If you want to have a satisfying career, you have to spend four years in college racking up tons of student debt—right?
In fact, in today’s post-Recession economy, it’s the skilled trades—those that require only technical training—that are in the greatest demand, and they often offer a more satisfying (and financially smarter) career path.
Skilled trades are in high demand
As Mike Rowe (host of the show Dirty Jobs) points out, unemployment for college graduates is extremely high, with many never ending up with jobs in the fields they studied for.
At the same time, there’s a huge demand (to the tune of three million unfilled jobs) for skilled labor that doesn’t require a traditional four-year degree. Jobs in construction, HVAC, electric work, welding, truck driving, and plumbing remain unfilled, waiting for people with the right skills to step in and take them.
These jobs are the kind that never become obsolete. No matter what new technology comes out or disappears next year, society will always need people to build roads, construct homes, keep the lights on and keep the water flowing well.
Talk about job security!
Technical training makes better financial sense
Since the Recession, tuition rates have skyrocketed, costing on average $127,000 for a bachelor’s degree. The average student now owes $34,000 in student debt upon graduation, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
This overwhelming debt makes it difficult for many graduates to buy homes, get married and start families—even though the point of getting a college degree is supposed to ensure your financial security!
Just because you start an expensive four-year program doesn’t mean you’re going to finish it. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, of those who start a traditional four-year degree, only 59 percent complete it by the end of six years!
In other words, there’s a 41% chance that you’ll never even complete the degree you’re spending so much on—and even if you drop out, you still have to pay back the student loans you accrued.
A typical trade-school degree costs about $33,000—and it usually only takes two years to complete.
For most people, this means they have much lower rates of student debt, plus they get two additional years in the workforce to pay it off. Salaries for blue-collar workers are competitive, with six-figure salaries not out of the question for those with many years of experience.
Skilled trade jobs can be highly satisfying
You’ve probably heard of the theory of multiple types of intelligences. For the past few decades, our educational system has overemphasized the importance of some intelligence types (such as verbal and mathematical reasoning) while considering others (such as kinesthetic/physical intelligence) as somehow inferior. Of course, these experts live in houses built by construction workers, drive on highways constructed by heavy equipment mechanics, and call plumbers when their sinks clog!
If the thought of working with accounts or spreadsheets bores you, but you consider building a deck or fixing an “irreparable” engine an exciting challenge, you’re probably higher in kinesthetic intelligence and are going to be more satisfied with a hands-on career.
Yes, if you work in a physical job such as construction, you’re going to work hard—but when did that become a bad thing?
For some of us, we’d much rather put in a full day of physical labor, fixing and doing and building—instead of sitting at a sedentary desk job. (Besides, when you look at recent studies, you’ll discover that sitting is terrible for your health anyway!)
If you want to get to the end of the day with something tangible to show for your hard work, a career in the skilled trades is probably for you.
Working with Ken’s Plumbing or Hotwire Electric
If you already have training in plumbing or electrical work, we want to talk to you. If you are looking towards technical training one of these fields, we want to talk to you as well—Ken's Plumbing and Hot Wire Electric are willing to cover trade education costs for our hires and we'd love to discuss details with you.
Ready to jump-start your future? Check out our careers page and submit your initial application!