Choosing a Career in the Trades after High School

welder practicing trade

The idea that everyone should go to college in order to land a good job doesn’t work for everyone. Students need options for all career paths like vocational training for skilled trades.

Trade School in Europe vs. America

welder vs electrician training

In Europe, vocational training has long been seen as the beginning of a thriving career. The German education system, for example, presents trade careers as very appealing early on.

In the United States, our primary educational system discuss trade careers as much. American students tend to carry huge college debt, 1 and many college grads have a hard time finding a job. 2 People are recognizing the benefits of trade school.

Advantages of Vocational Training

In European countries like Germany, vocational training is considered more than just learning a specific trade. It’s seen as the foundation for a successful career that benefits both the individual and the public. Students, businesses, and the government acknowledge the important contribution skilled trade workers make to society. 3

With vocational training, you could:

  • Get skills employers want
  • Travel (in fields like welding)
  • Ability to set your own schedule

Vocational training opportunities could help the economy by:

  • Reducing student debt
  • Closing the skills gap
  • Lowering youth unemployment 4

Vocational training programs emphasize:

  • Technical expertise
  • Professional competence
  • Personal development

Vocational school does not at all mean lower standards. Rather, it’s a different yet equally viable path to take.

Thinking about Trade School

Many students want to think about:

  • What your interests are
  • What skills you want to gain
  • How soon you want to earn money
  • What companies you might want to work for
  • What kind of long-term career you might want

Career Outlook for Skilled Trades in the U.S.

Trade school can lead to many promising careers. Just two examples are:

  • Electrician (47-2111)
  • Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installer (49-9021)

Both electrician training and HVAC training graduates may look forward to good salaries:

  • Electricians earn a median annual wage of $51,880 5 (as of May 2015)
  • HVAC techs earn a median annual wage of $45,110 6 (as of May 2015)

Job prospects for these two career paths are very good:

  • Employment in both fields (electricians 7 and HVAC mechanics/installers 8) is projected to grow 14% by 2024

Ready to Start Train for a Vocational Career?

Vocational Schools like Tulsa Welding School offers welding, HVAC/R and electrical. Find out about these opportunities by talking to guidance counselors, visiting a campus, or attending an open house. We also offer a virtual tour.

Additional Sources:

1 – https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2016/05/18/hopes-dreams-debt/fR60cKakwUlGok0jTlONTN/story.html
2 – http://www.newsweek.com/2015/06/05/millennial-college-graduates-young-educated-jobless-335821.html
3 – https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/10/why-germany-is-so-much-better-at-training-its-workers/381550/
4 – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-04-29/what-germany-can-teach-the-u-dot-s-dot-about-vocational-education
5 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm#tab-5
6 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-5
7 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/electricians.htm#tab-6
8 – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm#tab-6