20 years ago, most aspiring contractors were experiencing their education in the same way; vocational schools. While far more affordable than a four-year college, these multi-year programs would help individuals develop the skills for various trades like electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other services.
Fast forward to 2022, and the educational landscape for trades, and many other disciplines, has shifted. The usual path of moving through high school, selecting a vocational school, finding an apprenticeship, and then obtaining a license is not the only option for contractors.
A career in the trades is more affordable and accessible than ever before as a result of technological advancements in education, as well as new tools that can help business owners.
More affordable path for learning
Online courses have risen in popularity for many disciplines in the last few years. Experts in the field can now take to the internet to teach classes, create programs and modules for applying knowledge, and design tests for aspiring talent in any field.
For contractors, there are many online options for obtaining and renewing the license they need in order to be a working electrician, plumber, or HVAC specialist. These courses are typically much more affordable than attending a vocational school, but the key is to find the right class that offers training from an expert in the field.
An education at your convenience
In addition to being more affordable, online courses also add a level of convenience to a contractor’s education. For individuals who have been a part of the workforce in the past and maybe have a family, an online education allows them to receive training at home and at whatever pace they would like. Some programs may have specific class times for attendance, but there are still virtual options that allow the person to stay home.
Other courses are set up to be completed at whatever pace the student prefers, with all modules and lesson plans made available once they sign up. As technology continues to advance and the experience of online learning improves, these options will become more favorable for those wishing to enter a trade.
New software programs specialize in coaching and video chats
One area where in-person education has an advantage is the face-to-face aspect of learning. Especially for trades, hands-on experience is critical. However, with software services like Zoom, Google Meets, Slack, and other collaborative programs, there is plenty of room for real-time communication. These programs allow for live video chats, constant group communication, convenient file sharing, and other necessary methods for an effective learning experience.
There are even some simulators that have come out in recent years or are in development for electricians and plumbers to gain practical knowledge in their field.
Technology that assists business owners
Some contractors decide to work in a trade independently. For these ambitious individuals, understanding the logistics of being an entrepreneur can be a heavy load to carry on top of the work itself.
Luckily, there are many new apps and programs available to assist business owners with that side of the profession. They can help with scheduling, booking appointments, tracking invoices and clients, taxes, and other parts of the job that are important for the day-to-day operations of the business.
Construction companies are now even using drones to assist with managing a project site and recording potential workplace issues. There really is no limit to what technology can do for contractors.
How will technology further your education as a contractor?
Working in a trade such as electrical or HVAC is in high demand in 2022, as many of these positions have been largely ignored in schools across the country for decades. But as the student debt crisis persists, and online learning becomes a viable option in many disciplines, the potential for contractors to be successful is extremely high.
We live in a miraculous time. The world is more connected than ever before thanks to the internet, smartphones, mobile data, and wifi. Will you take advantage of the plethora of online classes that can help you achieve your goals? Will you implement new apps and software programs that make the process of running a business easier? Will you use drones to help scope out a project site or record the work being done?
We have access to incredible technology and can learn new skills at the push of a few buttons and an internet search or two. For aspiring contractors looking to educate themselves in their field, this creates a very manageable path to success. As technology advances, the possibilities for workers in this industry will continue to grow.
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