6 Skilled Trade Sectors That Offer Good Opportunities in Illinois
Try to imagine a world without people who know how to build, repair, and maintain all of the machines, structures, and equipment that our contemporary lifestyle depends on. It would be dramatically different, wouldn't it? That's why skilled tradespeople are vitally important. They're needed just about everywhere. And Illinois is no exception.
As someone who's considering a skilled trades education and career in IL, you owe it to yourself to check out these six areas of growth:
1. Automotive Service and Collision Repair
Illinois is home to millions of drivers. Collectively, they own more than 9.7 million registered cars, trucks, and other vehicles.* And they put lots of wear and tear on those vehicles as a result of using the state's vast network of roads. In fact, this state has more than 145,000 miles of highway, including an interstate system that's the third-largest in America.**
The result is that automotive professionals tend to be consistently in demand throughout much of the region. And they also make good wages. Look at these facts:
- More than 1,000 job openings are projected to become available each year between 2012 and 2022 for auto technicians and mechanics in Illinois.*** And in 2016, the average hourly wage for an automotive service tech in this state was $21.03, which was over five percent above the national average for the trade.****
- Close to 250 job opportunities could become available for auto body repairers and refinishers each year.*** The average wage for the state's collision repair pros was $22.73 per hour (almost 7.8 percent above the nationwide average).****
- Nearly 290 openings per year are projected for diesel engine mechanics in Illinois.*** In 2015, they earned $22.83 per hour, on average (almost three percent above the countrywide average).
2. Electrical Technology
Electricians are easily some of the most essential tradespeople in modern society. After all, they help provide access to safe and reliable electricity for our homes, offices, factories, and almost all other types of inhabitable structures. Plus, in 2016, electricians in Illinois earned the third-highest wages in the nation. At an average of $35.17 per hour, their wages were more than 22 percent above the nationwide average for this occupation.****
Illinois also had one of America's top five highest levels of employment in the electrical trade.**** And the future looks just as bright. From 2012 to 2022, about 766 job openings are expected to become available each year for qualified electricians in the state.***
3. HVAC and Refrigeration Technology
Like many other states, Illinois expects its population to keep growing. In fact, between 2010 and 2030, the state's population could expand by more than 14 percent, which equals over 1.8 million additional people.** As a result, more buildings will need to be constructed, which means that more indoor spaces will need climate-control and ventilation systems. And, whether new or existing, all of those heating and cooling systems require regular maintenance and, sometimes, major repairs.
That's why, between 2012 and 2022, the annual number of job openings for HVAC/R technicians in Illinois is projected to total about 293, on average.*** It also might be why, in 2016, the average hourly pay for the state's HVAC techs was $27.53, which was over 15 percent higher than national average.****
4. Home Appliance Repair
The rising population in Illinois doesn't just keep demand high for HVAC services; it also contributes to the demand for skilled tradespeople who know how to fix major household appliances. For example, in 2015, this state had one of the highest employment levels in America for this trade. And home appliance repairers in the state earned the second-highest wages in the nation for this vocation—$25.61 per hour, on average, which was over 24 percent above the nationwide average.****
Welders work in a lot of different industries, but especially in construction and manufacturing. When it comes to the latter, Illinois is particularly strong. In fact, manufacturing is the state's top industry. It provides jobs to over 577,400 people.** And from 2012 to 2022, it's projected that about 414 openings for qualified welders will become available each year in Illinois.***
Like electricians, plumbers are among the most vital of all skilled tradespeople. And Illinois has America's fifth-highest level of employment in the plumbing trade. In 2016, the state also ranked second in the nation for wages in this vocation. On average, plumbers in Illinois earned $36.31 per hour, which was over 25 percent higher than the countrywide average.**** Plus, between 2012 and 2022, the number of openings for qualified plumbers in the state could total 350 per year, on average.***
Make Your Future in the Trades Start Happening
Find out what career-directed training in the skilled trades might do for you. Explore a list of nearby Illinois trade schools right now by putting your zip code into the simple search feature below!
* Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, website last visited on January 26, 2017.
** Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, website last visited on July 21, 2015.
*** Illinois Department of Employment Security, website last visited on July 21, 2015.
**** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on November 8, 2017.