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Taking Skilled Trades on the Road: Tips and Tricks for the Road Warrior Life

welder

Road warriors are skilled tradespeople that travel for work, often going wherever that work takes them. The lifestyle isn’t easy, but it comes with benefits that make all the travel and hustle worth it: challenging work, competitive pay and the opportunity to travel.

Cheynne Maupin, an Aerotek recruiter who places welders and mechanics, offers an inside look at this lifestyle. He also offers tips for aspiring road warriors on staying motivated, being successful and getting acclimated everywhere you go.

Road warrior life

Road warriors aren’t afraid to move for the right opportunity. Often taking on jobs that last anywhere from weeks to months in length, they look for high-paying, high-intensity work that might not be available back home.

“They thrive on finding multiple assignments throughout the year, and then moving where the work goes,” says Maupin. “At each stop, they’re building new skills and adding to an already impressive resume.”

Depending on their trade, some people will work anywhere from four to 12 different assignments a year.

The most common trades that travel for work include:

  • Welders
  • Machinists
  • Mechanics
  • Pipefitters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians

Because of their experience, traveling workers require little training on the job site. In working several jobs a year, they pick up new skills faster than they would at any single worksite.

The benefits of being a road warrior

On top of building skills quickly, you get the opportunity to travel while making great money. Road warriors make top dollar — with exact pay range depending on location and job duration. Many workers enjoy per diem payments that cover lodging and other job-related expenses, like food, tools or gas.

The road warrior lifestyle also offers a chance to be more social and meet new people. “Every time they go to a new place, they meet a new crowd of people and gain new contacts all over the country,” says Maupin.

Road warriors naturally form networks from job to job, so they can rely on a strong foundation of support that helps them continue this type of work.

Think about your next stop ahead of time

Once you start a job, look for the next one. Sometimes jobs wrap up sooner than expected, so it’s important to line up future projects.

Follow these tips for more jobs:

  • Take advantage of job boards – Check them frequently, and keep your resume updated.
  • Always reply to emails from recruiters – They’re another path to more — and better — jobs and only help to grow your network.
  • Save time – Keep your ID and work verification information in an easy-to-find place. This will speed up the time between getting the job and getting to work.
  • Do your research – Find out what you can about where you’re going (hotels, grocery stores, entertainment, etc.).

Take care of yourself

Find ways to stay healthy on the road. Plan to eat as well as you can and work out to stay physically fit and combat stress.

Take long, well-deserved breaks. If you wrap up a grueling four-month, six-days-a-week job, take some time to rest before the next one. That’s the beauty (and freedom) of the open road — you make it work for you.

Always wear your personal protective equipment (PPE), and pay close attention to any safety training. Take Maupin’s word for it: “It's uncomfortable to wear a mask and a respirator, but the minute you sacrifice one of those to be more comfortable, you could do a lot of damage.”

Finally, remember who you are outside of work, and don't forget what you love to do. Dabble in your hobbies and maintain your passions.

“Work is busy, but if you love hiking, biking or fishing, make time for it. It's a good reminder for why you're working this hard. That's really the key when it comes down to it,” says Maupin.

Road warrior opportunities abound

If you want to hone your trade and make good money while travelling the country, consider expanding your job search.

Apply for open positions across that U.S. that match your skills and interests. If you’re a good fit for the position, you’ll hear from a recruiter. Our broad network of field offices can help you get on the road to bigger and better projects.

File our tips and tricks away and consider giving this work and lifestyle a fair shot.