Forget what your English teacher told you — trade jobs pay pretty darn well

Emphasis on the importance of a 4-year degree causes young workers to go into debt for a bachelor’s degree -- instead of taking high-paying trade jobs that desperately need workers.

April 30, 2018

Contradicting the advice of grandmas and guidance counselors everywhere, a recent NPR feature reports that there are tons of high-paying jobs out there — 30m, in fact — that don’t require a college degree.

But, many young workers opt (and take on debt) for 4-year college instead of taking lucrative trade jobs — creating 68% more job openings in infrastructure than there will be bodies to fill them over the next 5 years.

Turns out, trade jobs are everywhere — and they’re hiring

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 70% of construction companies nationwide are having trouble hiring — and these aren’t your minimum wage, just-scraping-by kinda jobs.

The US Department of Education reports that 30m jobs (which don’t require a bachelor’s degree) pay an average of $55k — almost a full $10k higher than 2017 average median personal income.

Bachelor’s degrees beat diplomas, but not always trade school

In the matchup between college degrees and high school diplomas, college is the clear victor — by about $1m in lifetime earnings. But between bachelor’s and trade school degrees, the winner is less clear.

Lifetime earnings for bachelor’s degrees vary widely by major — 2-year vocational degrees earn more than some 4 year degrees (arts, education) but less than others (biology, chemical engineering).

Plus, trade school grads typically pay off debt 1 to 3 years earlier — and almost always start off with higher salaries than their peers with liberal arts degrees.

So, to all the electricians out there — buy those poor theater majors a beer already, will ya?

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