Skip to Content

ESP Careers: Skilled Trades

One Education Workforce Serving The Whole Student!

About Us and Our Work

  • 31% of us work in a school building, 25% are assigned to a central maintenance facility, 22% report to multiple sites, and 16% work districtwide.
  • 81% of us have job responsibilities that involve promoting school safety.
  • 98% work fulltime.
  • 82% of us are male.
  • 85% are married.
  • Our average age is 51.
  • 53% of us have attended at least some college, and 31% have a two-year college or higher degree.
  • 44% have special licenses or special certificates. 37% have completed special coursework.
  • 72% must take examinations or courses on a regular basis to keep our positions.

We are committed: 15 years is the average we have been working in the ESP field. 91% of us plan to stay in the ESP field, and 76% plan to stay in our current jobs until retirement.

We are active in the community: 63% of us live in the school district we work in. 36% of us have given our own money to purchase food or school supplies for students. 27% of us have supported activities of a parent organization. 22% of us have supported a sports program.

We are focused on school safety: 81% of us have job repsonibilities that involve promoting school safety. 27% of us have intervened to stop bullying behavior in school, and 21% of us have intervened to stop school violence such as harassing, threatening, or intimidating others.

We are in every school: Over 45,000 skilled trades ESPs work in the nation's K-12 public schools. We make up 2% of the NEA K-12 ESP membership and 2% of the U.S. K-12 ESP work force.

Our Workplace Conditions and Issues

ThermometerOur jobs need to be better defined. 10% of us do not have a job description. 67% of us have no input into updating or changing our job descriptions.

54% of us are often or sometimes asked to perform duties outside our job descriptions for which we do not have the required training, licenses, or certification.

We are concerned about contracting out of our jobs to private, for-profit companies. 14% of our members report that skilled trades work is being contracted out in their school districts.

We want to be paid equitably relative to other skilled trades jobs outside public education. We also need equitable scheduling of assignments and awarding of overtime, as well as contractual compensatory time provisions.

To keep up with current technology, we need more support in obtaining ongoing training and professional development, particularly instruction in working with new materials and methods and in dealing safely with dangerous chemicals, electrical wiring, asbestos, and other job hazards.

We enjoy the freedom we have to decide how to do our jobs. We want more opportunities for advancement, for in-service training, and for other types of professional development. We'd like more support from local associations, from our supervisors, and from teachers.

How We Help Make Public Education Great For Every Student

We help by maintaining and improving the physical quality of school buildings, offices and facilities. We ensure that our buildings are safe, comfortable and attractive for students, staff and the community.

We work behind the scenes to repair, maintain, and operate machinery that is essential to the smooth functioning of the education system.

Furniture Repair

Skilled Trades: Who We Are

  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Painters and Glaziers
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Specialists
  • Machine Operators, Assemblers, and Inspectors
  • Printing Services Personnel
  • Nonmanagerial Supervisors


Visit the ESP Publications page and download a copy of the Who We Are brochure to learn more about ESP Careers!

How We Advocate For Students