The emphasis on the importance of getting a four-year college education is stronger than it’s ever been today. But, with that being said, it isn’t uncommon that you meet someone who has a college degree they aren’t ‘using’ (i.e. have a job in a field unrelated to their degree), or who has incurred so much student loan debt that the decision to go to college has become more of a burden than a blessing. Over time, the focus has shifted for high school graduates to pursue careers outside of jobs that require manual labor and with that shift has come the high demand for applicants in trade-based fields such as mechanical, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.
Because employers in these trade-based fields are actively pursuing new, young, potential employees and those applicants are few and far between these days, average salaries for these positions have jumped and are out-paying some of the most traditional ‘dream jobs’. In most cases, certification in a trade-based occupation can be obtained in half the time and at 1/4th of the cost of some four-year college degree programs. Not to mention that there is often no down time between finishing a trade school program and starting your career because the demand for employees is so high.
Earlier this week we came across this article on Parents.com and while her husband’s experience and success is anecdotal, there is no shortage of stories like his. In the automotive field, qualified mechanics and technicians are massively needed and if that information was out there and getting put in front of the outgoing high school classes there would be a lot more students taking advantage of these opportunities and starting lifelong careers much closer to high school graduation.