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I composed that headline with a sense of bitter irony. Most high-school counselors and a good portion of the general public tend to think that the only people entering the trades are those “not cut out for college.” Put more bluntly, they think college is for smart kids while the worst students gravitate toward the trades.

I’m trying to keep this blog family-oriented, so I won’t say aloud what I think of that attitude, except that it’s something you’ll find all over the ground where farmers keep bulls penned up.

I’m really thankful we don’t live in a world where only dummies work in the trades. The world we do live in is one in which fresh water pours out of faucets, toilets flush foul matter safely away, our homes feel comfortable on even the hottest and coldest days, and our lives are filled with electrical wonders everywhere we look. You can’t be a dummy and make those things happen.

To be sure, you don’t need to be an A student in subjects like English, history and social studies, although there’s nothing wrong if you are. What’s more important is that you have a mechanical aptitude, are good working with tools and are at least average or slightly above average in science and math. Also, you need lots of common sense.

Back to the headline, are you cut out to succeed as a skilled trade worker? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Are you curious about how automobiles, furnaces, electronic gadgets and other electro-mechanical devices work? Do you enjoy tinkering with such devices?
  • Are you handy around the house with simple repairs when things break? Do you have a knack for figuring out how to fix something even if you’ve never done it before?
  • As a kid, did you enjoy playing with toys that enabled you to build things?
  • Do you know what most common tools are for and how to use them?
  • Do you feel a sense of satisfaction making and repairing household items?
  • Do you prefer physical labor as opposed to sitting at a desk all day?
  • Do you consider yourself a practical person?

This is not scientific quiz, but if you answered yes to all of these questions, the odds are very good that a career in the trades is right for you.

Want to find out for sure? Take our Quiz to find out which trade is right for you!