What is Considered a Skilled Trade? (22 Examples + Definition)

If you want to pursue a career requiring specialized knowledge and technical abilities, you may want to consider a skilled trade. Skilled trades require a high level of training, expertise, and experience to perform specific tasks related to the construction, maintenance, repair, and installation of various systems and equipment. This article will explore the definition, examples, benefits, and requirements of skilled trades, as well as the current demand and future outlook for these professions.

Definition of Skilled Trades

A skilled trade is a profession that requires specialized knowledge and practical skills to perform a specific task. Skilled tradespeople are typically involved in building, repairing, maintaining, or installing various structures, systems, and equipment. They are often called blue-collar workers, as they work with their hands and perform physical tasks in various settings, such as construction sites, factories, and workshops.

Examples of Skilled Trades

Construction Trades

Construction trades involve building and repairing structures, such as buildings, bridges, roads, and tunnels. Some examples of construction trades include:

  • Carpenter
  • Bricklayer
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Welder
  • Roofer
  • Painter

Manufacturing Trades

Manufacturing trades involve producing goods using various machines and equipment. Some examples of manufacturing trades include:

  • Machinist
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • CNC Programmer
  • Assembly Line Worker
  • Quality Control Inspector

Transportation Trades

Transportation trades involve maintaining and repairing vehicles, such as cars, trucks, airplanes, and trains. Some examples of transportation trades include:

  • Auto Mechanic
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Motorcycle Mechanic
  • Marine Technician

Service Trades

Service trades involve providing repair and maintenance services for various equipment and systems. Some examples of service trades include:

  • HVAC Technician
  • Appliance Repair Technician
  • Locksmith
  • Pest Control Technician
  • Landscaper

Benefits of Choosing Skilled Trades

Job Security

Skilled tradespeople are in high demand, and their skills are essential to various industries. As a result, they enjoy job security, even during economic downturns.

High Pay

Skilled tradespeople earn competitive salaries, and their pay increases as they gain experience and expertise. They also have the opportunity to start their own businesses and become entrepreneurs.

Career Advancement

Skilled trades offer many opportunities for career advancement, such as becoming a supervisor, a trainer, or a manager. They can also specialize in a specific area of their trade.


Skilled tradespeople often work independently or in small teams, allowing them to have more control over their work and schedule.

Pride in Workmanship

Skilled tradespeople take pride in their work and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing their projects come to life.

Requirements for Skilled Trades

Education and Training

Skilled trades require a combination of formal education and hands-on training. Many trade schools, community colleges, and vocational schools offer certificate and degree programs in various trades.

Licensing and Certification

Some skilled trades require licensing and certification, such as electricians and plumbers. These licenses and certifications are typically issued by state or local governments and require passing an exam.

Experience and Apprenticeships

Many skilled trades require on-the-job training and experience, which is typically gained through apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are programs that combine classroom instruction with supervised on-the-job training.

Soft Skills

In addition to technical skills, skilled tradespeople also need good communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

Demand and Future Outlook

Skilled trades are in high demand, and this demand is expected to continue in the future. However, there is currently a shortage of skilled tradespeople, which is creating many job opportunities for those who have the necessary skills and training.

Labor Shortage

Many skilled tradespeople are retiring, and there are not enough new workers entering the field to replace them. This shortage is expected to continue, creating many job opportunities for those who have the necessary skills and training.

Emerging Technologies

Skilled trades are also being impacted by emerging technologies, such as automation and artificial intelligence. Skilled tradespeople will need to adapt to these changes and learn new skills to remain competitive in the job market.

Green Energy

The demand for green energy is also creating many job opportunities for skilled tradespeople. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, the need for renewable energy sources and energy-efficient buildings is increasing.


Skilled trades are essential to many industries and offer many benefits, such as job security, high pay, and career advancement. To become a skilled tradesperson, you need to meet certain requirements, including education, training, licensing, certification, experience, and soft skills. The demand for skilled tradespeople is expected to continue in the future, creating many job opportunities for those who have the necessary skills and training.


What are some of the highest-paying skilled trades?

Some of the highest-paying skilled trades include electrician, plumber, HVAC technician, and welder.

Can women succeed in skilled trades?

Yes, women can succeed in skilled trades. Many trade schools and employers are actively recruiting women to enter the field.

How long does it take to become a skilled tradesperson?

The length of time it takes to become a skilled tradesperson depends on the trade and the training program. Some programs can be completed in a few months, while others may take several years.

Is there a demand for skilled trades in rural areas?

Yes, there is a demand for skilled trades in rural areas. In fact, skilled tradespeople are often in higher demand in rural areas than in urban areas.

Are there opportunities for skilled trades in the future?

Yes, there are many opportunities for skilled trades in the future, particularly in emerging technologies and green energy. Skilled tradespeople who are willing to learn new skills and adapt to changing technologies will be in high demand.

Also read: What skilled trade is easiest to learn

Also read: What skilled trade is right for me?