Trades and Personal Services Majors and Degrees

Trades and Personal Services programs prepare students for careers that require manual, mechanical, or technical skill sets. These programs are highly specialized and combine traditional classroom learning with hands-on experience. Tradespeople are in high demand and are essential to the functioning of society. They do everything from constructing buildings to transporting goods to keeping our power running.

Who might enjoy a Trades and Personal Services program?

A Trades and Personal Services program could be a good fit for you if you’re an experiential learner who likes to work with your hands. If you’re already enrolled in a high school career and technical education (CTE) program, or if your favorite classes include subjects like woodworking, robotics, or food science, this path could be an ideal option. Trades and Personal Services programs are available at trade and technical schools, as well as some community colleges and universities. If you aren’t sure if a four-year degree is right for you, or if you’re interested in a more affordable program that allows you to join the workforce more quickly, a trade or technical school might be the right place for you.

What kinds of classes do Trades and Personal Services students take?

Coursework in these programs varies based on your chosen trade. For example, if you want to become an electrician, you’ll enroll in courses like Electrical Principles, Electrical Theory and Applications, and Electrical Test Equipment and Safety. If you want to pursue culinary arts, you might take courses like Menu Development and Planning, Food Production Principles, or Nutrition for the Hospitality Professional. Some trades also involve apprenticeships, which combine classroom instruction with on-the-job learning alongside established professionals.

What jobs can a Trades and Personal Services certification get you?

Trades and Personal Services are highly specialized and prepare you for specific professions. If you choose to study carpentry, for example, you’ll be qualified to become a carpenter by the end of your studies. There are a wide range of trades to consider. You may choose to pursue a construction-based trade and become a mason, welder, or plumber. If you’re interested in a service-based trade, you can train to become a cosmetologist, dental hygienist, or nursing assistant. These are just a few of the options available.

How long does it take people to complete a Trades and Personal Services program?

This depends on where you choose to study. Trade and technical schools award diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees in 1–2 years. If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree in this area of study, however, it could take 3–4 years for you to complete your program at a university.

Are additional degrees needed for related jobs?

Additional degrees aren’t typically required for Trades and Personal Services jobs, but continuing education is often a necessity. Because technology and technical skills evolve and can become obsolete over time, it’s important for tradespeople to keep their skills as up to date as possible. This means that, as a tradesperson, you’d need to complete additional education courses throughout your career to renew your certification(s).