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.
Tradesmen are contrasted with unskilled workers, agricultural workers, and professionals (those in the learned professions). Skilled tradesmen are distinguished:
from unskilled workers such as bus drivers, truck drivers, and landscapers in that the unskilled workers "rely heavily on physical exertion" while those in the skilled trades rely on "specific knowledge, skills, and abilities." Both types of work, however, are considered blue-collar.
from professionals in that the professionals require more education and have a higher duty of care and routinely make decisions "on the basis of expertise and ability in complex situations where there may be no, or little, previous history."
There is no definitive list of modern skilled trades, as definitions vary, with some lists being broader than others.
Data from the United States shows that, although vocational education is usually less financially lucrative in the long term than a bachelor's degree, it can still provide a respectable income at much less cost in time and money. 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.
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. As of 2020, the fastest growing trades in demand are Fencing, Handyman and Roofing.
^Sally Mitchell, Daily Life in Victorian England (Greenwood: 1996), p. 60.
^ abcErik Olssen, Building the New World: Work, Politics, and Society in Caversham, 1880s-1920s (Auckland University Press, 1995), pp. 47-49.
^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.
^ abWanda 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.
^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)
^Christopher Lawless, Forensic Science: A Sociological Introduction (Routledge, 2016), p. 62.
^"Occupational Outlook Handbook". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Department of Labor. December 17, 2015. Retrieved 2017. The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.
^Torpey, Elka (January 2019). "High-wage occupations by typical entry-level education, 2017". Bureau of Labor Statistics. Department of Labor. Retrieved 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.
^Moore, Shane (10 October 2018). "How Much Do Tradies Really Earn?". Trade Risk. Trade Risk Insurance Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2019. We are using the taxable incomes provided to us by thousands of self-employed tradies from around Australia.