How to Build a Career in the Trades in Westchester County

These programs will help you build your career in the trades in Westchester. Photos courtesy of Southern Westchester BOCES Office of Public Information

Want to acquire the skillset you’ll need for a career in construction, electricity, or plumbing? These classes and programs in Westchester can help.

ICYMI: Trade careers in industries such as plumbing, electricity, and general construction are in high demand in Westchester County. And, luckily for locals, anyone interested in learning specialized skills through vocational schools can look at the courses offered at education hubs like Southern Westchester BOCES and SUNY Westchester Community College.

“There is such a great demand with all trade careers,” says Kurt Boysen, the construction and plumbing instructor at Southern Westchester BOCES. “Currently, there aren’t enough people in these trades to take care of all the problems.”

Electrical Trade Programs in Westchester

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricians earn a median annual salary of $60,000, and it’s estimated that jobs in the field will grow by seven percent over the next decade. Southern Westchester BOCES and SUNY Westchester Community College offer electrician training at an affordable price for anyone who wants to build a career in this industry.

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Students in grades 11-12 can participate in the electrical trade program offered at Southern Westchester BOCES. The program teaches students basic electrical skills and the progress being made in green technologies. Students learn how to construct circuits and do residential, commercial, and industrial wiring.

Student doing electrical work
Photo courtesy of Southern Westchester BOCES Office of Public Information

Young students aged 14-21 who are interested in learning new skills can also apply for The Summer Youth Employment Program in Westchester County, which provides job opportunities in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors during the summer months. The deadline to apply for the program, which can help students explore different skills, trades, and career opportunities, is May 31.

In addition to supporting high school students, Southern Westchester BOCES has learning opportunities for adults who are interested in the trades. Courses in electricity range from basic to intermediate and typically cost around $800 to $1,200.

In the introductory courses, students will learn the basic theory of electricity and electronics. The intermediate courses are more in-depth and deal with specific areas of focus, such as residential house wiring. Students who graduate from the program often find jobs like an electrician’s assistant, plant maintenance electrician, residential electrician, lineman, industrial electrician, communications installer, and more.

“At Southern Westchester BOCES, we are directly in relationship with all the unions and the New York Department of Labor,” Boysen notes. “Many of our students make their way into high-paying union jobs where they can specialize in different areas after we help them prepare with general skills.”

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SUNY Westchester Community College also offers an electrical program that’s available entirely online. The course can be started at any time and is self-paced to help students who are in school or the workforce. The cost for the online, instructor-led course is $2,495 and helps prepare students for an entry-level residential electrician apprenticeship.

Student doing construction work
Photo courtesy Southern Westchester BOCES Office of Public Information

Plumbing Programs in Westchester

Beyond electrical programs, SUNY Westchester Community College also offers a course in plumbing. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, plumbers earn a median annual salary of $60,000 and are often called for emergencies, so evening and weekend work is common.

“Plumbing is a trade that is in extra high demand because there is more time involved in getting a license, but it’s rewarding because you’re dealing with the health of the public,” Boysen observes.

For people who have strong mechanical skills and enjoy solving problems, plumbing is a good trade option. At SUNY Westchester Community College, people can sign up for an online course that costs $2,195 and is self-paced.

Southern Westchester BOCES also offers plumbing courses for high school students and adults who want to build a career in this field. The cost for adults to enter courses in plumbing fundamentals or advanced plumbing ranges between $850 to $1,730. The introductory courses will introduce students to water supply systems and other plumbing fundamentals while the advanced courses will look at more specific topics such as large capacity system sizing and different vent systems.

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“Construction and plumbing are great options for any student that wants to make an impact,” Boysen says. “It’s rewarding to work on a project and see the finished project. Anyone can start the program and become skilled in a trade.”

Related: 4 Myths About Careers in the Trades in Westchester

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