Is an apprenticeship better than a degree?

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Growing up is hard. Remember being 18 and struggling to deal with university applications, course selections, and oh yeah, borrowing $10,000 in student loan money?  Yeah, it sucks – so why make it harder?  It’s conventional wisdom that smart kids need to go to college to get the good jobs.  And sure, it’s supported by data which suggests that college educated kids make more money.  But also supported is the notion that kids are not getting their money’s worth after a college degree.  Like clockwork, articles appear every few years about the eroding value of college degrees.

Photo Credit: Spierzchala via Flickr

Photo Credit: Spierzchala via Flickr

University is not for everyone.  After 4 years of classwork, assignments, and ill-fated parties, you’re not guaranteed to find a job when you graduate. And as more and more young adults chase the college dream, regardless of finances, more and more will find themselves graduating with crippling student loan debt.  Sites such as Payday Angels can provide some advice for loans and financial management, but when faced with car payments, rent costs, grocery bills and utilities, even the best of us will begin to question our career choices.

But what if you’d made a different choice?  There are many options for bright, ambitious young adults – university being just one of them.  One avenue, which many overlook, is the field of skilled trades.

Learning a skilled trade is not often touted as a career move for academically inclined students, but for a financially savvy young adult, there are many advantages.  Technical programs are often shorter than university programs.  If you need to borrow money for school, a shorter program means less debt!  And on the flip side, many skilled trades offer apprenticeships, allowing you to actually earn money while learning.

Entering the workforce debt free provides more opportunities for a young adult to start life off on the right financial foot. By being debt free, you are in a better position to save and invest for your future.  And if you do decide to take on a loan from a company like PayDay UK , you’ll be in a better position to pay it off when you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt looming over your shoulders.

Do you value your college degree or do you wish you had learned a skilled trade instead? If you’re a tradesperson, would you have done anything differently?

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