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What Skilled Trades Will Be Hot in 2018

The best positions in 2018 will be jobs that still aren’t automated, They’re for highly skilled workers and require people to really be experts in their fields. They’re likely to continue being resistant to automation, providing good income and future prospects for many years.

Machine Operators

Machine operators, or machinists, work with heavy machinery—either setting it up or actually operating it. They use computers to control the equipment and make sure they’re working well and well-maintained. Certification is sometimes required, but you at least need some vocational school or community college, an apprenticeship, and some on the job training. Machine operators need to have math and problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and some analytical skills to read blueprints, schematics, and CAD/CAM technology. The broader your training is and the more diverse your skills are, the more employable you’ll be—especially if you’re comfortable with technology and computers.


Welding and ironworking jobs are expected to increase more and more by 2024. They require apprenticeships and specialized training and sometimes a two-year or technical degree. But they earn an average of more than $50,000 per year.


Mason construction jobs are booming, and brickmasons and blockmasons also earn an average of more than $50,000 per year. Technical degrees and apprenticeship experience will bump that salary up even more. Cement mason and concrete finishers generally earn a little less, but technical degrees usually aren’t required—just an apprenticeship and some specialized training.


Not only do plumbers fix the pipes and gift us with flush toilets, but they also have to be experts in natural gas fittings. Thank your plumbers! They keep us clean and warm and those positions are always in demand. Plumbers need to be detail-oriented, and be licensed and apprenticed.


Electricians have long apprenticeships and also require licensures, but they’re always needed, especially as our world becomes more and more digitalized. We can all live without lights for a few hours, but could we really survive without Wi-Fi? Electricians need to be able to read blueprints, install and repair wiring, and diagnose problems.

Related to electricians are more specialized positions such as elevator repairmen and HVAC technicians. These people, who install and repair heating and cooling units, generally need two years in trade school and then an apprenticeship.

Heavy equipment operator

The demand for operating engineers is expected to continue to grow. Since this equipment is dangerous to operate, workers will need extensive training, which is usually provided by the employer, for each different machine. But the pay is decent and the experience and expertise is valuable!


Most carpenters find work in residential building jobs, but there are always commercial and industrial sites that need workers, too, as building never seems to stop! Demand is especially high in areas that have been ravaged by natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. The more technical education and apprenticeships carpenters have under their belts, the greater their pay will be.

Drivers and Warehouse Associates

Even as many jobs are becoming automated, freight still needs to travel from one place to another, so jobs that involve handling freight and stock to and from warehouses or retailers are still expected to increase in the coming year.  

Are you on the right track for 2018? We can help! Contact us today, to see what roles we have available that can help get you on the right path.

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