If you’re reading this, chances are you have done some research into the wood industry and think that this innovative career path might be for you. There are many benefits to a career in the trades - and especially the wood industry. With craftsman-style builds and renovations becoming more and more popular, the need for individuals who are able to work with their hands or with technology is on the rise.

Whether you are drawn to the creative options, the technical aspects, or the excitement of no day being exactly like the last, explaining this to your parents or other career counselors might seem a bit daunting. That is why we are here to help you field a few questions that you might be asked.

Is the wood industry financially sustainable?

This is likely a question that people who care about you and your future might ask, and the answer is yes. The financial benefits of a career in the wood industry can be achieved both immediately and in the future.

Immediate Income

With the costs of a four-year college degree rapidly rising (US News and World Reports cites 2020-2021 rates ranging between $10,000 and $35,000 for one year) and a 20% unemployment rate for new college graduates, embarking on a career without student loans immediately enhances your income potential. Additionally, you could have the possibility of earning money in your field right away. Unlike many skilled career paths, apprenticeships are the norm in many locations. Taking advantage of paid apprenticeships is one way to guarantee immediate income from the beginning of your career. While the income offered in apprenticeship positions range between $25,000 and $40,000 a year, the average across America is $32,350 with a growth expectancy of 8% by 2028.

Future Income

After completing your apprenticeship or other training, there are several options for you depending on your specialty. If consistency and stability are of high value to you, joining a well-established company with traditional benefits might be the right avenue for you to choose. Other options could include starting your own business or working for yourself as a sole proprietor. Regardless, an average salary across the nation is $65,000, with the high end being as much as $90,000 a year. If you add on the potential of tax write offs or a company vehicle, your compensation could be higher.

Can the wood industry provide a sustainable career?

Yes, it can - and there are varying paths to this sustainability. For the technology minded, a certification in computer-aided drafting (CAD) can set you apart with a specialization that will support your career growth. If working for yourself appeals to you, running your own business could be a part of your future. Whatever path you choose, the current and future need for the wood industry sets you up for on-going success.

Current Need

While many industries have struggled during the 2020 pandemic, the trade industry has seen continued growth. In fact, PeopleReady.com has seen growth in all trade construction-centric jobs in 2020, with a 16% increase in carpentry. This growth has occurred during a time when many industries have struggled, which demonstrates the stability of jobs in the wood industry and their ability to remain sustainable during days of economic downturn.

Future Need

The world seems to be moving at a record pace toward automation and digital processes for things that have traditionally been done by hand. How does this affect the growth potential in the wood industry? It actually opens doors for individuals embarking on a career in the field. In fact, a recent article, featured on PBS.org, highlighted the ever-increasing need for vocationally trained individuals.

While engaging in conversations with others about the desires for your future can be nerve-racking, being prepared to meet concerns with facts, information, and well thought out responses can make a big difference. The information provided here, as well as the following links, can set you up to have a productive, and informative, conversation about your future plans.

Links to check out:

Be sure to also check out the Wood Industry Resource Collaborative (WIRC), which partners with wood trade associations to provide online resources to help you find scholarship opportunities and educational training to prepare you for a good-paying wood industry job. Start exploring your options for building your future.