Sponsor spotlight: Top five overlooked careers in high demand

Photo courtesy Irons Brothers Construction.

There are many jobs in the skilled trades that are in high demand. Rewarding career paths such as carpentry, plumbers and HVACR technicians do not require a four-year degree and have the earning potential of more than $50,000 a year. In fact, many skilled trades offer apprentice opportunities so students can earn while they learn. If you’re thinking about starting a new career, your current skills are likely a match for at least one career path in the skilled trades.

Carpenter. Critical thinkers who are detailed-oriented are drawn to carpentry. Carpenters construct and repair structures from wood and other materials. Precision is key in this position to ensure items are measured out exactly, as well as problem-solving for project management and troubleshooting issues. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2019 national average wage for carpenters was $52,850 annually. Some carpenters are self-employed and are able to set their own schedule, while others work for home builders or remodelers.

Electrician. Professionals in this field have excellent analytical skills and solid hand-eye coordination. From diagnosing problems to working with a variety of tools and technology, this career choice offers job satisfaction through daily challenges. Qualified electricians are always in demand.  According to the BLS, the 2019 national average wage for electricians was $60,370 annually and employment for electricians is expected to grow 10% by 2028. 

Painter. Communicating clearly with clients is key as a professional painter. Painters have to make some judgments on what looks good and ensure all the details are sharp and neat. Painting and maintaining surfaces improve the appearance of a home and can increase its value. There is always a need for experienced painters. According to the BLS, the 2019 national average wage for painters was $44,640 annually.

Plumber. In general, plumbers are excellent listeners and problem-solvers, two important skills for troubleshooting issues. Plumbers install, repair and maintain pipes in residential, commercial and/or industrial buildings. As long as there are complex water systems in and outside of homes, there will be a need for reliable plumbers. According to the BLS, the 2019 national average wage for plumbers was $59,800 annually. Employment wage for plumbing is expected to grow 14% by 2028.

HVACR Technician. A heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration technician is a rewarding career path for individuals who excel in customer service and critical thinking skills.

Technicians listen to customers’ problems and try to solve them. The need to replace older units or systems with more energy efficient models is growing, so HVACR technicians are always needed. According to the BLS, the 2019 national average wage for HVACR technicians was $51,420 annually. Employment for HVACR is expected to grow 13% by 2028.

For more information on training programs, apprenticeships and career opportunities, visit BIAW’s (Building Industry Association of Washington) website.

You can also learn more about career opportunities with Irons Brothers Construction and their workforce development initiatives.

— By Melissa Irons, Irons Brothers Construction, Inc.



  1. Great information. Are the wages based on Union or non-Union employment and do they include health and pension benefits as well as other typical negotiated benefits? Also, how are apprenticeship programs incorporated in these opportunities?

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