Value of Learning a Trade

This will be a slightly non-traditional post in terms of being about Boy Scouts exclusively. While it may not deal directly with Scouting, I feel that it is important to deliver life lessons to Scouts as well as applicable skills. In this post I will draw from my experiences as an apprentice locksmith in Amherst, New York, and discuss why it can be very important to learn a viable trade, how to get apprenticeships, and ways to branch out in the future.

The value of a trade comes into play when you think of longevity. For example, if the economy takes a drastic turn, someone who has skills in HR may find themselves out of work, but someone who knows a trade (such as a plumber, locksmith, handyman, etc) will usually never be unemployed.

What are the different types of trades?

There are a couple primary trades people usually go into. They include: Plumbers, locksmiths, handymen, and carpenters.


According to the graph presented by Google of people searching for plumbers in their area, the need for highly skilled labor is increasing dramatically each year. Not only are plumbers finding themselves more work, but they are also finding dramatic wage increases. Although an apprentice plumber will only find themselves making around $25,000, a Master Plumber can rake in an excess of $100,000 per year. While the work may not sound glorious, it is a skill that will never go out of demand and can certainly pay the bills.


Just like plumbers, the demand for skilled locksmiths is increasing on a yearly basis. Similarly, an Apprentice locksmith will make about $30,000 per year, while more skilled locksmiths will pull in over $75,000. A locksmiths career path also offers more opportunities to branch out, with some working as rekeying experts, digital lock experts, or automotive specialists.


Like the last examples, this graph shows an upward yearly trend for a local handyman. Somewhat differently than the previous examples, handymen make more of less money depending on the job they are working on. However, statistics cite that on average, a handyman will make between $50 and $120 per hour. Like locksmiths, handymen have a wide variety of jobs they can specialize in including, outdoor and interior work, basic plumbing, and other necessary tasks.

When Should You Consider These Career Paths?

If you know deep down that more “traditional 9 to 5″ jobs are not for you, or if you thoroughly enjoy working with your hands to create or fix things, then you may want to consider learning a trade. Not only will the skills be with you for the rest of your life, but you will most likely not have difficulty finding employment if you excel at what you do. Do not take this decision lightly however, and consult with everyone available to you to get a sense of what the best path to go down is. To help you get a sense, here is a video discussing what it is like to be an Apprentice plumber: