What Skilled Trade Is Easiest to Learn? (6 Popular Trades Compared)

Are you wondering what trade might be the easier one to learn? Then you’ve come to the right place, as this article will break it down for you. There are obviously many opinions as to what makes a skilled trade easier to learn than others. However, there will be some jobs that could be perceived as more or less “advanced”. From doing a survey we can point to the fact, that there is one particular craft that a majority think will be easier to learn than others.

Becoming a painter is, by a vast majority, being perceived as being the easiest trade to learn. In a survey of 138 respondents, 77 people found that becoming a painter will likely be much easier to learn, in comparison to other popular trades like plumbers, electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, and glaziers.

I’ll have to admit, it can be overwhelming to weigh in all the factors of a skilled trade. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the details of pay, schooling, and countless other factors. So it’s no surprise that when looking for a trade to get into, we also want to know, which one could be the most reasonably manageable (and well.. easy). The primary goal is to shed light on, which trade falls into this category.

However, I do also want to dive a little deeper into the specific trades in terms of salary and future job prospects. I have chosen 6 popular skilled trades and compared the level of complexity to these aspects also. This will give a more complete overview of the different cons and benefits of each trade.

What Skilled Trade Is the Easiest to Learn?

Getting into the nitty-gritty, here you will be introduced to some cold and hard numbers. I really wanted to figure out a way to nail this question. On doing research, I wasn’t happy with what was already out there on the internet in terms of data. So, ruminating on the subject, I decided on doing a clear and well-defined survey with the following question:

If you were to choose one of the following skilled trades, which would be easier?

Survey Question

I have my own opinion on that question, however, that would obviously not be definitive to get an objective viewpoint. So I did what any sane person would do in this situation. I reached out to 138 people, who were willing to give their opinion on, which skilled trade they think is easier to learn. As the following results reveal, the top spot belongs to one particular trade, that we all know.

Painter7755 %
Bricklayer (Masonry Worker)2619 %
Plumber117 %
Electrician107 %
Carpenter75 %
Glazier75 %

More than half of 138 respondents find that becoming a painter will be the easier option out of 6 popular skilled trades (also bricklayer, plumber, electrician, carpenter, and glazier). The general consensus is that the skills required to be a painter are less complex in comparison to other trades.

However, it does not mean that painters are more or less valuable than other crafts. For example, a construction site is a mix of workers who all need to complement each other. And painters are oftentimes the ones who give the final touch before final completion. Most trades are crucially important to get the job done, and painters certainly belong in this category.

Surely, most people can learn how to dip a roller and paint the wall evenly. However, as in the case of all skilled trades, the best workers (and the ones in highest demand) are the ones who can complete such a job fast, efficiently, and with minimal errors. All of which are important qualities, that you can acquire over time with experience.

What Skilled Trade Is Easiest to Learn | electricianpal.com

Coming in on second place is bricklayers. This trade received almost a fifth of the votes. Being a bricklayer and a painter is, by this observation, mostly perceived as being fairly easy in relation to the trade of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and glaziers. The four trades (plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and glaziers) are mostly categorized as being more complex and not as easy as the trade of painters and bricklayers. There were also some comments from respondents on the relationship between these trades.

I studied electricity for 6 years and now I’m a full-time carpenter. I can say with certainty that electricity is way more difficult than carpentry.

Survey Respondent

Also Read: 11 reasons why being an electrician could be a great future career

We can only guess, as to what part of the electrical trade this respondent is finding more difficult than being a carpenter. However, my own opinion would also lean on this perspective. Becoming an electrician does involve both an introduction to a lot of safety regulations as well as theoretical knowledge of math and electricity in general.

As the individual respondent is suggesting, I would also find carpentry to be easier to learn. Although, I will also add that the work of a carpenter might be a little harder physically than most work tasks of an electrician. In this next section, we will take a look at some other important factors for the six skilled trades. The following will go in-depth on salary and future job prospects.

What Skilled Trade Get Paid the Most?

The main aim of this article has been to identify the easier skilled trades to learn. And by doing the survey, we found that being a painter and a bricklayer might be easier than the other four trades. In the following table is listed the salaries and hourly wages for painters, bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and glaziers. And these numbers reveal something quite interesting.

TradeAverage Annual SalaryAverage Hourly Wage
Bricklayer (Masonry Worker)$47,710$22.94

There seems to be an obvious relation between how easy the trades are being perceived as, and the salary you can expect. The data, pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show that the “easier” trades also on average get paid less. It is actually quite telling (or maybe unsurprising) that the more complex trades get paid more. The biggest variation exists among painters (lowest salary) and electricians (highest salary) with a total difference in annual salaries of $14.770.

By looking at the difference in average salaries for skilled trades, it is observed that easier crafts to learn (painters and bricklayers) will receive a lot less compared to the more complex skilled trades (electricians and plumbers).

Another interesting fact can be pointed out in relation to the salaries. The two trades, being voted as most complex (carpenters and glaziers), should actually not be expecting to receive a higher salary. In these two cases, the perceived higher complexity does consequently not bring with it a higher salary.

Also Read: Plumbers vs electricians: Who Gets Paid More?

What Skilled Trade Is in High Demand?

Last but certainly not least, we will also take a look at the expected future demand of the six different skilled trades. We have now identified which trade is easier (painters) and who get paid the most (electricians). The obvious next step would be to see, what you can expect in terms of job opportunities for the future.

TradeAnnual Job OutlookCategory
Painter5 %Below average
Bricklayer (Masonry Worker)Minus 2 %Decline
Plumber5 %Below average
Electrician9 %As fast as average
Carpenter2 %Below average
Glazier5 %Below average

Choosing a career as a painter, plumber, carpenter or glazier will likely present a job growth below average when comparing all jobs listed in labor statistics. And if you were to choose a career as a bricklayer (masonry worker), the expected job growth and demand will actually be on a slight decline of two percent.

The most promising future, in terms of job demand, belongs to the trade of electricians. The job projections for electricians reveal the highest potential for job outlook with a growth rate of nine percent by 2030. The slowest rate of job growth belongs to the skilled trade of bricklayers and carpenters.

Also Read: Should electricians be worried about robots and automation?

Although electricians are in the highest demand, this particular trade is not exceeding the growth rate of the entire job market. When comparing job demand to the average salaries, the same picture repeats itself. In that, the easier trades to learn do not necessarily bring with it a particular positive rate in terms of job demand.

So, What Have We Learned?

With the help of 138 respondents, we have been able to identify painters as having the easiest trade learn. However, painters also have a lower salary than other skilled trades as well as a below-average job demand for the future. The two trades, that the survey found to be hardest (carpenters and glaziers) both had a lower salary and also a slower rate of job demand for the future.

The “harder” jobs to learn are the trade of electricians and plumbers; Harder, meaning more complex and advanced. By choosing to become a worker in each of those trades, you will on average be earning significantly more than the easiest trades to learn.