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artofmanliness.com: How to Start a Career in the Trades

This article might come from the “Art of Manliness” website but it has great information for men and women wanting to go into the skilled trades. Be sure to check out other articles in the “Reviving Blue Collar Work” series too.

By Jeremy Anderberg

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like without the Internet. Firstly, I’d be out of a job. And after writing this series on reviving the trades, I romantically think about how fun it might be to become an electrician. The problem, when I think of this hypothetical scenario, is that I know nothing about electricity. I know how to read a power meter (perhaps there’s an AoM article about that in the future!), how to change a simple lighting fixture, and how to flip my breaker switches. I don’t know anything about currents, wiring, where my electricity actually comes from, etc. I’m obviously not qualified enough to just apply with the local electrician in town and expect to be hired. So if I actually wanted to pursue the dream of becoming an electrician, what steps would I need to take to become a tradesman?

Maybe you’ve had more serious thoughts about learning a trade, but you don’t know where to begin either. You may be a high schooler trying to figure out what to do with your life. Or you could be a nice middle-aged fella who’s been in a cubicle his whole life and wants to do something different. No matter the circumstance, let this article serve as your guide to starting a new career in the trades.

To get some help understanding the world of tradesmen and unions, I spoke with some experts in the field, including folks from Emily Griffith Technical College and Pickens Technical College here in Denver; I also spoke with the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — the electrician’s union) and North America’s Building Trades Unions, which is a combo governing body and lobbying organization for 14 different building/construction-related trades.

Read the complete article at artofmanliness.com.