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 about 10.4 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 the third-largest interstate highway system in the country.
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 3,000 job openings are projected to become available each year between 2016 and 2026 for auto technicians and mechanics in Illinois. And in 2018, the average hourly wage for an automotive service tech in this state was $22.26, which was over five percent above the national average for the trade.
- Close to 720 job opportunities could become available for auto body repairers and refinishers each year. The average wage for the state's collision repair pros was $22.45 per hour (slightly higher than the nationwide average).
- About 960 openings per year are projected for diesel engine mechanics in Illinois. In 2018, they earned $25.62 per hour, on average (over eight 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 2018, electricians in Illinois earned the fourth-highest wages in the nation. At an average of $36.45 per hour, their wages were more than 28 percent above the nationwide average for this occupation.
And the future looks just as bright. From 2016 to 2026, about 2,580 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, by 2025, the state's population could reach almost 13.7 million people (up from about 12.8 million in 2015). 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 2016 and 2026, the annual number of job openings for HVAC/R technicians in Illinois is projected to total about 797, on average. It also might be why, in 2018, the average hourly pay for the state's HVAC techs was $28.65, which was over 18 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 2018, this state had one of the highest employment levels in America for this trade. And home appliance repairers in the state earned $20.30 per hour, on average, which was over 2 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 one of the state's top industries. And from 2016 to 2026, it's projected that about 1,537 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 2018, the state also ranked first in the nation for wages in this vocation. On average, plumbers in Illinois earned $38.17 per hour, which was over 36 percent higher than the countrywide average. Plus, between 2016 and 2026, the number of openings for qualified plumbers in the state could total 2,158 per year, on average.
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