Skilled Trades

Skilled trades are jobs that required on-the-job or vocational training and are often very hands-on, like a mechanic, crane operator or iron worker. The on-the-job training often comes in the form of apprenticeships that have progressive increases in skills and wages. Skilled trade workers, like electricians or protective coating painters, frequently work on projects for different clients and solve problems to repair or upgrade systems or structures. After specialized training prior to employment, some skilled trades also require additional training for specialized certifications.

 Projected job growth by 2029:

  • Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand: 4.2%
  • Landscaping and groundskeeping workers: 10.1%
  • Construction laborers: 5.4%
  • Industrial machinery mechanics: 15.6%
  • Meet a heavy equipment operator apprentice who talks about her decision to pivot to a trade and why she enjoys her work.

    Hear from Pitt Ohio Trucking on the need for qualified professional drivers will continue to be in demand in this growin industry.

    Iron Workers Local Union #3 offer apprenticeships, and have a diverse group of apprentices and employees, who are prepared to work in this in-demand field.

    Competitive wages, for the career of applying protective coating to major industrial structures, equal to that of jobs that require a four-year degree.

    There is a high demand for electricians and clean renewable energy will continue to be highly in demand.

    Pittsburgh Technical College highlights the importance of learning the fundamentals of welding and a large need for new welders in the workforce.

    People who work in the steel industry come from a variety of backgrounds, and there's a lot of room for growth within various different roles.

    Learn more about the industry of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration.

    Transportation and Material Moving  

    Employment: 79,485
    Annual Openings through 2025: 8,979
    • Occupation: Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Driver

    Employment, PA: 80,810
    Average Annual Wage, Pittsburgh: $46,660
    • Occupation: Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators

    Employment, PA: 31,580
    Average Annual Wage, Pittsburgh: $42,870

    Installation, Maintenance and Repair  

    Employment: 48,401
    Annual Openings through 2025: 3,927
    • Occupation: Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers​
    Employment, PA: 5,770
    Average Annual Wage, Pittsburgh: $54,130
    • Occupation: Industrial Machinery Mechanics

    Employment, PA: 14,650
    Average Annual Wage, Pittsburgh: $49,530

    The following careers require less than a Bachelor's Degree and are projected to see the fastest growth (20% projected growth rate) through 2025 in the Pittsburgh Region:

    Electrical Power-Line Installer & Repairs
    Industrial Machinery Mechanics

    Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers  

    Industries with high levels of employment:
    • Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
    • Machinery Manufacturing
    • Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing
    • Robotics
    • Electrical Power Generation and Distribution*
    • Natural Gas Distribution*
      *top paying industries


    Jobs in construction are a set of skilled trades that work building structures, highways and utility systems, among other things. Each role related to construction involves a specialized skill, like masons who lay bricks or plumbers who deal with water systems. Construction managers oversee teams involved in each process of building, especially on very large projects. Construction also includes architects and industrial designers who develop the plans that other workers follow. Some roles require on-the-job training, while others may require an associate or bachelor’s degree.

    Formal technical training through apprenticeship programs benefit the construction industry, but workers are also needed for more specialized roles. Apprenticeships in the field benefit construction workers not just after high school, but well into someone’s career. Supervisory roles in the construction industry now may include more technology and advanced mathematics.

    Jobs in Construction:

    • carpenters
    • roofers
    • sheet metal workers
    • electricians
    • cement masons and concrete finishers
    • plumbers
    • pipefitters and steamfitters
    • mine cutting and channeling machine operators