The article compares the careers of electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and welders Home repair careers are very familiar trades to most people because you have likely interacted with people from the trade in your home at some point when things break. These home repair trades often come to mind when you want a hands on career, but do you really know what the differences are? This comparison page will help you compare the wages and different requirements for each of these careers.


For the most part, what an electrician actually does is install, repair, and maintain electrical systems. Because it's a profession that requires licensing and various other perks, many people think that electricians are the experts at home repairs, but in reality they're only one of several potential career options. Electricians can also specialize in either residential or commercial work (a decision made by state licensing boards). They can work for an employer as a contractor who gets paid by the hour or on salary; they can even do both—as independent contractors who take home no more than 10 percent of their job's total revenue (the rest goes to the employer), or they can work for an employer as employees responsible for getting paid by payroll deductions. As with every profession there are many different paths to follow, so it's important to carefully consider all your options before making a choice.


Plumbers work to install, repair, and maintain pipes, fixtures and other plumbing equipment used for water distribution and waste water disposal in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. As a plumber you can expect to work from ladders or in crawl spaces to repair pipes. You’ll also be responsible for installing pipe systems that carry water, steam or air.

Plumbers typically do the following:

  • Lay out plans for pipe installations and assemble fittings and valves for installation
  • Test pipes for leaks using air and water pressure gauges
  • Cut openings in structures to accommodate pipe and pipe fittings as they are installed.

Plumbers work both indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather conditions. Plumbers often have to bend down or crouch while installing pipes. They must sometimes lift heavy tools and materials at shoulder height or higher when climbing on scaffolding or ladders.

HVAC Technicians

  • People who want to install or repair heating and air conditioning systems should be able to work in tight spaces.
  • Those who want to install heating and air conditioning systems should also be able to lift heavy equipment.
  • HVAC technicians typically need to be able to climb ladders or work on scaffolds, use tools or equipment at heights, and work in small cramped spaces.
  • HVAC technicians often work in homes and businesses that may not have cooling or heating because their systems are broken. They must learn how to prevent heatstroke, frostbite, hypothermia, and other health-related issues that can occur when working in hot or cold environments for long periods of time.
  • Aspiring HVAC technicians must be comfortable using hand tools and power tools which could include screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches, handsaws, levels, drills and other devices needed for the trade .

Appliance Repair

If your coffee maker is on the fritz or your oven isn’t working, you may be considering hiring a professional to fix them. But did you know that, just like electricians and plumbers, appliance repair specialists require special training and are licensed by their state?

The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a degree in order to become an appliance repair specialist. Instead, to get licensed as an appliance repair worker, you will typically just take part in an apprenticeship with a professional who has been practicing for several years. However, your state may also require that you attend a vocational school or junior college before starting work as an apprentice.

Painters and Decorators

As a painter and decorator, you will often be required to work on your own initiative. You will travel to different properties in order to complete painting and decorating tasks. Painting and decorating may take place indoors or outdoors, in small spaces such as stairwells or large areas like entire houses.

Painters and decorators work with a variety of materials, surfaces and textures. They work with both residential clients from homeowners looking to spruce up their living room, to real estate agents preparing a home for sale; as well as commercial clients such as shop owners looking for an exciting new color scheme for the exterior of their store or office managers seeking fresher interior paint colors. Painters and decorators also work closely with individuals who have contracted them from builders or other tradespeople during renovations or construction projects.

For handy home repair lovers, there are many options in your career path.

As far as careers for home repair lovers go, there are many options on your career path. You might be interested in plumbing, or maybe you're more focused on painting or HVAC. You might even want to become an electrician!

The different paths to a career in the trades can seem daunting at first glance. But don’t worry—we've got your back with this guide to becoming an electrician, plumber, painter, HVAC technician, and appliance repairperson.

We’ve outlined the typical experience required and education needed for each of these careers in the trades field below.

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