of women in the skilled trades, Ferguson is sharing their perspectives with Voices in the Trades. Explore stories and advice from people advancing their careers across the industry.

Read Voices in the Trades

Resources for careers in the skilled trades

A female HVAC technician walks away from her work truck to a jobsite.

Within the professional trade industry, there are numerous career paths you can pursue. In addition to the specialty trades listed above, you can build a rewarding trade career in fire protection installation, water management, logistics, supply management and more. Skilled trades in construction and extraction include drywall and ceiling tile installers, iron and masonry workers, roofers, sheet metal workers and solar photovoltaic installers, among many others.

Explore the resources below to discover more about beginning a trade career, and find contractor training information to help you determine your next steps.

Careers supporting the skilled trades

Two Ferguson associates review an order in a warehouse.

You can also build a strong career by pursuing a path that supports the trades. Trade professionals rely on dependable access to specialty products and supplies from people who understand their industry. Create a bright future by running an efficient warehouse or driving trucks to deliver the products that tradespeople need.

At Ferguson, our dedicated warehouse and driver associates power our supply chain so trade professionals can get the job done. Discover opportunities to achieve success through our warehouse and driver careers and benefits.