Working with their hands
Research, along with your child, the possibility of learning a trade. There are son many choices, it’s not all about traditional trades anymore. Careers, you may not have considered to be a trade are available, such as Chefs, Coding, Cosmetology, Barber.
Usually when we think of a trade, we think construction - electrician, plumber, which are all worthy careers. But before you put the brakes on your child’s dreams, discuss in depth what they have in mind.
Less Student Loan Debt
In an ideal world, your child’s education should never be decided by the factor of money. But unfortunately many kids don’t go to college purely because they (or their parents) can’t afford it.
The cost of attending a four year degree course is going to set you back approximately $130k+. This is an enormous amount of money. It leaves many students burdened with debt for years. In some cases your child may only be finished paying their college loan when their own children are ready to go to college.
A trade school offers tuition at a much lower rate. The average cost is $7k for a public school over a two year timeline. This includes books and any supplies they might need.
Your child also has the option of applying for financial aid through FAFSA as long as the chosen school is accredited.
Through their two year program there will be opportunities to gain paid work experience. This is a great way to offset some of their fees or to help with day to day living costs.
The cost of the course is quite dependent on the college or institution chosen. Trade schools tend to be less expensive than community colleges and the skill is acquired in less time.
Guaranteed Work with Good Pay
We all want the best for our children and most of us aspire to them having a string of letters before and after their name. But at the end of the day we want them to end up with a good salary and a steady job.
A trade job will guarantee this. There will never be a shortage of work for either a plumber, chef or barber.
I know what you’re thinking. If my child becomes a doctor they also will always have a job, that is absolutely correct.
However, it’s going to take your child 13 years to become a doctor and two years to become a plumber. A plumber earns (indeed.com) $60k per year. Multiply that by the 11 years out in the workforce while the other student is still learning to become a doctor.
That is $660k. That’s an eye opener.
Of course as a qualified doctor their salary is much more but think about how much living the plumber will have done in those 11 years.
Trade jobs are always available. Plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics. There can never be enough of them. They are in high demand due to the snobbery attached to 4 year degrees. For a long time no one was considering a trade career and now we have the problem of an aging trade workforce with many approaching retirement.
Companies are crying out for boots on the ground and willing to pay good salaries, with overtime and benefits to willing young people.
What are the path options?
There are three routes available on the path to becoming a plumber.
- Certificate Program
These courses are offered at trade schools or vocational colleges. They take less than a year to complete and will teach basic plumbing skills. You can then apply for an apprenticeship position, working alongside a qualified plumber.
- Associate Degree Program
These classes are taken in a Community College. They can take up to two years to complete. Not all are full time courses and so give the opportunity to have a part time job. There is more classes available alongside your chosen course of plumbing that you can also take, such as math.
This is the most popular route. Learning alongside a qualified plumber. Boots on the ground, so to speak. The best part of this route is that you get paid a wage. You attend classes, usually one day a week and you are fully trained after four years.
- Trade School / Barber School
Most trade schools offer barbering as one of their courses. It is usually listed alongside cosmetology. To become a barber you must be granted a state license. This is only granted after up to 1500 hours have been clocked in both practical and theory and you have passed the state exam.
The alternate route is apprenticeship. Not all states offer this. The clocked hours required can be more than double in some states. Although you are being paid, because you are not qualified this may be as low as $10 per hour. To me it makes more sense to pay the enrollment fee for school and earn $20 per hour as a starting wage.
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Tara Cunningham is a Mum and Graphic Designer. My children's education has always been very important to me. I feel that if you are willing to put in the time they will appreciate the effort.
I hope that you find our thoughts and ideas useful and interesting.