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Skills & Trades - A Different Journey to your Future!
You're not the only one. So many avenues to achieving your dreams. You can connect your passion with your work. It takes stepping out of the box, sometimes. I encourage you to read these short articles below, and read these students' perspectives in partnership with the New York Times.
Skilled Trades Vs. College Degrees (Courtesy of the Seattle pi)
When deciding what type of post-secondary education to pursue, potential students need to evaluate their career and life goals to decide whether learning a skilled trade or getting a college degree would be the better choice. Learning a skill, such as welding, auto mechanics or construction can lead to a lucrative career, but a college degree has many benefits too.
Cost and Time
A bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete, although some students, especially if they have to work while attending school, might take more. A certificate from a vocational school usually takes about two years or less to complete. Average yearly tuition at a public technical school in 2012 was $4,000, while four-year state universities ranged from $7,000 to $11,000 per year in Washington state, making the technical training much more affordable.
College courses are typically held in traditional classroom settings or labs, and require students to attend lectures, and spend time outside of class reading, writing papers and working on group projects. Trade school environments are more hands-on, much like an actual workplace. According to the Texas Workforce Commission, some skilled trades can be learned through an apprenticeship, where students combine on-the-job training with classes and are paid to work while they learn a new skill.
Average earnings for people with bachelor's degrees was $55,000 per year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers with only a high school education averaged roughly $34,000 a year, while those with some college credit, but no degree, made about $37,000. According to financial website Kiplinger, some skilled trade jobs compare to the salaries of those that require degrees. Manufacturing sales representatives, for example, average $52,000 per year and telecommunications installers earn about $55,000 a year.
The BLS reports that workers with college degrees experience the lowest unemployment rates -- 4.5 percent for those with bachelor's degrees in 2012, compared to 8.3 percent for workers with a high school diploma. According to a study by Georgetown University, a degree does not guarantee low unemployment, as workers with degrees in architecture and anthropology had rates over 12 percent in 2010. Some skilled-trade jobs are in high demand, resulting in a good chance of steady employment. Kiplinger reports that jobs like brickmasons, electricians and plumbers are growing above the national average of 14 percent per year.