Trade skills can often make your career in construction more lucrative. Whether you want to pursue these skills as a resume booster or as a full-time career, you’ll be considering a lot of options.
In our “Finding the Right Trade” series, we’ll be pitting two popular trade skills against each other and weighing the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about which suits you best.
Our first match-up is between carpentry and welding. While these skills do have a lot in common, there are some distinctions and differences that may sway your decision.
First of all, the materials carpenters and welders work with are completely different. If you’re much more comfortable working with wood than metal, this may be a simple decision for you. However, you may need to try these skills out before making that judgement call.
While carpenters may use some metal in fastenings and reinforcement, they primarily mold, shape, and adjoin all types of wood. There is an artistic flair that comes with some facets of carpentry, such as set design or crown molding. So, if that appeals to you, give this trade a try.
Welders, on the other hand, work strictly with metal. They use tools like blow torches to fuse and shape metal parts together. There are exciting opportunities for professional welders, depending on what path you go down. You may find yourself working on racing cars, for example.
Salary, Opportunities, and Growth
For the most part, carpenters and welders earn about the same salary, though carpenters have the slightest of edges. Of course, rates depend on your location, expertise, and specialization. Even so, these two trades are comparable in terms of compensation.
In terms of growth, however, there is a little disparity. Between 2012 and 2022, the job growth for carpenters is expected to reach about 24% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That same metric stands at only 6% for welders. Depending on your point of view, this either means that welding is a more stable and predictable path, or that carpentry holds more opportunity.
Either way, both trades are in demand right now, as we are experiencing a talent gap in construction. Basically, there are not enough talented professionals to fill the available positions in the market. This means that whichever trade you pursue, you will be able to find work if your skills are up to par. In order to ensure this, make sure you are upskilling and learning about new technologies and strategies along the way. That way, even when the market shifts, your skills will be in demand.
No matter what you specialize in within construction, safety is always going to be top-of-mind. With a lot of tools and machinery around, as well as the potential to work at great heights, professionals must always be careful.
If you stay alert and have the proper safety training and certifications, you can mitigate any risk. Even so, the potential for accidents and injuries must be discussed. With carpentry, you’ll be using power tools, saws, nail guns, and the like. Small slip-ups can lead to injury, but maintaining focus and proper safety protocols can alleviate any damage done here.
With welding you’re working with heat and materials that could emit fumes. However, proper ventilation and protective gear can avoid these issues.
Both trades are physical in nature and highly demanding, so you need to ensure that you are taking care of yourself in your off time.
While this may seem like a lot to process, most people in these trades have immense passion for what they do. They get to create and build every day, which is incredibly rewarding for many people. Finding that niche for yourself may take time, but once you do, you’ll have a lucrative and fulfilling career.
If you’re not sure if either of these trades suit you, keep an eye out for the rest of our series in our Michael Page advice section. We may be covering your ideal trade next. To find out more about your options, please reach out to our expert consultants or submit your resume today. You can also browse our job listings here.