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Trade certifications in the USA.

  1. Sep 12, 2009 #1

    In Australia getting a trade certification is a long and painful process (electrician, boiler maker, carpenter ect) you do a 5 year apprenticeship where you get paid almost nothing.

    For comparison of wages.

    A check out chick at Coles will get between $17-$21 an hour. A first year apprentice will get get about $7.

    Is it an easier process in the states as I've heard all you do is a 2 year course and then you can start work ? For example a welder might do a 18 month course and then be able to work on basic projects.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 12, 2009 #2


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    I wouldn't say easier, just different. Each trade will have some sort of formal school and then one does an apprenticeship under supervision. What the length is and to what extent one can do what jobs depends entirely on the trade and who is doing the supervision. After that there is usually a Journeyman title that one gets licensed as until one reaches a certain minimum amount of experience. After that you can apply and test for a Master title. It is a slow process and for good reasons.
  4. Sep 12, 2009 #3
    The problem in Australia is that the pay for an apprentice is so low that not many people can afford to take those jobs. You pretty much have to be 15 years old and drop out of highschool.

    What would a person straight out of tradeschool get paid in the USA and is it an improvement on retail wages, for example ?

    The 200 a first year apprentice gets would likely only just be enough to run the car he'd need to get to work, get clothing, and maybe buy some food now and then. You'd need to be parentally supported or have a second job making it a pretty unattractive career for someone just leaving highschool.
  5. Sep 12, 2009 #4


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    According to http://www.oregon.gov/BOLI/ATD/A_AG_FAQ.shtml#How_much_pay_does_an_apprentice_receive?" [Broken], you start out at about 50% of the top scale, and work up in steps. (The site is for just one of the States - Oregon - it's likely similar in most states.)

    It's not a salary that offers a life of luxury, but you won't starve. And the top scale can be pretty darn good.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Sep 13, 2009 #5


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    Of course, in the US, that kid has to PAY for that trade school education, and some can be very pricey. It seems it might be more advantageous to spend 5 years earning a little bit while getting trained (basically, you're getting paid to get trained...um...not too much unlike getting a stipend as a graduate student), rather than having to pay out of pocket for training before you've held any sort of job that would help you pay for that training.
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