12 Trade Jobs for Women
Women make up nearly half of the United States labor force. However, they comprise only three percent of the trade industry. While most trades are male dominated, there are several industries where women find successful work.
Still, no trade job is off-limits.
With the necessary skills, education, and dedication, women can work in any skilled trade they want.
Women Working in Skilled Trades
Why a Skilled Trade?
Trade jobs offer ample opportunities for women, including generous pay, good benefits, and relatively high job stability.
Most skilled trades require specialty training that usually takes no more than two years to complete and costs less than a four-year degree.
As a result, students can enter the workforce sooner, earn a better income, and pay less for their education.
Gender inequality still plays a major role in today’s workforce, with women only making about 82% of what men earn in the U.S.
Skilled trade jobs offer a higher-than-average salary compared to other professions, giving women the potential to earn more and maintain their financial independence.
Because men outnumber women in many trades, some might find it frustrating to enter a male-dominated career where the work culture can seem unwelcoming.
Most companies today combat this with programs that support diversity and inclusivity, tackling gender discrimination so that women and men can work together in any occupation.
Can Women Work in the Trades?
While more men work in skilled trades as a whole, there are several female-dominated industries, with healthcare being the most popular.
When it comes to women working in the trades, there is no list of specific jobs they must follow. Women can work in any field, from accounting or medical coding to plumbing or construction.
What Are the Best Trade Jobs for Women?
Employers want candidates with the skills and certifications necessary to accomplish tasks successfully. With the right training, women can find fulfilling work in a variety of skilled trades.
Below is a list of twelve popular female-led trade careers and industries, although women can work in any field with proper training through accredited programs.
1. Dental Hygienist
Approximately 98% of all practicing dental hygienists in the United States are female. Working as dental hygienists, women typically have regular hours as well as access to comprehensive benefits.
The primary requirements include completing an accredited trade school program and earning state certification or licensing.
According to Census.gov, women who work full time as dental assistants typically make an average of $32k a year. However, the general position among men and women earns between $29k and $59k depending on experience, education and location of work.
Learn how to become a dental assistant.
Cosmetology is a popular trade industry for women. Considered one of the most female-dominated fields, working in cosmetology requires job hopefuls to complete training at a technical school and earn a state license to practice.
Potential career options include working as a hairstylist, nail technician, or esthetician. Around 92% of cosmetologists are women.
Women working as hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists earn an average of $26K a year. Although men predominate the field of barbering, women can earn close to $21K a year in this role. As a whole, individuals in cosmetology earn as little as $20k a year and as much as $59k a year depending on the industry.
3. Veterinary Assistant
Those who love working with animals and want to join a trade often work in the veterinary field.
Women also lead this industry, comprising 84% of veterinary assistants and 95% of veterinary technicians.
To work as a vet assistant, one must attend a trade school program or work under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.
As a veterinary assistant or an animal caretaker in a research lab, women typically earn just under $27k annually. With the potential to earn more, either as vet techs or continued education, top earners in the field make more than $38k a year.
4. Nursing & Healthcare Jobs
Women work in about 76% of all healthcare and medical support careers. These roles include trade jobs such as the following:
- EKG tech
- Medical Biller & Coder
- Medical Transcriptionist
- Patient Care Tech
- Physical Therapy Aide
- Medical Assistants
- respiratory therapists
- licensed practical nurses
- home health aides
- medical records specialists
The healthcare industry is a stable career option with the potential to earn high-paying salaries and move up in the field with continued education and experience.
Salary ranges for women in healthcare jobs depend on the title itself and how much education or experience is necessary. For example, home health aides earn around $26k a year and spend less time in school than medical assistants who mat earn $31k a year. Women working as occupational therapy assistants earn some of the highest salaries with an average of $50k yearly.
5. Pharmacy Technician
A pharmacy technician is another healthcare support role in the service industry dominated by female workers. They assist pharmacists with preparing and dispensing medication for patients. Over 75% of pharmacy techs in the U.S. are women. Students only need a high school diploma or GED to attend a trade school program for this career.
Female pharmacy aides earn an average of $30k a year, although this number can vary by job location. Once experienced enough to become pharmacy technicians, women have the potential to earn closer to $36k a year and up to $47k.
6. Graphic Design & Web Development
Women working in technology can find many work opportunities in graphic design, web development, and information technology.
Over 50% of graphic designers and 21% of web developers are women.
Considered a niche occupation within the field, 13% of video game designers are women, as well.
Computer based occupations are high-paying jobs for women. Web developers earn an average of $59k a year, for example. Most other computer jobs earn somewhere around $67k. Broadly, graphic designers may earn as little as $31k yearly, however, the top 10 percent of earners in this field make as much as $98k.
7. Restaurant Manager
Not all employees must attend trade school to work in the culinary field. However, training at a technical school for culinary arts or restaurant management often increases job opportunities for women.
Around 48% of restaurant managers are female. This career field is ideal for those who love to cook or bake, and it allows for greater creative expression than some other trades.
The food service industry presents a lot of job opportunities for women, including positions with varying pay. For example, the average salary for a female chef or head cook is around $29k. Those working in management earn considerably more, landing somewhere between $36k and $98k.
8. CDL Truck Driver
Earning a CDL opens many job opportunities. Women can work in the trucking industry in many scenarios, from long-haul and over-the-road trucking to working as freight brokers.
The number of women in trucking has grown throughout the years as demand for the job rises. Around 15% of truck drivers today are female.
Women truck drivers in general make around $35k each year. Those working in positions as supervisors or inspectors make a yearly average salary of closer to $41k. With more training and experience, the potential to earn higher wages increases.
9. Automotive Service Technician
Becoming an automotive technician doesn’t always require a trade school education as long as you have the experience and know-how.
However, technical schools boost female workers’ hiring chances and the potential to earn more pay. Just over 9% of workers in the automotive repair and maintenance industry are women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Automotive service technicians and mechanics typically earn between $29k and $75k a year with women making an average annual salary of $31k. Workers can earn considerably more in wages depending on the job location, their skills and the type or amount of work available.
10. HVAC Technician
Among construction and building maintenance trade jobs, female HVAC technicians constitute 9% of the workforce.
HVAC techs install and repair heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration equipment in private and public buildings.
In this occupation, women can find work from various employers after completing a trade school program.
Women in maintenance and repair jobs earn just under $37k a year. Those who work in HVAC stand to earn more. HVAC workers and technicians on average earn around $48k annually with salaries determined by their expertise and industry.
Women who want to work in the manufacturing industry might want to consider working as a welder. Welding is a highly versatile career field with the option of contract employment, working with a company, or performing freelance jobs.
Many welders carry out apprenticeships before becoming independent. Just over 6% of welders are women.
A career in welding, soldering and brazing pays women on average about $31k. A higher paying version of this trade job for women is a glazier, who fabricates and installs architectural metal or glass. Female glaziers make closer to $75k a year.
12. Electrical & Electrical Engineering
Typically, women can enter this field through an apprenticeship or by attending an electrician technical school program. Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power systems, and roughly 4.4% of them are women.
On the other hand, 10% of electrical engineers are women who design, develop, and test electrical equipment.
Female electricians usually earn more than $51k a year performing electrical work in various industries. They can earn more or less depending on whether they work for a company, own their own business or freelance. The top 10 percent of earners in electrical work make up to $99k a year.
What is the Best Trade for a Female Job Candidate?
While some of the trade careers listed above are more popular among women than others, female job seekers can find satisfying work and high-paying salaries in any skilled trade.
The best trade for a female worker is a job that allows her to feel successful and passionate about her career. From working as an EKG technician to fixing plumbing issues, any skilled trade can allow women to succeed.