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Precision Production
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With so much of professional life moving online (especially in the era of COVID-19), students and workers looking for a rewarding career can easily forget how important trades and manufacturing still are. Are you considering a career in precision production? It would be a really good idea.

In this section we address:

  • What is precision production?
  • What are precision production occupations?

What is precision production?

Precision production includes trades that require precise work such as woodworking, computer numerical control, HVAC services, and metalworking. While these trades often don’t require formal education, practice and knowledge through apprenticeships and formal programs can help tradesmen thrive and excel over the competition.

What are precision production occupations?

Many products require skilled craftsman to create them. Precision production occupations include metalworking, leatherworking, boiler making, jewelry production, furniture production, mechanics, and many more.

Many students who choose precision production fields like to work with their hands and learn how to use various tools and techniques to create custom products. Welding is another example of a precision production trade.

Getting a certificate or two-year degree help students turn their passions into careers. It isn’t strictly necessary, but most employers will require a high school diploma or equivalent. Knowledge of geometry, math and computer skills often play into succeeding in these fields. These jobs tend to be hands-on and require stamina and skill. You can often find an apprenticeship or internship after taking courses in the trade.

Industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation:

IndustryEmployment (1)Percent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Employment Services702,58019.09$14.96$31,130
Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing395,10065.54$19.35$40,250
Machinery Manufacturing377,16050.14$20.19$42,000
Plastics Product Manufacturing351,59059.18$17.55$36,510
Animal Slaughtering and Processing323,79061.39$15.20$31,620
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industries with the highest concentration of employment in this occupation:

IndustryEmployment (1)Percent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing174,12074.35$23.93$49,770
Leather and Hide Tanning and Finishing2,10071.28$16.49$34,290
Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing115,35070.20$19.23$40,000
Footwear Manufacturing8,73069.66$15.49$32,230
Machine Shops; Turned Product; and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing254,27069.35$21.38$44,470
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Top paying industries for this occupation:

IndustryEmployment (1)Percent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution47,18012.27$41.30$85,910
Natural Gas Distribution11,23010.26$40.12$83,450
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil2,80023.74$38.11$79,280
Other Pipeline Transportation3,05036.54$34.89$72,570
Postal Service (federal government)1400.02$34.77$72,310
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Top paying States for this occupation:

StateEmployment (1)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
District of Columbia5,690$27.24$56,660
Wyoming13,300$27.13$56,430
Washington178,980$23.67$49,240
Alaska9,810$22.98$47,790
Connecticut93,440$22.93$47,700
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

What Can You Do with a Precision Production Degree?

Learn more about trades that pay high salaries without requiring a four-year degree. In this section, we will answer the following questions:

  • What’s a trade?
  • What trades are there?
  • What trade is right for me?
  • What trade should I do?
  • What trades are in demand?

What is a Trade?

According to Ziprecruiter, a trade is any job that requires advanced skills and training other than a traditional bachelors degree. This includes jobs and construction, plumbing, and electricity. Experience and training mean the difference between succeeding in these jobs and washing out after the first week. Going to a vocational school or taking an apprenticeship are great ways to get started in a trade.

What Trades are There?

There are many types of trades that involves skilled labor. But there are also trades that don’t require hard labor. examples include dental technicians, pilots, and real estate agents and brokers.

Precision production trades include the following examples:

  • Precision metal working: jewelers, iron and steel worker, welders, metal fabricators, and sheet metal workers
  • Woodworking:  upholstery and furnishings, carpentry, woodworking, and construction.
  • Leather, shoe and boot repair
  • Boilermaking: factories, buildings, and ships
  • Machine workers: model making, press machine setting, and computer-controlled machine tool operator.
  • Painting: Automotive, machinery, and furniture

What Trade is Right for Me?

It’s important to find a career that meets your goals and interests. When deciding whether a precision production job is for you, consider your own skills and interests. Determine what you want to do and what will make you happy. If you have a natural talent, this may help you to decide which precision production job is right for you. There are also many other trades to choose from that do not require four-year degrees. Even better, many trade schools now offer courses partially or fully online.

What Trade Should I Do?

Here are a few things to keep in mind to determine which trade is right for each student:

  • Choose a precision production trade you are interested in. This requires research on industry trends and available jobs.
  • Some trades have more flexibility for switching jobs or advancing in the field than others. For example, becoming an electrician can lead to opening a business or going into a partnership with a construction firm. More specialized skills often come with higher pay scales but apply to fewer job opportunities.
  • Some colleges offer pre-apprenticeship programs. These programs give students a chance to try out different careers to decide which one is most suitable for them.
  • Precision production companies, plumbers, and electricians often take on apprentices. However, they often choose those who have already attended some form of trade school.
  • Develop a niche. Becoming an expert in an area can make you the go-to person for that field. Similar to landscapers and stone masons, choosing a niche area can help you pursue your passion and make a good living
  • Keep learning. After obtaining a certification or finishing an apprenticeship, tradesman continue to learn on the job and through various learning opportunities. From workshops to continuing education, there’s plenty of opportunities to advance your skills in precision production trades.

What Trades are in Demand?

The skilled trades include many precision production jobs and form a critical part of the country’s infrastructure. Millions of people in various trades are approaching retirement age. So, this is a great time to go into the workforce as a precision production worker or craftsman. The most in-demand trades include a mixture of skilled labor and precision.

1. Truck drivers

This trade does not fall under precision production but underlies an important infrastructure career. Most free in the United States travels by truck and drivers are needed too move these goods across the country. Manuring heavy trucks through busy streets takes patience, know how and a particular mindset. These drivers also need commercial drivers licenses and on the job training. This physically demanding job also requires time away from home and may appeal to those who love to see new places and don’t mind driving for long periods

According to the BLS, there are nearly 100,000 job openings and salaries average $47,000 per year

2. Carpenter

Carpenters are valuable in a number of construction and furniture making jobs. They are versatile craftsman with a wide variety of skills. For those who enjoy working with their hands and learning new skills, this could be a great job. Carpenters are involved in everything from building bridges to crafting kitchen cabinetry. Many carpenters have their own businesses and they often act as leaders on the job. Those who love home renovations and construction may do well in carpentry. These types of trades involve manual dexterity and on-the-job training.

There are more than 80,000 job openings with average salaries of $53,000 per year.

3. Electrician

Electricians are among the highest paid tradesmen and their job requires a great deal of precision. There’s a great deal of responsibility involved in electrical work. Precision production occupations often involve specialized knowledge. There are also a fair number of risks that require specialized training to avoid. Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems in homes and businesses. Most states require a license in order to practice this key role.

There are more than 74,000 jobs open in this field and practitioners average more than $60,000 per year.

4. Plumber

How to choose a trade often involves your ability to master the needed skills. Plumbers are often the unsung heroes of home services. They keep the water flowing and pipes clear so that families and business owners don’t have to worry about what happens when they turn on the shower or flush the toilet. Plumbers install and maintain pipes that either bringing clean water or carry away dirty water from hospitals, houses, offices and buildings. Plumbers often start out as apprentices, but most companies and contractors require a certification or degree from a trade school as part of the condition of employment. This emphasizes the importance of vocational training.

There are 68,000 job openings with an average salary of nearly $60,000 per year in this field.

Considering these choices will help you learn how to choose a trade that’s right for you. Precision production occupations and other jobs requiring skilled labor require specialize skills and demonstrate the importance of vocational training.

Degree Types: Associates, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral

Precision production occupations often require some kind of formal training. This can take place in a trade school or vocational training program. Fortunately, there are many types of trade school degrees available online. Trade degrees in demand come in friendly formats that you can access from your mobile devices or home computer.

Most distance learning programs are self-paced, meaning that you can set your own goal for graduation and take as many courses as you can handle at one time. Most people choose a slower more realistic pace when they begin and may pick up speed as they finish the program. It’s important for students taking trade degrees online to stay motivated and focused without overwhelming themselves.

Traditional vocational programs and trade degrees online vary in length and format with some being available on weekends and evenings and others requiring either part time or full-time attendance.

There are many types of trade school degrees. If you want a trade degree in demand, consider the following options:

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Radiation Therapist 
  • Construction Manager
  • Elevator Mechanic 
  • Dental Hygienist 
  • Margin Department Supervisor
  • Logistics Manager 
  • Fashion Designer 
  • Multimedia Artist & Animator 
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
  • Electric Power Line Installer
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Boilermaker 
  • Home Inspector 
  • Respiratory Therapist 
  • Radiologic Technologist 

Accreditation for Precision Production Programs

Online and traditional trade schools should have the appropriate accreditation. Many community colleges and universities offer vocational programs for precision production certificates and degrees. These schools are often safe bets for students looking for accredited programs. Once you choose a career, you can research the trade organizations that accredit trade schools for that field and find schools with the appropriate credentials.

The best technical colleges include Madison Area Technical in Madison, WI. The school offers associate degrees in fire protection, medical administration and other fields. It also offers technical certificates and diplomas. The best technical schools in the US include Siena Heights University in Adrian, MI, which offers a BS for technical and trade professions.

Another one of the best trade schools in the US, Vaughn College in Flushing, NY, offers bachelor and associate degrees in aviation maintenance and airport management. They have certificate programs too. Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY, ranks as one of the best technical colleges and offers two-year degrees in paramedic and police studies.

The best technical schools in the US offer online programs and certificates such as those above. Another one of the best trade schools in the US includes Hampton University in Hampton, VA, which has aviation-related programs.

Apprenticeship, Certifications, and Licensure

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are on the job training programs that prepare new craftsman to work in skilled and precision production jobs. Apprenticeships typically last from two to six years. Upon finishing an apprenticeship, tradesmen usually need to take a licensing exam to work on their own.

Prep for Licensure / Certification

Many precision production jobs require licensing or certification. For example, mechanics don’t need a certificate but can often get better jobs if they have one. Meanwhile, plumbers and electricians must have their license in order to conduct business in their state. License and certificate programs concentrate on the information needed to pass the appropriate exams.

Diploma or Certificate

Trade and vocational schools that have programs for precision production jobs often award certificates or diplomas. These are called non degree awards because they aren’t traditional two-year or four-year programs. However, they can still carry a lot of weight when it comes time to seek a job or an apprenticeship.

In general, it’s always better to have some education rather than none if you want to succeed and move forward in a career. This is particularly true if you want to get a license or certificate to practice on your own without supervision. Some diploma and certificate programs last just a few weeks to a year. These include dental assistant, HVAC tech and vet assistant. Others may take up to two years and culminate with an associate degree.

Scholarships

Scholarships and grants make it easier to pay for school. You can apply for the following grants help pay for your diploma or certificate:

Many community colleges and other schools offer scholarship opportunities. Unigo is another great source for scholarships for trade schools and certificates.

Related:

Best Trade School Scholarships

Highest Paying Trade School Degrees

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