Is College Worth It?: What the Trades Offer Above Higher Education

Wednesday, 27 October
female construction apprentice and colleague-cm

With rising tuition costs and an increasingly competitive workforce, it’s no secret that many people are starting to question the value of a college education. For decades, it was widely accepted that a college degree was the most secure path towards a rewarding career. Now, many high schoolers are turning their attention towards alternatives like the trades. Here, we’ll take a look at some ways the trades offer a better career path than higher education.

Quicker transition to the workforce.

After receiving your qualifications, you want to hit the ground running in a rewarding field. You don’t have time to sit around and wait for a job opportunity that might pop up. When entering college, students have at least four years before they’re qualified for a job within their desired field. With only 19% of students graduating on time, most wait even longer than four years.

On the other hand, the trades are specifically designed to get craftsmen trained and into the workforce as quickly as possible. Most trade schools only last for a few months or a year. There are even some apprenticeship programs that help you start working while you’re still learning. This quicker transition to the workforce gives craftsmen a head start on earning.

Lower costs and less debt.

You’ve always heard that college debt is bad. But how bad is it really? Well, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average college student debt hovers around $37,500. In total, that’s almost $1.6 trillion. Yikes! And with tuition rates continuing to rise without any signs of stopping, the debt issue is only going to get worse for students.

And how do the trades compare? Most vocational schools cost one-fourth of what you would pay at a four-year college. This lower cost also means craftsmen have fewer student debts than their collegiate counterparts. There are even some rewarding scholarships for the trades that can make this already affordable alternative even more cost-effective.

Clearer career path.

When you finish your studies, you want a rewarding career waiting on the other end. Unfortunately, many college graduates aren’t finding that connection between education and employment . In fact, 73% of college graduates don’t even end up getting a job related to their major. Even worse, 41% of graduates work in fields not requiring a degree!

The trades offer a much clearer and well-defined path towards employment when compared to most college programs. The training is hyper-specialized and hands-on, ensuring craftsmen become masters in a particular field. Many trade programs even provide graduates with guaranteed employment after graduation. You won’t find that in college!

Higher demand and better job security.

In the past, a college degree carried much more weight. Today, it’s become a bit oversaturated as more and more people pursue this academic path. The numbers make it clear. Currently, 53% of graduates are either unemployed or underemployed, defeating the whole purpose of higher education.

While the college degree is experiencing a saturation of sorts, now is the best time to get into the construction industry. Demand is at an all-time high as the number of skilled laborers can’t keep up with the number of open positions. This higher demand results in greater job security as your specialized skills are considered more valuable.

Looking for a rewarding job in the construction industry? Visit IamMadden.com for an up-to-date list of the latest construction job openings. Madden Craftsmen has spent the last few decades pairing local craftsmen with some of the area’s best construction businesses. Not yet qualified? No problem! Through our apprenticeship program, you can get qualified to work as a craftsman while earning some income. Let’s build something!

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