Despite the fact most high school graduates go to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor's degree, a new study has found that completing a registered apprenticeship program in the construction trades leads to higher average pay than the students who are able to obtain a college degree.
The study, completed by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute in conjunction with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Project for Middle Class Renewal, found that by mid-career, those who completed a registered apprenticeship in the construction industry make $5 more per hour than those who received a bachelor's degree in Illinois.
When looking at an entire career, those who completed a registered apprenticeship program can expect to make about $2.4 million in their professional career. Earning a bachelor's degree will net you only slightly more after your student debt is paid off, about $2.5 million, according to the study.
The difference is that those who go the registered apprenticeship route do not take on the stress and hassle of saddling themselves with student debt which is an enormous relief as the student loan crisis in the U.S. has ballooned to $1.6 trillion with each borrower owing an average of $29,200.
A registered apprenticeship program allows you to earn while you learn. Apprentices are taking home a paycheck and earning benefits such as health insurance, a pension and 401k all while receiving an education in their chosen field.. Possibly the best part of apprenticeship programs is that, unlike colleges and universities, there is little to no out-of-pocket cost!
This Illinois EPI study comes at a time when the need for more people to join the skilled trades is higher than it has been in generations. Those who make up a majority of the construction workforce are retiring at a fast pace and, in many parts of the country, the influx of new apprentices is barely enough to keep up with the demand.
There are countless opportunities for those who choose a registered apprenticeship program over college. While many college graduates are having a difficult time finding employment, or are over qualified for the jobs they are able to get, when an apprentice completes the program, they have both the education and training needed to move forward with a rewarding career.
If you want to start earning money now, but are still interested in a college degree, many registered apprenticeship programs offer opportunities to earn college credits helping apprentices to pursue this path and complete an associate, bachelor or master’s degree related to the construction industry.
The possibilities are endless, if you would like to figure out how you can earn more through a registered apprenticeship program, fill out this form to get started.