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High school graduates have been hearing this refrain for many years: If you want to get ahead in life, you need to attend college. And while a Bachelor’s degree can be one path to success, it certainly isn’t the only one.

Because so many of the country’s students have been led to believe that there isn’t a viable alternative to college, few have chosen trade schools as a training ground for their life’s work. As a result, today there is a shortage of skilled workers in our plants and factories. And these are not low-paying entry-level jobs. Research indicates that there are 30 million jobs that pay $55,000 per year on average, and none of them requires a Bachelor’s degree.

Think about this: That same research shows that individuals with technical educations are more likely to have a job than their college-educated counterparts. Skilled trades also stand to have lots of openings as older skilled workers begin to retire.

So, what are these skilled trade jobs, and what does it take to get them? Here are some of them:

Electrician

Apprenticeship programs are often the training vehicle for electricians. These programs consist of 2000 hours of on-the-job training and another 144 hours in the classroom each year. It takes approximately four years to complete the program. The apprenticeships are often sponsored by businesses, unions, or trade associations.

These skilled workers install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring and equipment in businesses, factories, and homes while making $56,650 per year on average.

Plumber

Plumbers learn their trade through apprenticeships, trade schools, and community college programs. Expect an apprenticeship to last four to five years, during which time you’ll be paid about half the rate of experienced plumbers.  Classroom instruction will center on math, chemistry, plumbing codes, and safety.

Most states require plumbers to be licensed, and the median pay is around $52,000 per year.

Carpenter

Journeyman carpenters come from 4-year apprenticeships and trade schools. They can be involved in the many different aspects of construction: building maintenance, home renovations, cabinet making, new construction, furniture making, and the list goes on.

Depending on where you choose to train for a career in carpentry, you might get the opportunity to specialize in a particular area. Carpenters earn $48,500 annually on average.

HVAC

HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) mechanics and installers receive most of their training at technical and trade schools. Some community colleges also offer HVAC programs, but either way, the training usually lasts between six months and two years.

Depending on the state in which you’re employed, you may be required to have a license. The national average pay for skilled HVAC technicians is $44,000.

Industrial machinery mechanic

Sophisticated machinery covers the floors of most modern plants and machine shops. And when these machines break down, they require mechanics who can draw on their knowledge of electronics and computer programming to repair them. Many of these mechanics get their training at technical schools and community colleges that offer industrial maintenance training. The programs usually take two years or less to complete, and graduates command an average annual salary of $52,000.

For more expert career advice, contact us here at Alternative Staffing, and we’ll work with you to find a job that’s right for you! We are leaders in the staffing industry, and with 20 years of experience, we know how to connect you with a company that reflects your skills and values.