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There is incredible diversity among skilled trade careers, ranging from work in electronics to animal care to administrative assisting. If you want a professional challenge and want to work with your hands, consider a career in the skilled trades. Training for a profession in the skilled trades will give you... intellectual, practical, and theoretical knowledge of your craft, as well as allowing you to engage the physical world.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be a large increase in the number of skilled labor job openings through 2014. Lucrative niche markets in the trades have resulted from shortages of skilled manual workers. Recent surveys of 35,000 global employers indicated that the U.S., along with five other leading countries, was contending with not having enough skilled tradesman available to hire for current positions. Colleges and universities are responding by offering more quality vocational training programs, with online classes as a solution if you need to keep working while enrolled in school.

You can advance beyond entry level positions, or basic labor, with an associate or bachelor degree. The training and information required to break into the trade fields can take between two to four years, depending on your specialization and interests, as well as the job market in your area. If you have been putting off committing to a long-term college experience without knowing what type of major will get you a job where you want, consider training for a career in the trades instead. Depending on your interests and abilities, you may be happier in a work environment that is more varied. If you like to stay physically active, and hate the thought of being tied to a desk, you may find job satisfaction in these trade areas.

Currently in high demand, skilled trade job salaries can be competitive with other professions that require a four-year degree. You would be a hot commodity since companies are growing more concerned that they will not have enough skilled workers in the near future due to a nation-wide shortage.

Some skilled trades with training through convenient and flexible online programs can pay over $40,000 a year, which is a reasonable salary for a trade career that often only requires a two-year degree. Being in high demand after earning an online associate degree won't leave you with enormous debt in student loans, and will give you a wide variety of options to pursue.

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