For many people, attending a four-year college after graduating from high school seems like the expected thing to do. Money is the primary motivating factor behind getting a degree. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, earning a bachelor’s degree can add $16,900 in additional income per year over a high school diploma.
Over a 30-year career span, that’s a $500,000 boost in earnings. However, due to the high cost of a college education, many people are considering trade school instead. Besides the financial gain, there are multiple reasons why trade school is an attractive alternative to a four-year college education. A vocational degree can lead to well-paying careers such as an electrician, HVAC technician, mechanic or dental hygienist.
A bachelor’s degree can typically take four or more years of study, whereas a trade school can take as little as two years to complete. That puts you in the workplace and earning money two years earlier. Because a four-year program requires that you take classes outside of your major, you’ll end up spending time in classes that aren’t directly related to your degree. Trade schools take less time to complete, and the hands-on training is ideal for many types of learners.
Another drawback to a bachelor’s degree is the cost. According to Idaho Department of Labor research, the average bachelor’s degree in the United States will set you back $127,000, and almost 70 percent of students have to take out loans to finance their education. That’s in addition to the costs associated with dorm life. On the other hand, the average trade school degree costs $33,000. If you fully finance your education with loans, even at a low four percent rate, over a ten-year period a trade school degree will cost only $40,000, while a bachelor’s degree will cost $154,000.
Salaries for trade school graduates aren’t much lower than those for people with bachelor degrees. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that trade and technical school positions have a median annual salary of $35,720, while earnings for a bachelor’s degree holder is approximately $46,900. However, because a trade school education only takes an average of two years to complete, that adds two years’ worth of income over a four-year degree.
One advantage of attending a technical trade school is that most of the positions available are hard to export to another country. With more jobs being outsourced to other countries where labor is cheaper, it can be difficult to find employment in certain domestic sectors. For example, it is easier to export information economy work such as computer programming than physical work such as HVAC repair, electrical work or carpentry. In addition, there’s a growing domestic demand in the U.S. for high-precision skills, and with skilled trade workers being disproportionately older, there will always be opportunities for younger workers to fill their shoes.
To help our future technicians, we will be offering apprenticeship programs for student’s eager to learn the HVAC trade. For more information about the program, call us at R&D Mechanical Services today!