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Go ahead and get your hands dirty again

February 14, 2017

As children, we’re curious about the world and how it works. Whether you were the kind of kid that took everything apart or always got dirty or were messy eaters, stuntmen or rock stars – we all discovered the world at our own pace. Destined for genius or not – we all found our way to the education that best suited us, our strengths and personalities.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, fall enrollments in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 21 percent between 1994 and 2004, and 17 percent between 2004 and 2014. This is hardly enough to draw any conclusions from this downward trend but it’s no secret that college costs have skyrocketed in recent years. – and one size does NOT fit all.

Let’s do some math

It used to be that a college degree translated into more income. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, a college degree accounted for $15,000 in additional income per year versus a high school diploma ($30,000 versus $45,000). Over a thirty-year career in the workforce, that adds up to a $450,000 difference. To be fair, there are a few wrinkles in this equation:

Cost: Tuition for the average bachelor’s degree is $127,000 vs. the average trade school tuition of $33,000 – a $94,000 difference.

Time: A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete vs. two years when a tradesman is earning in the workforce.

Income: Average income after trade school is $42,000; or $84,000 earned before the college graduate starts their first job – over the course of 30 years, the real difference is closer to $90,000 versus $450,000 [after calculating income – (loans + interest) ÷ time]

Debt: For those students ‘going it alone’, should consider; How much and how quickly will they earn the income needed to pay loans and support themselves. What is their return on investment?

Security: Another advantage of a trade school is that most of the jobs are difficult to export/outsource to another country. For example, it’s much easier to export computer programming work or other information management work than it is to export carpentry or electrical work. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the #18th highest paying trade school jobs is…HVAC Technician.

Figures according to SimplyHired.com

Consider the long view

We are in a new economy – what’s old is new and what’s new is sometimes shipped overseas. Trade school offers a fairly compelling career path, particularly when compared to the variable and sometimes sobering college path. If you or a loved one is ‘on the fence’ about their future after high school, encourage them to at least consider trade school as an option not to mention HVAC Technician!

In a time before Freon

August 15, 2017

It’s been said that August is the Sunday of the summer months. Maybe that’s true but August is certainly one of the hottest summer months and while we can enjoy the relief from our beaches, keeping cool hasn’t always been as easy as simply adjusting the thermostat.