Trade professionals are vital to many industries. Individuals who enjoy manual work can earn hands-on degrees rather than traditional undergraduate or graduate degrees. Hands-on degrees typically teach students physical skills rather than office skills. In this article, we list eight hands-on degrees for people who want to pursue trade careers and the jobs available in each field.
What is a hands-on degree?
A hands-on degree is a qualification you can earn to prepare for jobs that require field experience. Hands-on learning can teach you the skills you need to work in diverse trade fields. This type of work typically requires you to be trained in a certain skill set and work on-site rather than in an office.
8 hands-on degrees and jobs you can get with each
You can earn a variety of hands-on degrees at trade schools, community colleges, and four-year degree programs. Here are eight hands-on degrees that can help you enter your local fields of trade.
Anthropology is the study of humanity and its evolution. While earning an anthropology degree, you might perform hands-on, outdoor lab work related to forensics, ethnography, or archeology. If you love history and exploring culture and places outside the classroom or office, you might consider this degree. Many four-year institutions offer bachelor of arts or science degrees in anthropology, allowing you to major or minor in the field.
Here are jobs you can get with an anthropology degree:
Diversity and inclusion manager: These human resources professionals ensure fair workplaces and employment practices. They create training programs and resources that encourage equality, respect, and safety. The average base salary for a diversity and inclusion manager is $86,141 per year.
Public relations manager: A public relations manager produces and shares information about an organization’s programs and achievements. Their goal is to create and maintain a favorable public image for their employer or client. The average base salary for a public relations manager is $54,553 per year.
Social worker: Social workers create and oversee programs that meet the emotional and social needs of individuals in healthcare settings. As a social worker, you provide social services to clients and their families. The average base salary for this position is $56,217 per year.
2. Forensic science
Forensic science combines the study of biology and science with criminal law and legal proceedings. If you major in forensic science, you can work with detectives, crime scene investigators, and legal professionals. You might work at crime scenes and specialize in fields such as pathology or toxicology. Consider these jobs you can get with a forensic science degree:
Forensic investigator: An investigator helps solve crimes while working closely with law enforcement officials and forensics professionals. Responsibilities include collecting evidence such as fingerprints, bodily fluids, and human tissue and analyzing it in the lab. A forensic investigator’s average base salary is $60,147 per year.
Forensic accountant: Forensic accountants collect financial evidence, organize the information, and present their findings in reports or presentations. This job includes creating visual aids to support trial evidence and testifying in court. The average base salary is $66,709 per year.
Forensic science technicians: These professionals collect and analyze evidence and assist in criminal investigations. Their average base salary is $50,322 per year.
Forestry is the study of lumber, trees, and ecology. You can find forestry programs at the community college level and in four-year institutions. With this degree, you can work on job sites in the U.S. National Forest System or other outdoor areas. You might learn about climate change, ecology, forest management, and safety. Many forestry professionals choose to specialize in areas such as wildlife management or fire ecology. They might work as consultants later in their careers. Here are jobs you can get with a hands-on degree in forestry:
Logger: A logger’s job duties include cutting, skidding, and preprocessing logs. They might make the logs into boards, paper, or other materials. Most loggers work in two-person teams to cut timber safely. Their average base pay is $25,813 per year.
Forester: Foresters plan and oversee forestry projects such as planting new trees, conserving wildlife habitats, and choosing and preparing timber plots. They also help assess current timber value and suppress forest fires. Their average base salary is $62,870 per year.
Environmental scientists: These scientists analyze samples, surveys, and other information to identify potential threats to the environment. They create plans to fix and prevent problems and ensure safety. Their average base salary is $61,645 per year.
4. Fire Science
Fire science is the study of fire, including the chemistry, physics, and biological effects fire can have on burn sites and within the community. During this course of study, you learn about managing burn sites and working with fire departments and other emergency service professionals to assess damage. You can earn a fire science degree at a community college and complete an internship or work as a volunteer firefighter to gain experience.
Jobs you can get with a fire science degree include:
Fire engineer: A fire engineer’s job duties include advising on and designing new and refurbished buildings for fire safety. Fire engineers help protect people, property, and the environment from fire hazards. Their average base salary is $77,817 per year.
Fire investigator: These investigators collect and analyze evidence from fire scenes. Their duties include keeping detailed records of evidence to use in court. Their average base salary is $64,179 per year.
Fire marshal: Fire marshals enforce and investigate fire safety regulations and interrogate arson suspects. Their duties include inspecting buildings to ensure they follow fire codes. Their average base salary is $70,546 per year.
5. Visual journalism
Visual journalism is the study of photography and storytelling through images. You can earn an associate degree in this field at the community college level or a four-year degree in photography or photojournalism. Gain experience by working with journalists and news teams to capture images that help tell a story.
Here are jobs you can get with a visual journalism degree:
Illustrator: Artists use their creativity to create original images for a variety of digital and printed products. They collaborate with clients and marketing departments to transform ideas and printed media into illustrations. Their average base salary is $27,264 per year.
Graphic designer: Designers create text and imagery by hand or with computer software to communicate ideas that captivate and inform consumers. Their duties include designing and creating layouts and advertisements. Their average base salary is $50,983 per year.
Visual designer: These professionals design layouts, artwork, and concepts for digital projects using information from creative briefs and client meetings. Their average base salary is $61,901 per year.
Oceanography is the study of the ocean, which you can pursue at a community college or in a four-year program. While earning this hands-on degree, you might work in coastal labs and explore the scientific elements of the ocean, ecology, and sea botany. After graduating, you might be eligible for jobs such as conservation manager, research lab assistant, or environmental organization manager.
Jobs you can get with this degree include:
Marine biologist: Marine biologists study the ocean and aquatic life. They conduct experiments, care for sick or injured marine animals, and monitor the daily functions of marine life. Their average base salary is $42,003 per year.
Aquarist: Aquarists work at aquariums, providing enrichment activities, feeding marine animals, and cleaning tanks. They might also offer educational programs to teach visitors about marine life and conservation. Their average base salary is $32,673 per year.
Marine science professor: Marine science professors teach marine science subjects to students at colleges and universities. They also perform independent research on marine science topics and publish their findings in research journals and academic publications. Their average base salary is $53,586 per year.
7. Plant Biology
Plant biology is the study of plants that combines techniques and concepts from biology, chemistry, and physics. Plant biologists can work on research teams or pursue advanced studies in genetics, biology, or chemistry. Many plant biologists specialize in areas such as pharmacology or renewable, green energy. This field of study typically requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Jobs you can get with a plant biology degree include:
Horticulturist: A horticulturist’s job duties might include selecting crops and increasing plant yield, size, and flavor. They’re knowledgeable about trees, flowers, and vegetables. Their average base salary is $39,550 per year.
Landscape designer: Landscape architects create attractive and functional gardens, parks, playgrounds, residential areas, and public spaces. Their average base salary is $56,906 per year.
Environmental scientist: Environmental scientists use surveys and samples to assess and identify threats to the environment. They might create plans to prevent, control, or fix environmental issues such as water or land pollution. Their average base salary is $61,645 per year.
8. Metalsmithing and welding
Metalsmith and welding studies provide hands-on experience in a shop setting. You focus on the safety and management of materials, fabrication, design, and welding. You can start your metalsmithing or welding education at a community college or trade school and gain experience working in metal shops. You can work alongside manufacturers and engineers, helping them create new products and solutions.
Metalsmithing and welding jobs include:
Welder: Welders read blueprints and drawings, take measurements, plan layouts and procedures, determine which welding equipment and methods to use, and set up components according to specifications. Their average base salary is $39,755 per year.
Master jeweler: Master jewelers are highly skilled in all aspects of jewelry design, drawing, and engraving. They understand all precious metals, including silver, platinum, and gold. Their average base salary is $43,206 per year.
Boilermaker: Boilermakers install, repair, and maintain boilers closed vats, and other large vessels that contain liquids or gases. Their average base salary is $59,892 per year.
I hope you find this article helpful.