What Is the Best Trade to Apprentice In?

With soaring prices of university education, the average American student graduates with $37,090 in student loan debt, as of 2023. The good news? There are numerous trade careers where you can earn as much or more as you could earn with a degree. 

If you’re planning to pursue a trade career, more students are reconsidering college. Instead of going into debt, consider trade training and startup costs to launch your business. Read on to answer, “What is the best trade to apprentice in?” and start a new career this year!

10 Best Trade Jobs for Apprentice

Some trade jobs require significant specialized training, while you can start others in as little as a month. If you want to launch a trade career, getting an apprenticeship role is one of the best ways to start. Discussed below are the top 10 trade jobs to apprentice in.

1. Mechanic 

Mechanic jobs are perpetually in demand. Your responsibilities will include inspecting and repairing vehicles while learning from more experienced mechanics. You will be guided through more complex parts replacements or repairs while performing basic maintenance like oil changes. You might also help educate customers on proper vehicle maintenance. The national average salary is around $31,000 for an apprenticeship, but it could be as high as $96,310 for mechanical engineers as a full-time career. 

2. Elevator Technician 

This specialized trade skill is in high demand and may offer higher salaries in high-cost areas. Your primary duties will include installing and repairing elevators or related equipment with supervision from an elevator technician professional. You may be able to work on different types of elevator systems, understand elevator safety guidelines, and learn how to operate and test elevator equipment. You might also need to be on call for service calls from building owners. The average salary for an elevator technician apprenticeship is $33,000. 

3. Ultrasonographer

While you’ll need a two-year associate degree to become an ultrasonographer, this fast-growing career offers a medical career and a high average salary with minimal training. Primary responsibilities include performing diagnostic image testing on the body for medical purposes. You’ll learn to use an ultrasound transducer and read images. 

You might have the opportunity to specialize in imaging of the heart, blood vessels, muscles, joints, women’s reproductive health, or pediatric care. In this career, you’ll work closely with doctors. Apprenticeship salaries average around $30,000 a year, but as a full-time career average annual salary is $131,160.

4. Respiratory Therapist

Another high-paying medical career that only requires an associate degree and an apprenticeship is a respiratory therapist. Responsibilities include working with patients who have difficulty breathing to assess and treat dysfunction of the lungs. You’ll have the opportunity to work with patients of all ages and can be trained to provide emergency care for patients suffering from heart attack or shock, or who have drowned.

Apprenticeship salaries are average around $30,000 a year, but as a full-time career, the average annual salary is $104,440.

5. Plumber 

Plumbers are one of the highest-demand trade careers. As a plumber apprentice, your primary responsibilities will include performing maintenance on plumbing systems under the supervision of an experienced plumber. You will also learn to install plumbing fixtures, systems, and key safety guidelines to protect yourself. 

Apprenticeship training can include how to order the correct pipes for specific jobs, how to respond to service requests, and test plumbing systems for optimal functioning. Plumber apprenticeship salaries average around $34,000 a year, while full-time plumbers earn a median salary of $60,090 per year. Learn how to grow a plumbing business here

6. Electrician

Like plumbing, an apprenticeship as an electrician can open a lucrative, specialized career that doesn’t require a degree. As an electrician apprentice, you’ll work under a licensed electrician to install or maintain electrical equipment. 

You’ll learn to test equipment and electrical systems, identify issues, place orders for supplies, and perform repairs as needed. As part of an electrician apprenticeship, you may also dig electrical trenches or learn to operate specialized equipment.

Electrician apprenticeship salaries are average around $35,000 a year, while full-time plumbers earn a median salary of $60,090 per year.

7. Carpenter

If you enjoy fine work with your hands, consider a carpenter apprenticeship. As a carpenter apprentice, you’ll work under the supervision of an experienced, licensed carpenter to learn carpentry skills like taking measurements, cutting materials, reading blueprints, and assembling large items. You may also need to work as part of a team, as well as learn all safety protocols and regular tool maintenance.

Carpenter apprenticeship salaries average around $36,000 a year, while full-time carpenters earn a median salary around $51,000. Learn more about how to grow a remodeling business or a construction business here.

8. Dental Hygienist

To become a dental hygienist, you’ll need an associate degree and some basic training, but then you’ll be able to launch a high-demand, lucrative career. As a dental hygienist apprentice, your primary responsibilities can include cleaning teeth and offering preventative dental care under the supervision of an experienced dental hygienist. 

You may be asked to clean and polish patients’ teeth, take X-rays, and update patients’ dental records. You will also learn to offer oral hygiene education, including brushing and flossing techniques. After completing the apprenticeship, the average annual salary for dental hygienists is $99,000. 

9. Aircraft Mechanic

To become an aircraft mechanic, you’ll need specialized training or an associate degree before starting an aircraft mechanic apprenticeship. As an aircraft mechanics apprentice, you’ll learn to inspect, maintain, and repair helicopters and airplanes under the supervision of an experienced aircraft mechanic. 

You’ll also learn to inspect aircraft systems, clean mechanical parts, diagnose operational issues, and update maintenance records. You may complete an aircraft mechanic apprenticeship at an airport, government organization, with the military, or with an engineering company. After completing the apprenticeship, the average annual salary for an aircraft mechanic is $82,480. Learn more about how to get a government contract here.

10. Solar Installer

You’ll only need a high school degree and an apprenticeship to enter the lucrative and growing solar industry as a solar installer. Solar installer apprentices’ primary responsibilities include assembling and maintaining solar panels under the supervision of an experienced solar installer. 

You will learn to plan each owner’s property based on optimal conditions and customer preferences. You will also learn to connect solar panels to a building’s electrical wiring systems, test and activate solar panels, diagnose and troubleshoot issues, and apply weather sealant. The average annual salary for a solar installer is $69,420. 

Launching a Trade Career

The average annual salaries above offer a lucrative path to launch a highly-paid career. With a trade job, you’ll earn more than minimum wage as an apprentice before increasing your earning potential to $50,000 to $100,000 or more annually. One important aspect of launching a trade business is setting up the business structures to protect yourself legally. A limited liability company (LLC) offers liability protection and simplified administration so you can focus on developing your skills and building your business.

Want to start an LLC to launch your trade business? doola can help with the formation and compliance services. Get doola to help you form an LLC, get an EIN, open a business bank account, and more. 

FAQs

What are the benefits of doing a trade apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships can help you gain professional skills and hands-on experience to launch your career. You can build contacts within the industry while gaining valuable insight to build your business or turn your apprenticeship into a job. 

Can I do a trade apprenticeship without any prior experience or qualifications?

Yes, some trade apprenticeships don’t require any prior experience or qualifications. Others require specific training before securing an apprenticeship.

Will I receive any qualifications after completing a trade apprenticeship?

After completing a trade apprenticeship, you generally won’t receive specific qualifications or certificates. However, you should learn the skills and techniques to launch a business in the trade yourself. 

Are trade apprenticeships a good option for someone who wants to start their own business in the future?

Yes, trade apprenticeships can be a good option for someone who wants to start their own business in the future. You can start by learning a trade and working with an existing business before launching your own company. 

How competitive is it to get accepted into a trade apprenticeship program?

In some areas, certain apprenticeships may be competitive. However, in general, it’s not always difficult to get a trade apprenticeship. 

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