Most people believe a bachelor’s degree is necessary to obtain a stable, lucrative career. After all, an undergraduate degree is a rite of passage for teachers, business people, and doctors alike. However, a college education doesn’t necessarily translate into a good living. Many graduates are bogged down by debt, slaving away at their nine-to-five desk jobs every day just to make ends meet.
Skilled trade careers are becoming popular again, giving students financial freedom and a stable, well-paying job almost immediately following graduation. From a plumber to elevator repairman, the opportunities are endless — and so are the benefits.
Trade School Is More Affordable
An overwhelming majority of low-income and moderate-income students are no longer able to afford higher education, as 95% of colleges are simply outside their budget. Thus, many are choosing trade school as an alternative route.
The average trade degree costs $33,000, which, compared to a typical $127,000 bachelor’s degree, is a more affordable option. With an associate degree at a trade school or community college, many students even graduate with little to no debt. Many trade schools also offer more scholarship availability, grants, and real-world experience.
High Earning Potential
Additionally, trade school graduates often earn a higher salary than their bachelor-degree-holding counterparts. For instance, an elevator installer and repairer earns a median annual wage of $79,780, with a 10% projected growth rate within the next 10 years. Construction managers and supervisors earn even more, with the potential to make more than $90,000 per year. Meanwhile, the average teacher makes about $61,730 annually and likely uses a chunk of that sum to pay off college debt.
Potential Career Advancement
Many graduates leave with a degree in one field and end up working in another a few years later because skilled trade jobs often include room for career advancement. Trade workers learn skills both at school and on the job, and they continually receive training as safety administrations formulate new regulations and update codes. As graduates learn new skills and gain more experience on the job, they create room for potential career advancements like becoming a project manager or supervisor or even starting their own business.
The Need Is Growing
With the baby boomer generation retiring and the need for new green technology on the rise, a huge opportunity awaits those who choose a skilled trade job. There’s always a need for plumbers, welders, carpenters, and HVAC experts, and construction companies are always looking for new skilled workers.
In September 2019 alone, there were 338,000 job openings in that specific sector. In 2018, clean energy employment added 110,000 net new jobs to the market. These green energy trade jobs are the most promising of all.
As more businesses commit to reducing their carbon footprint and consider more sustainable energy, employers will look to hire more skilled laborers. The two fastest-growing occupations will be solar installers and wind technicians, growing at a rate of 63% and 57%, respectively, by 2028. These are just two of the many options available to skilled trade workers. As innovations in technology improve, more jobs will become available, giving trade workers a unique opportunity to join the ranks of an ever-growing industry and enjoy the many benefits that go along with it.