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April 10, 2018

Should you choose an apprenticeship over going to college?

Everyone knows senior year is all about getting into college, and then coasting on the knowledge that new opportunities are going to unfold before your eyes — complete with a shiny new dorm room, and all for a mere $23,600 per year… wait, what?

Let’s rewind. Attending college right after high school might be traditional. But so is making New Year’s resolutions, and how does that usually turn out? Of course, just like cutting down on those fried foods, there are plenty of good reasons people choose to go to college. It just doesn’t mean you have to.

Hands-on work is rewarding and engaging. It offers results you can see and touch, and it connects you with your surroundings. Yet many students who love working with their hands feel pressure to go to college and earn a degree — even if they don’t know what to study, and even if they can’t really afford tuition. It’s a lose-lose.

There’s another way: A construction apprenticeship with NWLETT lets you earn a living wage directly out of high school, with on-the-job training during which you get free housing and meals, and tons of opportunities for career advancement.

Need more convincing?

Here are three bad reasons to go to college:

1. You think you need a degree to get a job.

Hate to bust the college bubble, but a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job. With an NWLETT apprenticeship, you’ll have a paying job, starting at $18-$24 per hour plus benefits and a pension. You can absolutely earn good money, enjoy benefits and advance in your field without a degree.

2. You’re worried being a laborer means you’re not smart enough.

Totally false. Skilled laborers are innovative, creative problem-solvers who use modern technology to plan and build the world we live in. You know what’s smart? Not racking up astronomical debt for an education you’re not even sure you want.

3. College is just what you’re “supposed to do”!

Seventy percent of Americans attend a four-year college, but fewer than two-thirds of those graduate. Behind finances, the second most common reason they give for dropping out is a feeling that they didn’t belong. College truly isn’t the best path for everyone — and if you’re questioning it now, any small setback will only make that doubt grow.

And here are three great reasons to choose an apprenticeship instead:

1. You need to start earning a livable wage. 

Money is the top reason students drop out of college. On average, college costs $23,600 per year — and if you don’t finish with a degree, you still have to pay for the classes you took. The NWLETT Apprenticeship gives you free training, job placement services and a paycheck. In four years’ time, you have the potential of earning up to $225,000, plus benefits and pension.

2. Your time is precious.

Paying for school often means working evenings, or holding a full-time job and going to night classes at the same time. When you get paid to receive training on the job, you keep your nights to spend how you want.

3. College is still an option later.

If you decide you want to further your education after the program, it’s easy to apply your job training hours toward earning a Multi-Occupational Trades A.A.S. — an associate’s degree that offers additional education for management-level positions.

Ready to learn more?

There are plenty of reasons joining a paid apprenticeship out of high school could be a better, smarter and more rewarding choice for you than starting college. Contact NWLETT to find out more!


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