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Coming out of high school and into the workforce, most teens will earn minimum wage, or slightly above. And almost certainly will not be provided paid healthcare or hourly contributions to pensions and annuity programs geared to their long-term financial security.

While the hourly starting rates vary from trade to trade, the average hourly rate for a first-year apprentice is two, to two and a half times minimum wage. Healthcare, pension, and annuity contributions add another $16.00 average to the hourly rate - meaning total compensation can be as high as $38.00 an hour.

As each year of the apprenticeship is completed, there is an automatic hourly rate increase and then typically a substantial increase upon earning journeyman status at the completion of the three to five-year apprenticeship program.

In-Demand

The demand for skilled tradespeople, regionally and nationally, has never been greater, due to a significant shortage of skilled tradespeople across the country. Presently, there are approximately 43,000 skilled union tradespeople in Western Pennsylvania and more people are being recruited into the training programs every day. 

This demand will continue to grow for both new entries as well as those who have experience. Between 2022 and 2026, it’s forecast that some 15,000 of today’s tradespeople will be retiring, creating even more opportunity and continued high demand.

Journeyman Is Just The beginning

Careers can go far beyond that of a journeymen tradesperson. There are no limits placed on you, and in fact, you are actively encouraged to pursue your path of choice. Our members also go on to become:

  • Foreman/Superintendent
  • Construction Estimator
  • Project Manager
  • Safety Manager/Supervisor
  • Trade Union Leadership
  • Company Owner
  • General or Specialty Contractor
  • Labor/Workforce Manager

And many take advantage of the college credits offered in several of our programs to earn advanced degrees in Engineering, Architecture, and Sustainable Construction, to name just a few.