In today’s day and age, many people think that college is the only option to have a successful career. People may say that college graduates make more money than people without a college degree, or that you can’t move up in a career path without having a degree first.
However, this simply isn’t true. There are many options in trade schools that can make you just as successful or even more successful than getting a college degree. Here’s why you should consider trade school.
1. College Degrees are Becoming Over Saturated
With so many people believing that college is the only way to achieve success, the number of college graduates is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47% of the current workforce has a college degree. That’s almost half of the total workforce! The problem is, only 27% of the jobs in the workforce even require a college degree. That means that a huge percentage of people are getting college degrees only to find that the jobs are already taken by the time they graduate.
When making the decision between college education vs trade school, you have to consider what will make you stand out in a competitive field. College degrees simply don’t give you an edge the way they used to, since college is becoming more and more accessible to everyone with online schooling and lower-priced community colleges. Meanwhile, trade school is less expensive, takes less time to get a certification, and is less saturated. Because trade schools are less saturated, it’s usually easier to find job opportunities with on-the-job training.
For example, Preferred Plumbing and Drain, a plumbing company based in Sacramento, California, offers on-the-job training and competitive pay to individuals with no experience. Plumbers salaries greatly increase with experience, but the average salary for a plumber in the United States ranges from $43k-73k per year!
In addition to that, plumbing offers stable work year-round because plumbing services are always needed, unlike other careers that can be unreliable and phased out as technology advances. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider trade school as a competitive option in the argument of college education vs trade school.
Plumbing is just one example of a reliable, growing field in trade. Flooring contractors salaries can range anywhere from around $40k-65k in a year. In addition, many flooring companies offer growth within the company without the requirement of additional education. These companies place a strong value on craftsmanship and customer relations, which just may be the perfect job for someone looking to build skills in these areas. Flooring is a valued skill that will always be useful, much like plumbing.
2. Trades are More Fulfilling
When considering if you should get a college education vs trade school, many people find trades fulfilling because they are skills that are timeless. Many people may have grown up in a household where their parents worked a trade, and have seen that the trade has lasted lifetimes. People are always making home improvements and need these trade workers to complete them. In addition, as new homes are built, the need for trade workers such as a roofing contractor and landscaper are always needed.
Many trade workers report higher levels of job satisfaction than those with a career that requires a college degree. If you like to work in a fast-paced, hands-on environment with plenty of independence, then trade school may be for you! Many jobs that require a college degree are office jobs that require you to work under many levels of management. As a trade worker, you have the freedom of working with clients on an individual basis and working to solve problems as you see fit. Trade workers may find that to be more fulfilling than a desk job.
In addition, trades allow you to bring your work into your home. Imagine spending less money on your latest remodeling project, simply because you can do the work yourself! Many trade workers take pride in feeling more competent about handiwork such as refinishing kitchen cabinets or landscaping. Not only can learning these trades save you money in labor, but they give you complete freedom in remodeling as you see fit. In the argument of college education vs trade school, many people forget that going to trade school can offer you a uniquely hands-on, real-life education that can be useful in day-to-day life.
3. Trades Offer Financial Security
Trade schools can actually offer far more financial security than a college degree. Looking at a college education vs trade school allows you to see that trade schools are often smaller and more individualized, allowing you to get more guidance on jobs after schooling is completed. Trade schools are known to have excellent job placement programs which can help you breathe a little easier after you receive your certification! Since trade schools are also less populated than colleges, you are more likely to receive personalized education which will help land you a job offer in no time!
When people think of trades, they usually think of mechanics or plumbers. While these are valuable trades, the field is full of endless unique skills to learn! One niche skill to learn is glass and mirror installation. Many people do not think of this when considering trades, but there is always a need for windows to be fixed and replaced, or shower glass to be installed. Entry-level glass installers can start at around $30k a year, which is similar to entry-level jobs for those that have earned a liberal arts degree!
Advanced glass installers have the opportunity to make up to 62k a year as their experience grows. Another trade that many would not think of is garage door installation. Garage door installers can earn anywhere from 30k to 50k a year, along with the opportunity to create their own businesses in a relatively small field. As you can see, there are endless opportunities to set yourself apart by going to trade school for a number of different skills.
The need for trade workers will never diminish. As long as we have cars, we will need working mechanics, and as long as we have running water we will need working plumbers! Because of the negative stigma surrounding trade school, there is always room for more trade workers as the field is not incredibly saturated.
With amazing job placement programs, you are almost guaranteed to find work after finishing trade school! It would be incredibly smart to consider entering the field of trades now while the saturation is still low! If you are considering a college education vs trade school, one of the most important benefits is that the field will always be relatively stable.
4. Trades School Causes Less Debt
If you’re still thinking about a college education vs trade school, a big factor to consider is debt. Unfortunately, the cost of a college education has tripled since the 1960s. The average college graduate today has over $30k debt in student loans, which outrageous! After graduating with that much debt, they are forced to enter a career market that is incredibly oversaturated with college graduates desperately searching for jobs. In this situation, it is incredibly difficult to dig yourself out of that debt in a reasonable time period.
Despite this, college attendance is only increasing, with enrollment rates going up by 28% according to the National Center for Education Statistics. With these kinds of statistics, one might wonder just how you can set yourself apart from the crowd and wrack up less debt. Fortunately, trade school just might be the answer for you!
To compare a college education vs trade school cost, the average cost of electrician school can range from $1k to $11k. Considering that the average cost for a four-year degree can be over $100k, that is an incredibly good deal! In addition, you can learn to become an electrician during apprenticeship programs, which can cost anywhere from $250 to $1500 a year, and that cost can be offset partially through your salary. With that in place, you can pay off your education while you’re learning!
Once you are done with training, electricians can make anywhere from $30k to $80k a year. In a traditional college, you would take classes for four years and struggle to pay them off by getting a job afterward. For many people, trades can be much less stressful and more affordable than a traditional college education.
Although many people may want to attend a traditional four-year college, it may just be far too expensive. In order to attend these colleges, people are often forced to take out private loans that are difficult to pay off. With jobs that require degrees becoming increasingly less available, taking out these loans might just feel too risky.
Although jobs are never completely guaranteed, many people might feel more comfortable spending less money on education while also entering a relatively secure job field. As of 2018, the Federal Reserve reports that there is $1.5 trillion in student debt outstanding. That number may seem scary, but it just emphasizes the dilemma our next generation of graduates are experiencing. Now more than ever is the time to give trade school a chance.
5. Times are Changing
For generations, students grow up in families that view college as the only way to have a successful and stable life. While many college graduates do earn more than those who don’t graduate college, the risks of taking on so much debt may just outweigh the benefits. Young students are often pressured to take on the responsibilities of loans in order to attend college and may never be able to pay them back. What many students do not realize is that college is not the only choice, and there are other options out there.
Many schools simply do not inform students that trade schools can be a stable and solid option to advance your career. Therefore, the pressure to attend college is extremely high. What many students also don’t realize is that less than half of people who start a college degree do not finish them. They are then left in debt without a degree to help them find a job.
When trying to decide between a college education vs trade school, the choice must be completely your own instead of your parent’s or teacher’s. Many students do not have a passion for academics and struggle through college without having a real goal or plan for a career afterward. Students like this are less likely to make career connections and find a job after they graduate. Instead of forcing their way through college, students should be encouraged to explore other career options in trade schools.
Many people simply do not have an interest in academics and would rather work with their hands and create. Fortunately, people who attend trade school may just be entering a quickly growing field- manufacturing, infrastructure, and transportation are all supposed to be growing within the next decade in the United States. Many people who know trades may become incredibly vital to the growth of these areas.
Those who attend trades often have the freedom to start up their own small businesses. This can lead to incredible success within their career, as well as the independence to have complete control over their working hours and conditions. Although many people may look at trade certifications as inferior to college degrees, there is an incredible opportunity for growth and advancements in trades.
In addition, Americans are eager to support small businesses within their community, with 90% of Americans shopping with local businesses at least once a week and as many of 42% of them visiting even more often. If you’re trying to decide if you should pursue a college education vs trade school, you must consider that it does not simply stop at a certification. The opportunities are endless!