For people interested in becoming skilled trade professionals, it is not easy to understand how to become one. Whether you’d like to become an HVAC technician or electrician, knowing where to begin, what skills you’ll need, etc., are questions that often cross their minds.
And if you don’t already have someone in your family or maybe a friend who is an experienced tradesman, figuring out all of this on your own can be very challenging. So, what do you really need to do to start a career in the trades?
While the steps can vary slightly based on the trade you’re interested in and where you’re located, there is a common path you can follow to start your career. Take a look-
No matter what trade you’re interested in, you’ll mostly need a high school diploma to start your career in the trade. Alternatively, you can also take GED (General Educational Development) tests which are considered equal to high-school-level academic skills in the US and Canada.
You'll have limited job opportunities without graduating high school or earning a GED. You can also consider taking SAT or ACT, as they can help you when you apply for apprenticeships.
After high school, most of the tradespeople attend formal training in their chosen field. You can either do it at a trade school or a college. The training can last anywhere between 1-2 years. If possible, try to go to a trade school for these reasons-
The usage of heating and cooling units is highly seasonally dependent. From the summer heat or winter’s freezing temperatures, Fujitsu’s HVAC system can still effortlessly change accordingly. It can also be isolated in specific areas of the house, depending on where you install the unit. Therefore, no place can be too hot or too cold for you, and you have complete control over changing the indoor temperature.
Aside from formal training, you can also go straight to a training program within an established business, such as Beeson Mechanical Service. These programs are becoming more and more common, as young adults receive more hands-on training, with no out-of-pocket cost. At Beeson Mechanical Service, you’ll receive online training, classroom training, lab training, and on-the-job training.
After completing formal training, you’ll have to enter an apprenticeship, only if you’re interested in going into the union. Not all companies are part of the union. For instance, Beeson Mechanical Service is not part of the union, and does not require the formal apprenticeship program, as you’ll get the training you need while working at Beeson Mechanical Service
The local union chapter typically runs apprenticeship programs. But at some places, you can also find programs from other contractors. You can contact the labor department of your state to know more about this.
The apprenticeship can take anywhere between 3-5 years, which includes on-the-job paid training and classroom work which is generally not paid. You’ll be required to formally apply for apprenticeship programs by writing an application and taking aptitude tests. During the program, you’ll have a licensed Master tradesman who’ll be responsible for signing off your work hours.
During a formal apprenticeship program, with the union, you’re required to complete certain hours of work training. After completing the program, you can apply to become a Journeyman by appearing for a test. A Journeyman is someone who has completed the apprenticeship phase and has cleared the skill test. It also means that you no longer need to work under a Master tradesman and are yourself a certified tradesman.
After becoming a Journeyman, you have the option to gain more experience and appear for other tests to become a Master. Alternatively, you can also consider private jobs. Note that some trades, such as HVAC technicians, also require additional training.
Discussed above is a quick overview of how you can start your career in the trades. As there are so many different trades and their specializations, it’d help if you do your own research regarding the field you’re interested in.
In this digital world, help is mostly always at your disposal. Use reliable online resources to learn more about your desired trade and the exact steps you need to follow.
You can also reach out to Beeson Mechanical Service at 317-535-9338 to apply for a trade career or ask more questions about the training.