Skilled Trades: An Alternative to College

These days, we seem to think a college graduate is the right goal to make for all kids. High school education is geared toward preparing students to succeed at four-year colleges. Part of this is because high schools base their worth and prestige on the number of students they send to four-year universities. This may have stemmed from a belief that to have a well-paying vocation, you need to get a college degree. 

The Alternatives to College Aren’t Lesser Options

Southwest Pipe Trades is filled with professionals who will tell you this isn’t true. A four-year degree is not for everyone and it isn’t always the right route to success. A career in the skilled trades such as HVAC and welding can pay just as well and be just as rewarding as a career following four years of college. And through apprenticeship programs that are easy to qualify for and put students alongside experienced tradespeople, students will be well on the path to a well-paying career. 

Trade School Vs College: Weigh Your Options

Graduating with less debt, or none at all is one of the most significant advantages of a trade school over a standard college experience. You could save money and still find a career path that will serve you well throughout your life. A highly skilled professional carpenter or HVAC technician can earn well over minimum wage. The truth is, the financial advantage of a college education is diminishing. While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, student loan debt and the time it takes to receive a “four-year” degree make traditional university education less desirable. 

The Options Other Than College Are Growing

Through 2022, one-third of newly created jobs will either be in healthcare or construction. New construction will also bring about a need for plumbers and electricians. But while the economy is pushing the need for skilled people to fill these positions, education is lagging. In the next five years, there will be 68 percent more job openings in infrastructure-related fields than people training to fill them, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This labor shortage means high-paying jobs are sitting empty while high school graduates are competing to get into four-year universities.  

Southwest Pipe Trades Can Put You on the Path to Success

There’s never been a better time to join any of the comprehensive training programs offered by our member unions and start work as an apprentice. Be it as an HVAC technician, pipe fitter, plumber, welder, fire sprinkler installer, or a variety of other positions, we guarantee trade school graduates will be in the best position to enjoy a long, successful career.

These training programs give you the opportunity to learn a trade, start earning right away while providing the education and skills required for a bright future in one of our union contractor positions. Every day as an apprentice will be spent honing your craft and working your way toward starting the business you’ve always envisioned but never had the opportunity to pursue. Call us today to learn more.