Trades education and careers is a stable and growing choice among young adults and matured generations in America. Also known as Technical or Vocational Schools, these education institutions can provide students with career opportunities which can be completed much faster with a more moderated budget than four-year public or private college degrees. Many Trade schools even provide test preparation or test prep resources and assistance, further increasing their students’ chances to successfully complete their trade’s certification or licensure process.
Trade Education and Careers: Opportunities
The selection of Trade education and careers available today is vast. Opportunities range from Apprentice-related careers, to Skilled Trade or Technical Careers, to Vocational Careers. Even when these terms are used interchangeably, in general job titles are grouped under one of these career categories versus the other. Below are examples of high paying job* titles and the category in which potential students may find them.
This information can be useful when considering future careers opportunities. This is not an exhaustive or complete list, but only an alphabetized subset of potential careers and opportunities.
Apprentice-related Careers. It is common on these careers to start training directly with the employer. Although prior education, certification or licensure may not be required, it is certainly beneficial in terms of salary potential and career growth to obtain those levels of accomplishments before pursuing the related jobs.
- Electrical Cable Line Repair
- Rail Car Repair
- Structural Ironwork
- Telecommunication Repair
Skilled Trade or Technical Careers. These careers are very attractive to individuals with high level of skills and interest on industrial work, construction industry and mechanical repairs.
- Automotive Mechanic
- Avionics Technician / Aircraft Mechanics
- CNC Machine Programmer
- Commercial Driver
- Construction Manager
- HVAC Technician
- Industrial Machine Mechanic
- Plumber, Pipefitter
- Wind Turbine Technician
Vocational Careers. Similar to careers mentioned above, job tiles included within this group require a great deal of hands-on tasks. In addition, jobs in this category tend to be associated to sectors such as technology and health care.
- Application Software Developer
- Computer Network Architects
- Database Administrator
- Dental Hygienist
- Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
- Engineering Technician
- Fashion Designer
- Funeral Service Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Physical or Occupational Therapy Assistant
- Radiologic Technologist
- Web Developer
There are many Trades education institutions which offer a variety of channels and tools in order to accommodate potential students needs.
Access to the career training offered by these institutions also varies. Therefore, it is of great importance that each individual search for various options and select the best for their situation. For example, several institutions may offer similar career options. However, some institutions may offer online courses versus others may only provide in-class courses.
Some Trades schools are closely associated with the industry or hiring organizations versus others may only offer well organized interviewing skill training. Potential students should also consider institutions with financial aid assistance.
Trade Education – Less Expensive Proposition with High Paying Opportunities (Potentially…)
According to the National Center for Education Statistics** the cost per year of a four-year college in the late 70’s was around $8,200 for a public college and $17,000 for a private school. Today, the cost per year is more than twice and moving towards three times as much. In comparison, a two-year degree cost on average $3,200 for in-state tuition and $7,700 for out-of-state tuition.
US News published an article in 2016, “The Financial Case for Trade School Over College”, in which the average cost of the entire Trades education/career was positioned around $33,000. Again, that is the cost of completing the entire education. That is less than the cost for one year at some of our public or private colleges. This article also reminds us that given the shorter period it takes to complete the Trades education (average 2-3 years), graduated students enter the work force sooner, enabling them to access income generating careers in faster fashion.
Faster Transition to My Dream Job? I’M In…
One of the most appealing features of Trades Education institutions is their laser focus on career-oriented and job-related training. In general, this type of education enables students to quickly transition from an education setting to the desired career in shorter periods of time (when compared to full college degrees). This line of thought does not take in consideration the level of specialization individuals desired to obtain.
In essence, Trades schools are a great option for individuals who feel pretty sure about their career choices and the type of jobs/positions they want to exercise. However, great attention should be exercised on both, achieving the completion of the Trade training and validating the school’s career or job placement record. Ultimately, students ought to find permanent career opportunities, not just temporary jobs.
Both, the demand for Trades trained individual and the opportunities becoming available in current and new industries, is creating a job-enriched environment. Recent data captured by US Bureau of Labor Statistics* and validated by surveys within the private sector, estimates that there are shortages of qualified skilled Trades in several regions in United States. Those studies are predicting that this will continue to be a trend as more matured and experienced generations (such as the Baby Boomers generation) retires from the tradesmen and women workforce.
Access to Test Preparation for Trades Certifications or Licensure
As potential tradesmen and women achieve their educational goals, they must consider the certification and/or licensure requirements of their careers. In addition, many hiring organizations submit their candidates through a series of tests which tend to separate individuals into groups based on the tests’ performance. Higher resulting scores have higher potential to receive job offers. This is when access to the best test prep (preparation) services, products and programs available becomes key.
As stated on our previous post, “Test Prep Services – Selecting the Best Program For You”, each individual is born with certain tendencies towards learning. Some of us have the tendency to listen and build on what others have done. Others like experimenting on new things and solving the problems at hand. There are also those who are comfortable working in groups to generate the required solutions and finally, there are those who can read, analyze and act primarily on their own. Once we are aware of our learning tendencies, selecting the best test prep services, products and programs becomes much easier. At that point the objective becomes to select the best test preparation services which facilitates your learning style.
Test preparation – The Best Predictor of Test Performance
Remember, the goal of test preparation is to achieve the best results possible on every examination opportunity. Careful planning and diligence are required in the selection process of test preparation resources. As the new generations of tradesmen and women complete their education, test preparation will continue to be the best predictor of test performance.
Are you considering or have recently completed Trade education? What has been your experience in finding resources to support your certification or licensure test preparation? Do you have any recommendations for others considering this type of education? Any feedback on the test preparation resources you have access to? We would love to hear about your experience. Feel free to provide your feedback below.
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*According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, 2021
**Data published by Value Penguin, a Lending Tree blog site
*** US News, “The Financial Case for Trade School Over College” by Mel Bondar, April 2016