Trade School vs. College: Making Money without a 4-Year Degree

January 10, 2020

Are you a student or young professional planning for your future in Pennsylvania? You don’t have to pursue a four-year college degree to earn money and build a career. Trade professions in the propane industry offer viable opportunities for steady income, valuable benefits, and career development—without the burden and expense of completing a four-year college degree.

A recent article from MoneyWise breaks down how attending trade school to qualify for trade industry positions, like propane service technicians, propane delivery drivers, and customer service representatives, could be the best move for students and young professionals in Pennsylvania. Read on to learn more about trade school and the career opportunities it can lead to.

From MoneyWise: Why Trade School Might Be a Better Choice Than College

There are many perceived differences between college and trade school that simply aren’t relevant to the current job market. Having a college degree doesn’t translate to earning more money than finishing trade school. It won’t make job hunting easier, either.

These are the facts:

  • Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt
  • The average student loan is $37,172
  • The average repayment time is 21 years
  • 40% of students in four-year college programs drop out
  • 1 in 4 college graduates is unemployed or underemployed

In a nutshell:

  • Going to college means you’ll probably have a lot of debt
  • Going to college does not guarantee you’ll get a good job…or any job at all

Given the harsh realities of life after post-secondary education, why do career counselors and parents keep pushing young adults to go to college?

Essentially, a college education is highly respected in the workplace. Research also shows that having a degree can boost a person’s lifetime earnings by an average of $16,900 per year compared to having a high school diploma alone. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, that’s more than a $500,000 difference in income over a 30-year working career.

The big BUT: this average includes highly paid college-educated professionals like engineers, IT professionals, doctors, and lawyers. If these high-earning workers are removed from the average, there may not be much of an earning gap between college graduates and everyone else.

So, where does trade school stand in this scenario?

The financial impact of college vs. trade school

On the surface, a four-year college program costs $127,000, while the average trade school degree costs $33,000. If you get a loan to pay for your degree and you plan to pay it back over 10 years at an interest rate of 4%, the college degree would cost $154,000, while trade school would cost $40,000.

A college degree would also take four years to complete, while trade school programs usually take two years. So, choosing college over trade school could mean a loss of $80,000 or more for those two years you didn’t work.

So, What Does This Have to Do with the Propane Industry?

MoneyWise also reports how trade school students graduate with the necessary skills to begin working immediately, which is precisely what employers look for. In addition, historically the trade industry provides job security and the demand is projected to continue to grow.

The propane industry in Pennsylvania needs trade school graduates and young professionals with equivalent experience NOW. Join GeneratioNext Propane Pros to upload your resume and start connecting with prospective employers in the propane industry.

Read the full source article here on MoneyWise.