From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A tradesperson or tradesman is a skilled worker that specialises in a particular trade. Tradespeople (tradesmen) usually gain their skills through work experience, on-the-job training, an apprenticeship programme or formal technical education.

As opposed to a craftsperson or an artisan, a tradesperson (tradesman) is not necessarily restricted to manual work.


In Victorian England:

The terms "skilled worker," "craftsman," "artisan," and "tradesman" were used in senses that overlap. All describe people with specialized training in the skills needed for a particular kind of work. Some of them produced goods that they sold from their own premises (e.g. bootmakers, saddlers, hatmakers, jewelers, glassblowers); others (e.g. typesetters, bookbinders, wheelwrights) were employed to do one part of the production in a business that required a variety of skilled workers. Still others were factory hands who had become experts in some complex part of the process and could command high wages and steady employment. Skilled workers in the building trades (e.g. carpenters, masons, plumbers, painters, plasterers, glaziers) were also referred to by one or another of these terms.[1]

One study of Caversham, New Zealand, at the turn of the century notes that a skilled trade was considered a trade that required an apprenticeship to entry.[2] Skilled tradesmen worked either in traditional handicraft workshops or newer factories that emerged during the Industrial Revolution.[2] Traditional handicraft roles included, for example: "sail-maker, candle-maker, cooper, japanner, lapidary and taxidermist, canister-maker, furrier, cap-maker, dobbin-maker, french-polisher, baker, miller, brewer, confectioner, watch-maker, tinsmith, glazier, maltster, wood-turner, saddler, shipwright, scale-maker, engraver and cutler."[2]

Modern use and list of skilled trades[edit]

Tradesmen are contrasted with laborers, agricultural workers, and professionals (those in the learned professions).[3] Skilled tradesmen are distinguished:

  • from laborers such as bus drivers, truck drivers, cleaning laborers, and landscapers in that the laborers "rely heavily on physical exertion" while those in the skilled trades rely on and are known for "specific knowledge, skills, and abilities."[4] Both types of work, however, are considered blue-collar.[4]
  • from professionals in that the professionals require more education and have a higher duty of care[5] and routinely make decisions "on the basis of expertise and ability in complex situations where there may be no, or little, previous history."[6]

Trades list[edit]

Earnings and social standing[edit]

A British study found that, after taking student loan repayments into account, a higher apprenticeship (at level 5 in the national qualifications frameworks) delivered higher lifetime median earnings than a degree from a university outside the Russell Group. Despite this, polling for the report found that apprenticeships have a lower perceived value than bachelor's degrees.[9]

Data from the United States shows that vocational education can provide a respectable income at a lesser cost in time and money for training. Even ten years after graduation, there are many people with a certificate or associate degree who earn more money than those with a B.A.[10][11][12][13]

The average taxable income for the top trades in Australia can be up to $100,000, while the average for all Australians is $85,800.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sally Mitchell, Daily Life in Victorian England (Greenwood: 1996), p. 60.
  2. ^ a b c Erik Olssen, Building the New World: Work, Politics, and Society in Caversham, 1880s–1920s (Auckland University Press, 1995), pp. 47–49.
  3. ^ Whitney, William D., ed.. "Trade." Def, 7. The Century Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Lexicon of the English Language vol. 8. New York. The Century Co. 1895. 6,415.
  4. ^ a b Wanda J. Campbell & Robert A. Ramos, "Blue-collar Selection in Private Sector Organizations" in Handbook of Employee Selection (eds. James L. Farr, Nancy T. Tippins: Taylor & Francis 2010), p. 741.
  5. ^ Robert D. Sprauge, "Liability for System and Data Quality" in Social, Ethical and Policy Implications of Information Technology (eds. Linda L. Brennan & Victoria Elizabeth Johnson: Idea Group: 2004), p. 194)
  6. ^ Christopher Lawless, Forensic Science: A Sociological Introduction (Routledge, 2016), p. 62.
  7. ^ "72 Trades To Learn for a Successful Trade Career |".
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Levels of Success". Sutton Trust. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Occupational Outlook Handbook". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Department of Labor. December 17, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2017. The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.
  11. ^ Torpey, Elka (January 2019). "High-wage occupations by typical entry-level education, 2017". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Department of Labor. Retrieved February 9, 2019. Overall, wages are higher in occupations typically requiring a degree for entry than in occupations typically requiring less education. But that's not always the case.
  12. ^ Carnevale, Anthony (January 2020). "The Overlooked Value of Certificates and Associate's Degrees: What Students Need to Know Before They Go to College". Center on Education and the Workforce. Georgetown University. Retrieved 28 January 2020. This report examines the labor-market value of associate's degrees and certificate programs, finding that field of study especially influences future earnings for these programs since they are tightly linked with specific occupations.
  13. ^ Marcus, Jon (20 November 2020). "More people with bachelor's degrees go back to school to learn skilled trades". The Hechinger Report. A lot of other people also have invested time and money getting four-year degrees only to return for career and technical education in fields ranging from firefighting to automation to nursing, in which jobs are relatively plentiful and salaries and benefits comparatively good, but which require faster and far less costly certificates and associate degrees.
  14. ^ Moore, Shane (10 October 2018). "How Much Do Tradies Really Earn?". Trade Risk. Trade Risk Insurance Pty Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2019. We are using the taxable incomes provided to us by thousands of self-employed tradies from around Australia.