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National Skilled Trades Day: Why Pursue a Career in the Trades?

May 5, 2021 ·

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The first Wednesday in May is considered National Skilled Trades Day — a day set aside to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of those who work in the trades.

Skilled trade professionals help to keep our world in motion. They move people and products from point A to point B, they service the emergency vehicles used when crisis strikes and they ensure buildings can stand the test of time.

With society placing a big emphasis on the traditional four-year college route, we’re seeing less and less interest in the trades. However, the need for skilled trade professionals remains, which could lead to exciting opportunities for you.

Keep reading to learn all about the benefits of choosing a career in the trades and how to make this a reality for you.

Demand for Technicians, Welders and Machinists

Total technician employment in the United States is expected to exceed 1.7 million by 2031.38

From big cities to small towns, employers everywhere need skilled trade professionals to fill in-demand roles. Some are even willing to help pay for your training and guarantee a job after graduation.14

Why Pursue a Career in the Trades?

There are many different benefits that can come with pursuing a career in the trades, including:

  1. You can graduate in less time: While many universities require four years of school or more, trade school programs can often be completed in two years or less. At Universal Technical Institute (UTI), for example, you can graduate in less than a year.7 This means you can be on track to start your career up to three years sooner than someone taking the traditional college route.
  2. Trade school can be more affordable: Because of the speed with which you can graduate, trade school often comes out to be more affordable than four-year college. This is because you’ll be paying for one to two years of tuition, versus four or more. Plus, with different types of financial aid available like scholarships and grants and employer-paid tuition reimbursement, you could get part or even all of your tuition covered if you qualify. UTI is making $15 million in scholarships and grants available to students in 2022, making now a great time to get trained.10
  3. Employers are paying competitive wages: There’s a high demand for skilled trade professionals. Employers across the nation need skilled workers and are ready to pay them.1 To learn more about income potential, check out our salary guides for auto technicians, diesel technicians, CNC machinists and welders.
  4. The trades aren’t easily outsourced: In addition to compensation, it’s important to consider job security when choosing a career. Some jobs run a high risk of outsourcing, but the trades are difficult to be replaced. Our world will always need technicians, machinists and welders — and these careers require highly specialized, hands-on skills that can’t be easily outsourced.
  5. The demand is real: By 2031, the U.S. is expected to need over 1.7 million technicians, welders and machinists. Employers are going to great lengths to recruit talent, so now is a great time to start training for a career in the trades.
  6. You’ll gain lifelong skills you can take wherever you go: As a skilled trade professional, you’ll have skills that can be applied to many different industries in many different locations. For example, if you’re an automotive technician, you may be able to work in a dealership setting, repair facility, specialty shop, rental agency or even a race shop, just to name a few. These are skills that you’ll always have and can build upon throughout your career.

Read: College vs. Trade School

Train for a Career in the Transportation Industry

If you’ve decided you’re ready to pursue a career in the trades, you might be wondering what industry to go into. From medical to construction to manufacturing, there are many different routes you can take.

If you’re looking for an industry that’s full of opportunities, the transportation industry is a great choice. Transportation quite literally keeps our world moving, and with the rate technology is advancing, now is an exciting time to go into the field.

Within the transportation sector, there are many different fields you could go into. At UTI, we offer seven core training programs at campus locations around the country:

Automotive Technology

The 51-week Automotive Technology program is designed for someone looking to start their career as an automotive technician. Throughout your courses, you’ll learn everything from engine service and repair, to electronic systems to service writing.

As a graduate, you’ll be well prepared to complete ASE examinations and can substitute your training for one of the two years of experience required to become ASE certified.

Diesel Technology

If you dream of working on big rigs and all types of diesel equipment, you’ll feel right at home in the Diesel Technology program. In just 45 weeks, your training will cover truck brakes and chassis, hydraulic systems, transport refrigeration, preventive maintenance and so much more.

Like the Automotive program, you’ll be prepared to complete ASE examinations and can substitute your training for one of the two years of experience required to become ASE certified.

Collision Repair & Refinish Technology (CRRT)

An auto body repair student works on a vehicle in a UTI lab.

The CRRT program was developed in close partnership with I-CAR, the industry standard for collision repair training.

Students in the program learn everything from how to create their own designs with custom paint to manipulating and shaping metal using specialist custom equipment over the course of 51 to 54 weeks. Graduates receive valuable I-CAR certificates, which can give them a competitive advantage as they start their careers.

Motorcycle Technician Training

Students in the Motorcycle Technician training program learn the foundations of motorcycle, ATV, side-by-side and personal watercraft in just 42 weeks.

This program is unique because it incorporates manufacturer-specific training, so students can choose to specialize in brands like Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and BMW Motorrad, just to name a few. Students also have additional manufacturer-specific training programs to choose from if they wish to continue their education beyond the core program.

Marine Technician Specialist Training

The Marine Technician Specialist training program is ideal for those looking to pursue a career on the water. Over the course of 51 weeks, students gain the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to work with today’s marine technology.

This program incorporates five three-week manufacturer-specific courses, so students can learn the technology specific to Honda Marine, Mercury Marine, Suzuki Marine, Volvo Penta and Yamaha Marine. Graduates are prepared to work in settings like boat dealerships, repair shops, marinas, boatyards, docks and even cruise lines.

CNC Machining Technology

Created in cooperation with Roush Yates, the 36-week CNC Machining Technology program covers everything from reading blueprints to the setup and operation of CNC mills and lathes.

Throughout the program, students train using industry-preferred tools and technology from brands like Mastercam, Mitsubishi Materials and Mitee-Bite Products, so they’re well prepared to pursue entry-level positions once they graduate.

Welding Technology

In the Welding Technology training program, you’ll prepare to become a combination welder. Students learn four different welding processes, including GMAW, GTAW, FCAW and SMAW. This curriculum was developed with industry leader Lincoln Electric and prepares students for careers in construction, structural welding, pipe welding and fabrication welding.

Graduate Success Stories

If you’re considering a career in the trades, there's no better way to decide than to take it from someone who’s done it. Since 1965, UTI has prepared 220,000+ graduates for careers in the industry. Hear from three of them below:

Brandon Davis, Diesel Grad


Growing up, Brandon was always interested in trucks. His dad was a truck driver, and he remembers telling him that one day, he would be the one fixing his trucks.

After high school, Brandon worked in a warehouse, but he wasn’t fulfilled. One day, he saw a UTI commercial on TV and decided to move from Ohio to take the Diesel Technology program at the Avondale, Arizona, campus. Now he’s a technician for Freightliner, and credits UTI for being able to follow his dreams.

“Without my education, I wouldn’t be working here at Freightliner.” Brandon shares. “My education from UTI means everything.”6

Allen Klueckman, Automotive Grad


Allen has been into cars ever since he can remember. He came by this naturally, as his dad and grandfather were both passionate about cars. One of Allen’s favorite childhood memories is going to the racetrack with his grandfather, where they would speed around the course in BMWs.

Even when he joined the Marines, Allen never stopped thinking about cars. At the end of his service, he decided to go to UTI and take the BMW STEP program, a Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) program that’s been reintroduced as the BMW FastTrack program at some UTI campuses. After graduating, Allen landed his dream job as a technician at Sewell BMW in Texas.

“If you’re considering going to UTI, you can’t go wrong,” Allen says. “You have such an ability to be above someone that walks into a dealership right off the street.”

Spencer Rowett, Welding Grad


Spencer always knew going to a four-year college wasn’t for him. After leaving the military, he needed a new career and wanted options. He was drawn to welding because of the dozens of different career paths there are to pursue.

In just 36 weeks, Spencer completed his welding training at UTI, and today he’s living his dream as a welder at Empire CAT.

“If it’s something that you even have the slightest interest in doing, just do it,” Spencer says. “Don’t sit around and think about it.”

Take the First Step Toward a New Career

Ready to start training for a career as a skilled trade professional? UTI has campus locations nationwide with classes starting every three to six weeks. To learn more, request information to get in touch with an Admissions Representative today.

YOU COULD START YOUR EXCITING NEW CAREER AS A MECHANIC OR TECHNICIAN TODAY.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

6) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

10) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.

14) Incentive programs and employee eligibility are at the discretion of the employer and available at select locations. Special conditions may apply. Talk to potential employers to learn more about the programs available in your area. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

38) The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that total national employment in each of the following occupations by 2031 will be: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 743,800; Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers, 434,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 305,800; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 156,800; and Computer Numerically Controlled Tool Operators, 147,600. See Table 1.2 Employment by detailed occupation, 2021 and projected 2031, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed October 13, 2022. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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