Learn A Trade Or Two

The Advantage of Learning A Trade

When you learn a trade you can become of help to yourself and others and save some money while you’re at it. You become proficient at using tools in general and develop other skills that require tool use.

In today’s world, the internet is a classroom. If you are technically minded and a quick learner, you can use you tube videos as your teacher and would be surprised to see how much you can learn and put into practice. If you are interested in a particular type of building trade about one hundred hours of watching videos by skilled tradesmen and technicians will put you well on your way to mastery over the particular trade. Follow that up with some practical instructions at a local trade school and you are well equipped to handle a significant task requiring you new knowledge.

And if you are unable to find a school or afford one, there are tradesmen in your area who are willing to take on a helper for a reduced paycheck. It you can afford the time, work with the tradesman until you feel you have a good grasp on the practical aspect of the given trade.

Also, you can actually learn a building trade and be paid for it. Many of the building trades unions in your city periodically put out calls for apprentices through the department of labor. Some of the trades are carpentry, plumbing, sheet metal worker, electrician, painter, iron worker, lather, operating engineers, and more. If you type on your search engine ‘building trades apprenticeship’ for your city, one of these are likely to pop up. Or, you can be more specific and type something like: Carpentry union seeking carpenters. It’s usually a four-year apprenticeship program but you are paid as if you are going to work. The wage starts about thirteen dollars an hour and is at journey man wage by the time you graduate the program. You come out with a journeyman license and can stay and work for the union if that is what you choose to do.

Familiarize yourself with simple hand tools of the particular trade you are seeking to be an apprentice for, before you go for the interview. Verse yourself in simple maths and english because this is what the test is going to involve: Tool knowledge, basic math and some english. Not a hard test at all.

Some trades you may be interested in.

Cement Mason 
Iron Worker
Operating Engineer or Equipment Operator
Painter and/or Paperhanger 
Sheet Metal Worker 


High-Demand Apprenticeship Occupations:

Her is a sample of the sheet metal workers seeking apprentices:

Filling out your application is just the first step in the application process. As an applicant, you will be required to meet the particular requirements of the Apprenticeship Standards of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Fund. These Standards are approved by the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training and the Pennsylvania and Delaware Apprenticeship Councils.

Successful applicants will be required to serve four and one-half years of apprenticeship and meet the minimum hours of related instruction. The work is in shops and construction sites, and requires good physical condition. The applicant should have above average mechanical and mathematical abilities, and like shop and mechanical drawing courses. The wage rate starts low and progresses at regular intervals during the four and one-half year apprentice-ship. There are excellent union fringe benefits.

Application requirements:

  • $10.00 application fee is required. (Money orders are the only acceptable legal tender.)
  • Two forms of Identification are required. (This can be a Driver’s License, SS Card, School ID, Military ID or State non-driver’s license.) One form of identification must have a picture. A birth certificate is not considered as one of these two forms of identification, as there is a separate requirement for a birth certificate.
  • Legal documentation of birth. (This can be an Official Federal, State, or County birth certificate or a Passport. Hospital Birth Notices and Baptismal Certificates are not legal documentation of birth.)
  • signed copy of Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 19 Consent Form(available upon log-in).
  • A copy of your High School Transcript* or GED Certificate* with scores. You may also provide copies of College transcripts or Trade School Certificates for classes attended. (We are not requesting a copy of your High School Diploma.)
  • signed copy of the application printed from the application website.


Here is a resource for test prep for the apprenticeships tests.


Math preparation:

Plumbing test prep:


Hope and pray this selection and information helps you to land that apprenticeship slot or at least become interested in learning a trade. God bless.

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