Circumventing Student Debt: The Economics of Trade School

Circumventing Student Debt - The Economics of Trade SchoolSo, there are 600,000 open manufacturing jobs in the United States–roughly. And those aren’t just jobs that anyone can walk into; the reason they’re open is because they require skilled workers. But that doesn’t always mean a four-year college, and it certainly doesn’t always mean student debt.

The problem is, young people aren’t aware of many opportunities not involving college debt. Here’s a few numbers to show what we mean:

  • The average student has about $26,000 in student debt upon graduation from college.
  • The average new graduate from four-year college makes about $45,000/year.
  • The average installment for that graduate mentioned above, with the amount of student debt mentioned above, would be about $150 over the course of 20 years. It’s possible to pay that back quicker, but $150/month for the next 20 years is no small sum.

Compare this to a few numbers about students who circumvent student debt by choosing trade school over four-year college:

  • In 2011, the average manufacturing worker in the United States earned $77,060 annually, including pay and benefits. The average worker in all industries earned $60,168.
  • The need for skilled workers in manufacturing is so high that a CNC class in Chicago last year score 100% job placement after graduation. That two-year program costs $8,000-$10,000 and includes machining, CNC and a course in tool and die making.
  • And the above numbers aren’t just weird anomalies, either: manufacturers all over the country are looking for skilled workers to fill their positions, some making as many as $100,000 after just ten years, and $50,000 at five.

Many manufacturers are willing to pay for students to attend trade schools, granting them bonuses and, as you can see, nice salaries upon their graduation. A job at the right plant could easily turn into a lucrative 15-25 year career with the right amount of effort.

The fact is, for anyone looking for a solid career without student debt, manufacturing is a great option. And don’t just take our word for it: articles all over the web agree that vocational training for fields like manufacturing is an extremely viable option for circumventing student debt while also making a great yearly salary.

While we don’t expect that these figures will completely change anyone’s minds about manufacturing, we do hope that they show that manufacturing isn’t really about low wages and long hours anymore. High school graduates can attend a two-year trade school, graduate without student debt, and land highly successful careers with higher salaries than some of their college counterparts.

We call that a win.

photo credit: daftgirly via photopin cc