If you’re struggling in your current career or thinking about going back to school, stop right now. Is going to a four year or even an accelerated university program really worth it?
Sure, you may make a little more money with that new degree, but you’ll be paying off student loans for the rest of your life. Seeing as you already have bills and potentially a family, can you really afford to do that?
You don’t have to stay where you are or skip going back to school entirely. You can learn a trade and get out of school in about half the time.
Not to mention it’s at least 50 percent cheaper or more, depending on where you choose to study.
You can start making money two years or so before you would with a new Uni degree, which gives your bank account and your family a great boost.
Accessible Employment Options
It used to be that a university degree got you a job, almost like magic. But now? Not so much. There are mature adults working alongside millennials who’ll do their job for free, for the experience.
It’s not that way with learning trade professions. Yes, you’ll have to train or work under someone (usually) for a while, but then you have access to employment opportunities.
There will always be a need for plumbers, even if factories go out of business and robots make our toilets. Someone has to install and fix them!
High Pay Rates
Did you know that the average plumber (there are other trades, but we’re using plumber as a consistent example) makes anywhere from 40 to 55 pounds an hour?
That’s more than the average school teacher! Calculate in the student loans you don’t have to pay for the majority your life and you can (probably) afford to get that bigger house.
You’re Covered for Liabilities
Just like doctors have to pay for malpractice insurance, there are steps tradesmen have to take to protect their livelihood. It’s called liability insurance and you can learn more about it here.
We touched on the time it takes to go through trade-school above, but let’s look at it in more detail.
Say you’d like to learn HVAC skills and become an HVAC technician. You’re only looking at two years of school and there’s on the job training you can get paid for.
Or the idea of being an electrician sparks your interest, that’s only two or three years of school and a paid apprenticeship.
Mechanic school is the same as learning to be an electrician if you’re more into cars. Make sure you concentrate or take a class on working with electric vehicles, and you’ll likely be employed for the rest of your life!
Paid training and shorter school make sitting in a classroom for four years sound pretty dull, doesn’t it?
How to Get Started
Okay, so now you’re convinced college is for you. Great! You’ll need to find a program to get started. Here are the steps you need to follow.
1. Choose a Program
Unlike traditional University, there aren’t general education courses you need to waste time with. Electricians don’t care if you take 15 hours of biology.
So, you can get started with your relevant courses right away. But what will you choose?
Think about your strengths. Even if you’ve never so much as wired a switch, were you always playing with plugs and sparks as a kid? Then look into an electrician program.
If you’ve always understood or been interested in pipes and how they work, plumbing or HVAC may be for you.
You don’t have to come into college with any relevant experience, just a willingness to learn and interest in your chosen sector.
2. Get Financial Aid
If you need it, many college offer help finding financial aid. You can access one of the tens of grants for people going back to school.
You can apply for financial aid via the government as well. There should be an office at your school (even online) that helps students figure out school funding.
3. Figure Out Your New Hours
What’s even better about colleges is that many offer online or flexible hour programs. That means you can work your current job or day job while you prepare for your new career.
You don’t even have to tell your current employer that you’re training for a new career. While it’s exciting for your future, it’s better to keep it to yourself.
4. Start Your New Life
If you’re balancing work and college, things are going to be crazy for a while. It may mean you depend on family or community members more to help with things at home while you’re in class.
It may also mean you don’t get as much sleep as you used to. Remember this is a temporary period and it’ll make your life better in the long run.
Don’t give up!
Learn a Trade Now
Ready, set, go learn a trade. If you’ve read this article and feel inspired, don’t let that energy go to waste. Find a local college and make an appointment with a counsellor.
They’ll walk you through your options or even discuss your theoretical interest. There is no harm in working through your options.
Finally, in two years when you’re ready to enter the workforce, don’t forget us when it’s time to get liability insurance. We were the ones that sparked your interest in learning a trade after all!