Trade Industry Certificates 

The trade industry contains jobs that are essential and in constant high demand. The shortage of skilled workers within this industry results in great job and career opportunities for entry-level workers. With the push for higher education, many young professionals not attending college can enter the workforce out of high school and jumpstart their careers—so, is it worth it to pursue extra certificates and licenses within the trade industry? 

Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction defines Industry-recognized credentials (IRC) as, “Certifications, credentials, or licenses… to recognize skill attainment needed for recruitment, screening, hiring, retention, or advancement.” Unlike lawyers, doctors, and teachers, employees can get hired in the trade industry without a specific certificate or license—but not always. Depending on the company and trade, some certificates and licenses are required while others are highly recommended. Let’s dive into the different trades and some IRCs within each. 

Construction Workers 

  • High school diploma 
  • National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) Certifications 
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Construction Certificate 
  • Certified Construction Manager (CCM) 
  • Residential Construction Certified (RCC) 
  • Apprenticeship  

Most construction workers can get hired as soon as they obtain their high school diploma, but many construction companies may require or highly recommend additional certifications. In general, most construction companies require some level of OSHA or NASP safety training. If you want to eventually lead your construction team, you may consider becoming a Certified Construction Manager (CCM). This program is two years long and usually comes after years of work experience. For more specific certificates, it all comes down to what your company requires and whether you want to specialize in something or not. Take the time to talk to industry experts to better understand what makes the most sense for you and your future.  


  • High school diploma 
  • Electrical Apprenticeship Program 
  • Licensed Journeyman Electrician (Exam) 
  • Licensed Master Electrician (Exam) 

Being an electrician includes a wide range of work which results in a wide range of possible certificates and licenses. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) states that “No person may install, repair or maintain electrical wiring unless the person is licensed as an electrician by the Department or unless the person is enrolled as a registered Electrician by the Department.” So, in brevity, you need to be licensed. There are multiple ways to work your way up from Electrical Apprentice, but the final step in becoming a licensed Journeyman or Master Electrician is through an exam that must be retaken every four years. Visit Service Titan for a resource to understand the necessary credentials in becoming a licensed electrician in Wisconsin.  


  • High school diploma 
  • Apprenticeship 
  • Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) 
  • Certified Remodeler (CR) 
  • Certified Remodeling Project Manager (CRPM) 
  • National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) Certified Craftsman 

Like construction workers, carpenters can be hired directly out of high school. Although a lot of the skills can be learned on the job, sometimes extra certificates can help carpenters grow within the industry. According to a survey of 1,448 job seekers on Indeed, 75% stated that a carpentry certificate helped them make more money. Depending on the emphasis you’re interested in, certain certificates make more sense than others. Like the construction industry, carpenters will go through a level of OSHA certificates, but it’s up to the worker and their employer on other required certificates. Reach out to successful carpenters in this industry to better understand what would best suit your future.  


  • High school diploma 
  • Plumber Apprentice Program 
  • Certified Journeyman Plumber 
  • Certified Master Plumber 

The stages for becoming a certified plumber are very similar to the stages for becoming an electrician. According to Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services, “A plumbing license is required to install plumbing in Wisconsin, except when the plumbing work is performed by a property owner in a one-family dwelling he or she occupies.” After obtaining a high school diploma, the first step is to begin a five-year plumber apprenticeship program with a Certified Master Plumber to become a Certified Journeyman Plumber. After becoming a Certified Journeyman Plumber, jobs can be performed without supervision. If plumbers want to start their own contracting plumbing business they must become master plumbers, which can be achieved through years of experience. Visit Service Titan’s website to understand the stages of becoming a certified plumber in Wisconsin. 

How to Get Started 

In the end, it’s important to communicate with your current or future employer to best understand what suits you and your future. Although certificates aren’t always required, they can be extremely helpful when searching for or advancing in the job market. Some companies will even pay for certain certificates, so communication and networking are key. Reach out to successful experts in your field and use their mentorship as a guide for your future. Check out trade jobs available at and start your career today!

Construction workers huddle around a computer during a workday.