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How to Learn a Trade Skill

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in trade fields over the next 10 years is expected to continue at a faster and higher pace than the average of other occupations through the year 2018. Workers in the construction industry are expected to see a 19 percent increase while dental hygienists will see a 36 percent increase in employment. Achieving a position as a trade worker requires training and education; those interested in learning a trade will find a variety of ways to gain knowledge about the field.

Use the trade’s industry association as a resource. Most trades have at least one organization that offers education, annual conferences, job databases, networking opportunities and vendors through an online website. For example, those interested in learning the trade of technical writing may join or refer to the Society for Technical Communication, which offers links to local chapters in every state, training seminars, a member list and information on the yearly national conference.

Take a course at your local community college. Community colleges offer adult education classes, which often have no requirements such as college education or previous experience prerequisites. For example, for students in Raleigh, North Carolina interested in architecture and electrical drawing, Wake Technical Community College offers courses such as “AutoCad for Windows: Intro,” “AutoCad Intermediate,” “Building Information Modeling” and “Solidworks: Introduction.”

Read a few books on the trade skill to obtain a solid background and view illustrations or photographic examples. An introduction to the trade of welding may be found in titles such as “How to Weld,” “Welding for Dummies,” “Welder’s Handbook” and “Automotive Welding: A Practical Guide,” all available from online and standard booksellers.

Enroll in webinars; the word "webinar" comes from a combination of the word “web” and “seminar” and means a training seminar you take over the Internet. Some are live, where you interact with an instructor one-on-one or with a class, others you download and take on your own time. Those interested in learning construction may find topics such as “Imaging Technology,” “Robotics,” “Laser Sales Training” and “Scanning Technology.”

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.

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